How can I protect or reduce my chances of catching this disease or spreading it to others?

As the world experiences the second wave of this insidious virus that manages to outwit any efforts to clamp it down, many of us yearn to travel and connect with family and friends, especially as the holidays are before us.   Is it safe to travel?   How can I protect or reduce my chances of catching this disease or spreading it to others?   While there are some precautions you can take to reduce (not eliminate) catching this infection, there are no guarantees. But if you must …here is some advice on what to do.

  1. As the pandemic continues to spike in cities and countries across the planet; you need to consider whether you want to be in a place where the hospitals are overwhelmed, and you may not receive quality care, especially if you have underlining conditions.   Best to wait until the peak of the disease is no longer an issue. 
  2. Bear in mind that many states and countries are banning travel or requiring a 14-day quarantine.  It is essential that you check your destination’s official travel website before you book a trip.     
       Traveling in the US, check

       Traveling internationally, check the destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or
        for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.               
  3.  US and International airports are now offering COVID tests at a cost of $ 70 – $250 that can be charged to your insurance.   However, some tests such as the PCR test can take up to 3 days, so you will need to call the airport information center to determine what is possible and what your destination requires.  Taking the test would allow passengers to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine in some states and countries.  Bear in mind that a negative test does not completely rule out not being exposed to COVID. It takes about five days to develop measurable levels of the virus referred to as the incubation period.
  4. The next thing to consider is whether to drive to your destination instead of flying. Anytime you can reduce the sharing of spaces with others, that is most preferable.
  5. If you plan to fly, beware that airlines are no longer eliminating the middle seat except for Delta, which will end the practice in March, and Southwest Airlines in January 2020.  The best way to get around this is to consider flying at off-peak times, very early in the morning or late at night, where the flights are likely to be less full.
  6. Another option is to check online the seating chart of your flight, and if it is too full, possibly request a change. Airlines are still honoring changing flights without charging a fee, although it is hard to say how long this will last and if there are restrictions.
  7. So, you decided to fly, and are about to head to the airport, how should you prepare?   Three essential items to carry on your way out are multilayer masks, preferably with a face shield for your eyes, antibacterial wipes, and hand sanitizers.
  8.  Always keep in mind that airports are subjected to a greater sharing of the virus simply by the sheer numbers of travelers, especially during peaks of the virus.
  9.  Once at the gate,  let others board the plane first, avoid crowding too close to passengers in getting to your seat, and once there, take out those wipes and without hesitation wipe everything down … the seat, tray table, monitor, armrest, and the seat buckle. Choose the middle or window seat to limit the number of passengers passing by you. It’s important to note that most airlines (not all) have state-of-art high-efficiency particulate air filtration systems (HEPA) that reduce your chances of catching the virus, assuming you are taking other precautions.
  10. Once on the flight,  minimize using the restroom and eating unless it not an option. Also, limit conversations with passengers.  Remember that social distancing on a flight is difficult to do; it increases your risk especially when sitting for hours on a plane. 
  11. During and after the flight avoid touching your face,  do not take your mask off, and remember to use sanitizer when touching new surfaces, and always practice social distancing when attending outdoor events. 
  12. If you are planning on staying at a hotel or Airbnb, call and find out what their cleaning and mask protocols are and what amenities, if any, are canceled due to COVID so that you can plan accordingly. No need to bring your bathing suit if the pool is closed.  On car rentals and Ubers, you also want to make sure that they are following the same cleaning and mask protocols, carrying wipes and hand sanitizers is a must.

The most important advice is not to let your guard down and to follow the CDC protocols to reduce your chances of getting the virus.   We are happy to share an 8×10 checklist that you can download for planning any trip.

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