After spending the bulk of the last four months cooped up indoors, the travel bug is sure to start biting. Now that economies across the country and around the world are starting to reopen, traveling may actually be a feasible option—provided you do it in a way that’s safe.
The fact of the matter is, the coronavirus pandemic is still a reality of life. It may be on the wane in some places in the United States (such as most of the Northeast), but, as of late July, cases are still growing in much of the country (such as in Florida, Texas, and Arizona). So anyone venturing out into the world still needs to remain vigilant.
Many places in the world in which cases are falling have travel bans in place that currently do not allow U.S. residents to enter (such as the European Union). This makes international travel all but impossible. However, domestic travel is still on the table. In order to travel safely in the U.S., follow these tips.
1. Only travel to (and from) states where the virus isn’t prevalent
Unfortunately, the coronavirus is still raging in much of, if not most of, the U.S. In order to minimize the risk of infection, it’s best to avoid traveling to places where there is still a large outbreak or where the number of cases is rising.
Similarly, if you’re from a place where the virus is prevalent, it may be best to stay home to avoid spreading it to places where it’s less prevalent. Remember that some people who have the virus are asymptomatic, meaning that you might have the virus even if you’re not expressing any symptoms.
Another thing to be aware of is that some states have a required 14-day quarantine period for travelers coming in from certain other states. For specific travel information, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.
2. Travel by car instead of by plane, train, or bus, if you can
As a general rule, respiratory diseases such as the coronavirus spread most easily in confined indoor spaces with lots of other people. That makes public transportation one of the least safe ways of traveling when it comes to avoiding getting the virus. That includes planes as well as buses and trains.
If possible, travel by car. And make sure to do so only with people with whom you live. Traveling with people you haven’t been quarantining with could put you (and them) at risk.
3. Practice physical distancing
Whether you’re at home or on the road, it’s best to stay at least six feet apart from people you don’t live with. This is because COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact for a prolonged period of time. Spread happens when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even just talks, releasing droplets that could contain the virus.
4. Wear a mask when in crowded spaces
Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid traveling by airplane. If you’re traveling across the country or have a limited amount of time a plane may be your best, if not your only option. In such a case, it’s best to wear a mask to help reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus. The same is true for when you’re in a crowded place where you can’t maintain a distance of at least six feet, especially if it’s indoors.
A great option is the Respokare® N95 Mask, which not only blocks 95 percent of virus particles but also harmful fungal and bacterial particles. While a mouth covering such as the NIOSH N95 mask is one of the safest options, there is still a range of other good choices out there.
5. Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities
Airplanes aren’t the only indoor spaces that should be avoided. As alluded to above, respiratory diseases such as the coronavirus are far less likely to spread in the open air of the outdoors where viral particles can easily disperse than they are found indoors.
Fortunately, during the summertime, there are endless opportunities for fun outdoor travel activities. For example, you can visit National Parks, go hiking and camping, or take a trip to the beach. Just remember, some of these places can get really crowded in spite of being outside, so it’s always best to wear a mask.