As Americans continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19, more people are feeling ready to return to a beloved pastime: traveling. Whether you’re taking that long-awaited vacation or traveling to see friends and loved ones far away, here are some things you can do to keep yourself safe and prepared:
Get Vaccinated and Boosted. This is the simplest, most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19. Note that your body needs time to build up immunity, and depending on which shot(s) you get, you may need several weeks to get all the doses necessary to become “fully vaccinated”. Once you are, you can upload your records into a digital vaccine passport for convenience – don’t forget to bring this with you when you travel!
Do Your Research. Before confirming your travel plans, check to see what restrictions (if any) your destination may have—especially if you’re planning an international getaway. Keep in mind that the CDC recommends delaying international travel until you are fully vaccinated. What’s more, if you’re booking an international trip, you will have to get tested at least three days prior to your flight’s return to the US, regardless of citizenship status.
Mask Up. Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on all planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation—especially when physical distancing isn’t possible. Whether you prefer disposable or washable masks, plan to bring a mask for every day of your travel, just in case. And if you’re vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19 due to age or existing health conditions, consider bringing an N-95 mask or double masking in areas of high exposure.
Get Tested After Arrival. Though testing upon arrival is a destination-based requirement, if you’re planning to visit immunocompromised friends or relatives (including anyone over the age of 65) when you arrive, it’s important to get tested beforehand to protect them.
Find a Hotel that Prioritizes Safety. When researching hotels and other lodging options, make sure that wherever you book has marketed enhanced cleaning procedures, social distancing measures, masking policies, and/or infection protocols.
Wash Your Hands Often. Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces, including handrails and elevator buttons, and when you can’t avoid them, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward. Make sure to have one small container of hand sanitizer per person with you on your travels. If you’re traveling by plane, TSA allows up to 12 ounces (or 350 milliliters) of carry-on hand sanitizer.
When Driving, Plan Your Stops. Not everyone is ready to get back on a plane. If you’re planning to travel by car, map out your route and plan your stops ahead of time. Making fewer stops and preparing meals ahead of time can help limit your exposure while on the road.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be relied upon for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, dial 911 immediately.