Traveling During COVID: Essential Tips for Testing and Health Precautions
COVID-19 cases are significantly lowered as more people get vaccinated. However, it is still not at the same rate as some states or even some countries. So, during travel, you need to take some precautions to keep yourself and your traveling partner safe. Learn 7 essential travel safety tips during COVID-19 to keep yourself and your partner safe during travels.
7 tips for travel safety with COVID-19
These 7 tips keep you safe during your travel with COVID-19, including:
- Aware of the COVID-19 rate where you live:
Even if you’re vaccinated, it’s still essential to be aware of how COVID-19 levels are in your community. If it’s high, you’re at greater risk of getting infected by COVID-19, however, these so-called breakthrough infections are mostly mild.
That’s why getting vaccinated is the best way to protect people, but not perfect yet because a small number of vaccinated people can develop a breakthrough infection. Luckily, these infections are not severe.
So, if you’re planning to travel by plane, train, or bus from a place where a lot of people may have COVID-19, then the odds might be higher that the passenger sitting beside you or near you could be infected. So, for your safety, you can wear a mask and use hand sanitizers after touching common touchable objects.
- Check the COVID-19 rate of your destination:
Considering the infection rate of your destination is a smart move because it allows you to prepare yourself and what to expect. So, if you’re heading to a location that is red-hot with COVID-19, then your chances of getting infected will be high, even if you’re vaccinated.
For travel within the United States, you can check the area’s test positivity rate (a key measure of virus circulation levels) by visiting the local public health department or CDC’s community database website online. Or you can search for the color-coded risk level at the comprehensive website Global Epidemics from the Brown School of Public Health.
For trips outside the United States, you must check the U.S. State Department website to know what the virus rates are and where entry is restricted. These may vary by vaccination status, for example, the Czech Republic, France, and some other European countries allow vaccinated visitors to avoid testing otherwise testing is mandatory.
- Consider your vaccination status and health situation:
An important thing that should come to your mind is how risky traveling can be for you because you need to see everything from your perspective about COVID-19. So, you should ask yourself these questions, including:
- Are you at higher risk of severe COVID-19 because of your age or underlying health conditions?
- Are you unvaccinated or take only one dose of vaccine?
- What about the people whom you’re traveling or visiting? Perhaps they still have a compromised immune system which makes them vulnerable to COVID-19 even if they get vaccinated.
- Consider testing around the trip:
If you or the ones you’re traveling with are not vaccinated, you should consider taking a COVID-19 test 1 to 3 days before you leave to lower the risk of getting infected with the virus at your destination.
Additionally, the CDC recommends unvaccinated people should test again 3 to 5 days after traveling and also quarantine for seven days or 10 days (about 1 and a half weeks) if they skip the post-trip test.
Suppose you plan to visit some international destinations that require testing before you can visit, even if you’ve been vaccinated. For example, Brazil allows U.S. citizens to enter only if they get negative test results for COVID-19 before arrival.
Keep in mind that everyone over age 2 needs to show proof of a negative test when they arrive back in the U.S. after traveling internationally unless they have documents that prove that they recently recovered from COVID-19. Vaccinated people must get tested up to 3 days before departure, while unvaccinated people must get tested no more than one day before.
- Mode of travel:
If you’re not vaccinated or have a substantial risk of severe COVID-19 then, experts suggest that you choose the safest form of transportation to reach your destination especially when it is possible to reach there within a day because this lowers your risk of interactions with other people.
Flying can also be a safe option as well because airline guidelines encourage all passengers to wear masks onboard. If you’re unvaccinated, then remain in your seat most of the time during your flight and put your mask on all the time, especially when other passengers remove theirs to eat or drink.
If you plan to travel by bus, you need to be extra prepared if you’re not vaccinated, as their ventilation systems (the machine that removes microbes from the air) may not be as good compared to airplanes. Vaccinated people will feel confident taking any mode of transportation, even when they sit next to an unvaccinated person.
- When eating out keep certain things in mind:
During last winter, experts recommended avoiding eating inside a restaurant, or eating outside where vacationers dine or get takeout. That advice is still applicable for people who are unvaccinated or who have compromised immune systems as long as the amount of coronavirus circulating in the community is significant.
For other people, eating indoors may have an acceptable level of risk, particularly in areas like New York and San Francisco, where regulations are mandatory for restaurants to only allow vaccinated customers inside. Still, some experts recommend caution, especially if the COVID-19 rate is higher where you’re traveling.
- Avoid places that are crammed with lots of people:
Experts hope that rates of COVID-10 in the U.S. will fall significantly, as more people like children of age 5 and older adults become immunized. However, it’s not the same in some other countries overseas, where vaccination rates are low.
So, if you are planning international trips, then maybe some activities you always love to do should skip for now like bars, karaoke, cafes, theme parks with indoor rides, or other crowded indoor activities that may carry some COVID-19 risk.
Even in the United States, you should avoid indoor spaces crammed with people whose vaccination status isn’t known. So, get yourself vaccinated to lower the risk of getting serious illness and complications, but there still is extraordinarily little chance.
The COVID-19 outbreak is one of the most significant pandemics that affects the entire world. However, after the vaccination release, COVID-19 significantly fell but not at a similar rate around the world. For traveling during COVID, follow all these above-mentioned tips to keep you and your traveling partners safe and healthy.
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