Holiday travels have always been a time when Americans travel en masse to place in the country and outside. When the pandemic hit us this year, people hit the pause button on travel. However, with the holiday season going on, it does seem like fingers are being eased off the pause button. Despite a recent COVID-19 surge and advice from public health experts, who asked people to forgo holiday travel, people are traveling. Statistics show that over two million people traveled by air on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Holiday travel mistakes you need to steer clear of
It’s been a pretty long and dreary stretch of being stuck at home with no travels for a nation that loves to travel. That’s probably why most people made their holiday travel bookings as soon as things seemed to be relatively safe. In fact, most people traveling for the holidays had made their plans and bought their tickets months before and may find it difficult to reschedule.
If you must travel during the holidays this year, here’s what you need to avoid to keep yourself and your family safe.
Not following expert advice
You probably know all the travel guidelines and advisories pretty well by now because you’ve heard/read it a hundred times. Even so, here are the basics – wear a mask, practice social distancing, sanitize your hands, avoid crowds and indoor gatherings. If you ignore any one of these guidelines, you will end up placing yourself and others at risk. Also, do not fly if you’re feeling sick. If you are displaying any sort of like symptoms, avoid travel, and stay at home.
Being too comfortable
If you’re nervous about traveling right now, that may be a good thing. When it comes to holiday travel mistakes that could be really harmful to a traveler, the main risk is being too laidback about your travel. Accept the fact that holiday travel this year will be different. You don’t want to end up compromising your health because of carelessness. For instance, falling asleep on a long-distance flight and removing your mask or rubbing your face without washing your hands first. Airlines are doing their best to keep airport travel as safe as possible in the current climate, but passengers need to make sure that they follow all the rules all the time.
Not researching well enough
Let’s face the facts – some airlines and hotels follow safety precautions more stringently than others. To keep yourself safe during holiday travels this year, you need to spend some time researching the safety and sanitization protocols followed by various airlines. You can go on the websites of the airlines you intend to fly on or the airports you’ll be passing through. The same holds good for your hotels or B&Bs – go on their website and check out if they have updated information regarding new cleaning protocols or COVID compliance. If they haven’t, you will do well to give them a miss and find a place that offers better sanitizations standards. You’ll also want to research the quarantine protocols at your destination so that you won’t be surprised on landing there.
Not testing yourself
The CDC recommends that Americans traveling out of the country should be tested three times for each trip. According to experts, you need to get tested 1-3 days before your flight, 3-5 days after the flight, and then again 1-3 days before returning home. You might want to follow the same for holiday travels within the country too. The older adage ‘it’s better to be safe than sorry’ is now truer than ever. Testing yourself before and after travel together with a period of staying at home and the usual like wearing masks and social distancing can make holiday travel safer. Airports all over the country now offer onsite coronavirus testing, some of them even free testing. So, there’s no real excuse for you not to test yourself.
Neglecting your mental health
The holidays drive everyone a little crazy. Add to this stress and issues caused by the ongoing pandemic plus the loneliness due to quarantines and lockdowns. All this indicates that the number of people struggling with their mental health this holiday season is likely to surge. Don’t let this spill over to your holiday plans. Use your holiday to decompress and feel connected with your partners, friends, family, or even yourself.
Other things to stay away from during holiday travel this year are crowded places and indoor gatherings. You might also want to ease up on the alcohol consumption to avoid indulging in risky behavior. Avoid public transport and drive yourself down to the airport to avoid picking up an infection en route. Pre-book your contactless parking spot online, so you to further minimize physical touchpoints.
Remember, we’re all in this together. We’ve made it this far! Things will only get better now with the impending arrival of vaccines on the scene.