Travel During COVID-19
Shelter-in-place orders and travel restrictions are lifted; every day more states change their threat level to green. Americans all over the country are ready to stretch their legs for the summer months. However, adjusting to the new normal can cause some hiccups in travel plans. Here is what to expect during your travels and how to help keep yourself safe.
Note that this advice is for domestic (within the United States) travel only. Additional restrictions and cautions apply to international travel.
There are lots of ways to get where you are going, all of which have their own sets of benefits and drawbacks.
CARS – From the perspective of the COVID-19 virus, traveling by car is one of the safest methods. You can control who is there, how many people, and when and where to stop. You get to control the environment much more than any other form of transportation. This allows you to minimize your risk of exposure to the virus. However, if you are traveling a long distance stops are inevitable. Be aware that some hotels, restaurants, and other service based businesses may be closed. Always err on the side of caution and get gas before absolutely necessary, bring snacks, masks, and hand sanitizer with you.
PLANES – Another popular way to travel is by airplane. This is a fast and effective way to cover long distances. There are some things to keep in mind that have changed since the first COVID-19 outbreak. Many of us like to Uber or take a Lyft too and from the airport. However, these ride-sharing organizations have placed additional restrictions on these services. Check that availability if your plans include these ride-sharing services. At the airport expect encouraged social distancing, temperature readings, and required masks before boarding. The TSA has made a medical exception so each passenger is now allowed 12 ounces of hand sanitizer.
TRAINS AND BUSES – Public and mass transportation are the most affordable means of travel. However, it is more difficult to encourage safety measures and promote social distancing in these settings. If it is necessary to travel by trains or buses be sure to carry hand sanitizer, wear a mask, and do your best to keep yourself safe.
Not all states and counties are opening at the same time. When making your travel plans be sure to consider the risk level of where you are, and the risk level of your location. Visit the CDC website and check out their interactive map. If you are a high risk, or live with someone who is high risk, avoid traveling to areas with a high infection rate.
There are plenty of Corona safe activities that are still available if you take appropriate precautions. Staying safe doesn’t require turning your hotel room into a bunker. Most national parks have reopened their trails, restrooms, and camping facilities even though the visitors centers remain closed. Zoos and museums are also opening back up and are allowing for small groups to go through or are offering virtual tours. Lots of additional outdoor activities are still available such as boating, biking, off roading, or hiking.