COVID-19 has affected everyday activities and adventures. Traveling to favorite destinations is not as easy as it was last year. Throughout quarantine, there have been increasingly more travel restrictions due to the risk of spreading the virus.
Every state has a different protocol regarding travel during COVID. For example, Texas does not officially have any travel restrictions.
Though traveling and seeing family are a big part of holiday seasons and in general, there are other ways to stay connected. Many families have contacted loved ones through Zoom and Facetime, emphasizing the importance to stay safe and limit risk spreading.
Despite small gatherings of family and friends not specifically being against the COVID restrictions, the CDC does recommend extra precautions to keep everyone safe.
The CDC suggests, “Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least 6 feet apart at all times. Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.”
It is important to social distance by staying at least 6 feet apart and to keep good hygiene by washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. Hand sanitizer is a good alternative, but only when soap and water are not available.
In the beginning of the pandemic, many people cancelled their spring break trips.
In fact, according to the United States bureau of transportation statistics, “The March 2020 flight cancellation rate —17 percent of flights were canceled— at the time was the highest since September 2001, when 20 percent of flights were canceled. The cancellation rate was exceeded in April when 41 percent of flights were canceled.”
Obviously COVID has cost many Americans their vacations over the summer of 2020 as well.
For example, according to recent travel statistics, “Americans took 2.8 billion fewer total trips during the 4th of July week this year than they did in 2019. In 2019, on average, 19.7 percent of Americans stayed home each day during holiday week; in 2020, that number rose to an average of 24.8 percent staying home each day.”
Recently, in the month of December, specifically during the week of the thirteenth, about 94,000,000 people stayed home, compared to 64,000,000 who did so in 2019 during the same week.
Traveling during COVID in general is risky but, according to the CDC, “most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes.”
The CDC also recommends that traveling by car is the safest and least risky way to travel.
USC’s medical researcher Chris Hendel comments, “If you have to—and can afford it—I think traveling by car is the safest option right now, in part because you’re not traveling with another person whose risk of infection may be unknown. Essentially you aren’t sharing the breathing space with someone who could be infected. But of course, one needs to be very cautious about stopping while traveling by car. I think train travel might possibly have an edge over air travel. Regardless, everyone should be wearing a mask on the train or in the plane.”
Other tips to consider are taking the earliest departures of the day for planes, trains, busses, or rental cars because they are heavily disinfected overnight. Also, make sure to carry extra masks and hand sanitizer. It is also important to wipe down armrests, tray tables, and seatbelts on any public transportation.
According to the National Geographic website, “As we recently report, travel planning is good for your mental health. Knowing more about real and perceived COVID-19 risks might help you feel better about getting out a few of these current roadblocks of life.”