CoVid Holidays: To Travel or Not To Travel

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Continuously wearing masks and keeping our distance from loved ones for 8 months has taken a toll on all of us. With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, the question arises, to travel or not to travel? Do you brave the roads or hop on a plane and risk being in close contact with strangers? Or do you stay at home, alone and isolated during the holidays? Allison Walker, a senior epidemiologist in the CDC Prevention’s Travelers’ Health Branch said, “There’s really no such thing as safe travel.” However, if you decide to visit loved ones, keep reading to see what to research and what to take with you during your CoVid holidays travel.

 Figure out which days you’re able to take off from work

  1. Maximize the weekends or your scheduled off days
    • Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 26th
    • Christmas Eve (24th) and Day (25th) fall on a Thursday and Friday
  2. Research which days your work offers paid holidays and make sure to include in your travel plans
  3. How many vacation days do you want to utilize for the upcoming holidays and how many expire at the end of the year?

Decide if you’ll drive or fly to minimize the CoVid holidays spread

NPR: Thanksgiving In The Time Of COVID-19: To Grandmother’s House Or No?
  1. If you drive:
    • Pros: you limit the number of people you encounter; if you pack a cooler and beverages, you can lessen the number of stops;  think of all the road side attractions you can pose in front of; generally cheaper than flying;
    • Cons: consider the buildings you’ll enter (hotels, gas stations, restaurants, rest areas) and the people you’ll encounter in each; depending on the distance to travel, could take significantly longer than flying;
    • Plan your route and know where you’ll fill up with gas, eat, and sleep. Call the hotel to see what practices are in place to mitigate CoVid risk.
  2. If you fly:
    • Pros: Most likely you’ll arrive faster than if you drive, can travel further distances, airlines are taking multiple precautions to make flyers feel safe, not as many people have been traveling via plane compared to previous years;
    • Cons: closer contact with a higher quantity of people (ticket counters, TSA, other passengers, etc.);
    • Research the CoVid protocols in place for your preferred airline, but most are cleaning daily, wiping down all seats, requiring masks, and many other precautions.
      • For example: Southwest assures its clients that through November 30, they will keep the middle row empty. They require all flyers to wear a mask for the entire flight. “Every aircraft is equipped with a sophisticated air distribution system that introduces fresh, outdoor air and HEPA filtered air into the cabin every second while inflight, resulting in exchange of cabin air every two to three minutes. We use HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) onboard that removes 99.97% of airborne particles* – similar to the technology found in hospitals.”

Look up the CoVid Holidays facts in the state or country you’re visiting

  1. Quarantine Statistics
    • Research the number of cases. For example: we discussed flying into El Paso to rent a car and visit White Sands National Park. However, El Paso is currently a hot spot, with more than 22,000 cases in the last 2 weeks. Thus, we had to change our plans to avoid El Paso.
    • Look up your own city statistics and decide if you may be a risk to who you’re visiting or the people you encounter during your travels.
  2. Quarantine Requirements
    • Most require a negative PCR CoVid test within the 3 days prior to your arrival or you have to quarantine for 14 days.
    • Some countries require a second test upon your arrival.

Practice CoVid Precautions

  1. Keep six feet distance from others
  2. Wear a N95 mask and shield (for extra protection and to protect the eyes)
  3. Wash hands often, especially before eating or drinking
  4. Use hand sanitizer if you don’t have the ability to wash your hands
  5. Use antibacterial wipes on your seats, tables, and other surfaces
  6. Use apps for all check-ins (contactless)
  7. If you feel sick, stay home

Pack CoVid Supplies

  1. Masks and Shields
  2. Thermometer (love the forehead ones!)
  3. Hand sanitizer (if flying: in 3.4 ounce bottles or less) (wipes or bottles that can connect to a bag for easy access)
  4. Gloves (or remember to wash hands before eating or drinking)
  5. I love these pouches to carry all the supplies.

The holidays are special times, designed to be spent with loved ones. This year, making decisions regarding travel during the CoVid holidays is causing extreme stress, as we don’t want to potentially endanger those we love. So, research as much as possible about the areas you’ll travel through, utilize social distancing, wear masks, wash your hands frequently, and most importantly, if you feel sick, stay home and Zoom.

This holiday season, remember to respect others, take your time, keep your distance from everyone, and find patience as we all struggle through a new way of travel.

I hope you all stay safe, travel smart, and find a way to enjoy the holidays with your loved ones!

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It’s approaching that time of year when many people decide to move! Before you do, check out my previous blog post, 8 Moving Tips to Learn Prior to Moving.

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