Traveling Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A
How-To Guide By Chelsi Walker
While “traveling safely during a pandemic” may seem like a contradictory phrase, well, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. And while any kind of travel while COVID-19 still holds parts of the world in its grip may not be ideal, there ARE steps you can take to protect yourself and those around you. The next time you’ve got to leave town for work or a family issue (or because you will go literally insane if you don’t go somewhere that isn’t your living room), use this guide to make your trip as safe as possible. We’ll go over the basics and tell you about a few lesser known tricks, like investing in travel health insurance.
Step 1: Don’t Travel if You’re Sick
We know. You know. We know you know. But it bears repeating — if you’re sick, might be sick, were in contact with anybody who is sick or have any reason to believe you could pass along any kind of illness, not just COVID-19, stay home. With this in mind, also be sure to contact your destination to be sure you’re familiar with their current pandemic and quarantine guidelines. And, while it’s not foolproof, get tested for COVID-19 before you go, when you arrive and before you come home. A negative test is a requirement to enter many countries when traveling internationally.
Step 2: Practice Social Distancing, Wear a Mask, Wash Your Hands
Traveling — especially after a year being locked away in your house — is super exciting, but don’t forget yourself in the midst of all the fun you’re having. Be considerate and follow CDC and WHO guidelines along with local laws and requirements. Wear a mask in all shared spaces, keep an appropriate distance from people outside of your family, keep your hands clean. Basically, do your part to keep yourself and others healthy.
Step 3: Consider Alternative Forms of Travel
While which way you choose to travel is likely limited by where you are traveling to, it’s wise to assess what is available to you and which is the safest option. If you’re traveling internationally, your travel options may be limited to planes, but it’s wise to assess which forms of travel you . While air travel itself is relatively safe due to the circulated air in pressurized air cabins, you will
come into contact with others at busy hubs like airports. The same goes for any public transportation, like buses, subways and more. The safest way to travel is likely by car or RV, especially if you are able to stay in an isolated area overnight and try to avoid touching shared surfaces without immediately disinfecting or washing your hands afterwards.
Step 4: Purchase Travel Health Insurance
Getting sick while traveling definitely isn’t on your itinerary, but it’s something to prepare for when traveling during a global pandemic. A major part of that is knowing you’re insured if you need medical care away from home. This is where travel health insurance comes in. What is travel health insurance, you ask? Also known as travel medical insurance, it fills in the gaps in your health insurance while traveling internationally. Many health insurance plans only cover you while you’re in your home country, so this can be highly useful. And regular travel insurance covers your trip, but not things like healthcare while on the road.
Anybody who has to travel outside of the country should look into travel medical insurance (even when we AREN’T in a pandemic). It’s a super useful thing to have if you ever get sick outside of your country.
Step 5: Have a Contingency Plan
There are many things that could potentially go wrong when traveling during COVID-19. What will you do if you test positive on the way there or back? Can you afford to miss more work? Do you have travel health insurance to avoid racking up some not-so-relaxing vacation expenses, like a hospital visit or emergency travel?
Having a solid traveling-in-a-pandemic plan will keep you from stressing if things go differently than planned.
You’re packed, you’ve got a brand new neck pillow, brand new travel medical insurance and this guide to traveling safely during COVID-19 — seems like you’re ready to get going! While there is no foolproof way to completely eliminate risk while traveling during a pandemic, our above tips and tricks will help you do the best you can.