Remember the good old days when crowded airports and flight delays were the biggest worries you had when planning your holiday travels? To say that things have changed drastically this year sounds like a bit of an understatement! Holiday travel this season is replete with all the madness and chaos of the past. The CDC has recommended preventive measures when traveling for the holidays this year owing to the Omicron variant. The fact is, many people have not traveled for almost 2 years. And therefore, they’re planning to travel during the holidays in 2021. 63% of Americans are likely to take a trip this holiday season vis-à-vis 40% last year. For those of you who are venturing out this season, here’s how to make sure your holiday travels are healthy and safe.
Holiday Travel Tip 1: Research the requirements at your destination
This may sound like pandemic travel101, but it is worth remembering. You must research and gather information about the travel requirements at your destination. Several states have stringent requirements for entry, including mandatory quarantine, proof of a negative COVID test, and other regulations. You should also look into the requirements for your return. For instance, what requirements does the state you live in expect you to comply with. You can get more information on what the state entry requirements are here – http://tiny.cc/statetravelrequirements.
Holiday Travel Tip 2: Choose your airline carefully
While most airlines have taken measures to protect their passengers, some airlines are stricter than others when it comes to implementing safety measures, including social distancing. Do your research and get in touch to know exactly what measures your airline has implemented to keep you safe. Another thing you’ll want to look into are the cancellation and rescheduling policies. The current situation being what it is, things may change any minute. Ideally, you want to book with an airline that offers flexibility or is ready to waive change fees. Here’s more information on which are the safest airlines to fly on – https://www.way.com/blog/the-top-5-safest-airlines-to-fly-on-right-now/
Holiday Travel Tip 3: Reduce touchpoints as much as possible
Technology can be your friend in expediting screening and reducing physical touchpoints. You can enroll in the TSA PreCheck program to reduce time spent in an airport security line. Once you register ($17 for a year), you can PreCheck boarding pass and a dedicated line at airport security. Also, you won’t have to remove your shoes, belts, electronics or remove liquids and gels from your carry-on bag. Not only is this convenient, but it also drastically reduces the amount of physical contact. Do online check-ins wherever possible, and try to print your own baggage tags to keep your airport experience as contactless as possible.
Another easy way to reduce physical contact is to go in for contactless parking. You can minimize physical contact at airport parking lots by pre-booking your spot ahead online on websites like Way.com or parking apps like the Way app.
Holiday Travel Tip 4: Consider getting yourself tested
Whether your destination requires you to get tested or not, it might be a good idea to make sure that you are healthy and ready for travel, especially if you’re traveling internationally. In fact, the CDC recommends that you get a coronavirus test 1-3 days before the flight, 3-5 days after the flight, and 1-3 days before returning. Getting yourself tested is a good idea even if you aren’t traveling internationally. If you plan to meet older persons (like your grandparents) or at-risk persons, you may want to make sure you don’t put them in any danger.
Holiday Travel Tip 5: Pack all essentials in your carry-on luggage
Until this year, essentials would probably entail your power bank or noise-canceling headphones. However, your carry-on bag has to have all the safety essentials and snacks you’ll need on your trip this year. Face masks are absolutely required, so pack a few spares. Face shields are a pretty good idea, just in case you somehow end up with a lot of people in a small space. Keep your sanitizers and wipes where you can easily reach them. Carry some disposable gloves too. Make sure you pack some snacks and drinks. Though in-flight services have resumed if you have qualms about removing your mask while in the airplane, you might want to have a snack away from the crowds before boarding. Make sure if you are staying at a resort that they have long term stay hotels as an option.
Traveling during the holidays this year can be risky and may expose you to infection. However, you can keep yourself and your dear ones safe by wearing a mask, social distancing, limiting physical contact, and avoiding crowds or public transportation.