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Is it safe to travel now?

Here are some effective practices for getting on the road without endangering your health :

Although many restrictions are still in situ, travel is slowly beginning again. People locked down for months want to stretch their legs, see something aside from a screen, and boost the economy. Restaurants and a few tourist attractions (Florida’s Universal Orlando Resort, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) are opening for local and domestic travel. a couple of countries (Greece, Italy) are beginning to welcome international travelers.

But how are you able to safely explore a world of probably deadly encounters with friendly people that might infect you (or who you would possibly expose to the virus)? is that the airplane a soaring petri dish? Is visiting a park possible while social distancing? And if you select a seemingly safer road trip, are you able to stop to use a public restroom?

A poll by National Geographic and Morning Consult finds that just 2 percent of two,200 Americans said they’d hop on a plane now, and only another 8 percent would consider it later this summer. That’s wise with travel advisories still in situ, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warnings against international travel and cautions about travel within the U.S., and with many countries and states (Maine, Hawaii) still requiring 14 days of post-travel self-isolation no matter symptoms.

As we recently reported, travel planning is sweet for your psychological state. Knowing more about real and perceived COVID-19 risks might assist you to feel better about getting out as roadblocks lift. Here are the best practices for travelers.

Should I buy it on an airplane?

Challenge: Being crammed next to strangers during a flying metal tube

Best practice: It’s reassuring to understand that “data so far suggest only rare possible occurrences of in-flight transmission” of COVID-19, says Dr. Lin H. Chen, professor at Harvard school of medicine and director of Cambridge’s Travel Medicine Center at Mount Auburn. She explains that if everyone follows the planet Health Organization’s guidelines, the danger of transmission aboard planes, and anywhere else, is significantly reduced.


“Many people think they get sick on an airplane, but the truth is that the air quality on an airplane is good—high amounts of unpolluted outdoor air and every one recirculated air passes through a HEPA filter,” says Joe Allen. A professor and director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Allen explains that you’re more likely to select up a bug standing in line at airport security, at the boarding gate, or on the subway.

Airports and airlines try to attenuate the risks of contagions in their often-crowded environments. Intensive cleaning is now the norm; planes are now being fogged with an electrostatic disinfectant that sticks to surfaces like seatbelts. Some airlines offer you wipes and therefore the Transportation Security Administration has upped the dimensions of hand sanitizer bottles you’ll cause board from 3.4 ounces to 12.

Face coverings are required to board most flights. Airlines try to seat people so that they have more room. But that doesn’t necessarily mean middle seats are remaining empty, especially with reductions in numbers of flights. There’s no national U.S. policy yet, but several airlines are checking for fevers. They won’t allow you to fly with a temperature above 100.4℉ (though testing is way from foolproof).

Internationally, some destinations require proof of a negative COVID-19 test; other destinations test passengers on arrival. Many have mandatory 14-day quarantines, sometimes requiring you to submit a quarantine plan for approval, download an app, or get a tracking bracelet to make sure you follow the principles. Vaccination certification may eventually be needed for travel, but thus far the science doesn’t support “immunity passports” or proof that an individual has had COVID-19 and is, in theory, immune.

Should I head to a national park?

Challenge: Avoiding big crowds within the great outdoors

Best practice: “There are many health benefits to being outside in nature, and therefore the risks are low and manageable”, says Allen. The key’s keeping a six-foot distance. an honest practice at a park is to pretend that people are grizzly bears and stand back from them.

Check the park Service’s find-a-park website to ascertain if the park is closed or partially closed (restrooms and food services, in particular), for limits on numbers of tourists, and other rules like mask-wearing. Avoid group activities that involve close contact and practice social distancing at campsites. Joyce Sanchez, an communicable disease specialist and medical director of the Travel Health Clinic at Froedtert and therefore the Medical College of Wisconsin, reminds us that “summer is tick and mosquito season,” so don’t forget your bug spray and sunscreen (though perhaps a face-mask tan will become a badge of honor that you’re doing all of your parts to guard others).

(Related: find out how COVID closures are impacting the tiny town bordering Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.)

Should I rent a cottage by the sea?

Challenge: Assessing the security of beaches and vacation rentals

Best practice: Like park trips, seaside vacations are great if you’ll stand back from others and obey beach closure rules. There’s no evidence you’ll catch COVID-19 from the water (it’s people you ought to worry about). Remember to bring your two best beach friends: reef-safe sunscreen freed from oxybenzone and hand sanitizer.

Regarding rentals, ask whether properties are cleaned consistently with public health guidelines, like the WHO’s accommodation sector advice. Airbnb’s Enhanced Cleaning Initiative includes a 24- to 72-hour vacancy period between guests (though cleaners may visit during that window), but it’s likely unnecessary given evidence that the coronavirus floats within the air only up to 3 hours. Since the virus can measure on surfaces for 2 or three days, you’ll give high-touch surfaces an additional clean. As Chen says, “good hand washing should overcome potentially contaminated touching.” If anxiety outweighs the advantages of a vacation, it’s a symbol you’re not able to venture out yet.

Should I stay during a hotel?

Challenge: Distancing safely and trusting housekeeping

Best practice: Hotels that take better care of their employees (by providing them with personal protective equipment and paid sick leave) are more likely to require better care of you. Check the web site of any hotel you’re considering to work out how they’re responding to COVID-19. Many U.S. hotels are following the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s new Safe Stay guidelines.

Choose properties that base their protocols on science, instead of things that sound good but have little effect or take focus faraway from areas that matter. Search for hotels that have installed plexiglass at reception which require staff to wear masks, or where you’ll check-in online and use your phone as your room key.

In Pristina, Kosovo, a worker during a protective suit sprays disinfectant during a bedroom to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Should I exploit a public restroom?

Challenge: Taking care of business in busy bathrooms

Best practice: Assume public restrooms “are not properly disinfected and treat surfaces as if they need live virus on them,” says Sanchez. That said, it’s often necessary to use. once you do, choose single-stall and well-ventilated bathrooms if you’ll, and keep your distance from others.

Chen says that “good hand hygiene is vital after employing a public bathroom,” meaning wash and dry your hands; if there’s no soap, use hand sanitizer. She adds “I am unaware of any data to point out that flushing aerosolizes SARS-CoV-2 and transmits the virus.” Regardless, it’s always good practice to place the lid down before you flush.




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