FAMILY & PARENTING

When It Comes To Travel During COVID, Here Is Everything To Keep In Mind

by Sarah Bregel
Sarah Bregel is an editor at LittleThings.com covering entertainment, trending stories, adorable stuff, parenting, and more. She is also a freelance writer, mom of two, dog mom, feminist, and deep-breather.

Travel during COVID-19 is not easy, but it’s definitely still possible. Like we’re learning about most things in our lives right now, it’s going to look different.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t go anywhere. You simply have to take some precautions and do a bit of planning.

Experts are telling us that staying home is still the safest thing to do — and that’s true! If you stay in your home and don’t come in contact with anyone other than your family, chances are, you’re going to stay safe. It’s important to keep in mind, but we also have to be reasonable. Sometimes, things come up that demand us to leave our homes!

And in some cases, travel is essential.

We may not all be ready to get back out into the world just yet. But for those of us who have to travel for work, for a family emergency, or for something personal, here is what we should keep in mind.

1. Make Sure You Read Up on Current Guidelines

The thing about the pandemic that is so confusing is that the regulations change all the time. That can have a huge impact on how much we’re able to do. When it comes to planning even necessary travel, we have to keep in mind what the current recommendations are. It’s extremely important, now more than ever, to watch or read the news, and find out accurate information about the virus.

2. Check the Guidelines for Your Destination

Different locations have all kinds of different rules and regulations. When it comes to traveling, you may have to get tested before doing so. You may also have to plan your travel according to when you get tested, which is trickier than it seems! Some places will ask you to have a test within 72 hours of your travel date. Because it can take several days to get results, it can definitely be tough to pull off.

3. Keep Masks On

No matter where you’re going, there is no question about one thing: masks are a necessity. We know by now that masks are massively helpful in slowing the spread of the virus. When traveling, there are a lot of unknowns, so it’s especially important to wear your mask at all times. Unless you’re in your car with your own family, keep your mask on.

4. Choose a More Remote Travel Location, if Possible

If you’re traveling for work or for a family emergency, you probably don’t have a lot of say in where you’re going. But if you’re traveling for pleasure, then choose your location wisely. Definitely opt for somewhere that isn’t super populated. Somewhere remote might even be safer than your own hometown, especially if you live in a big city.

5. Pack Wisely

You’ll probably need a few items that you aren’t used to bringing along with you in your travels this year. For example, having extra masks will be necessary. But you may also want to pack some hand sanitizer or gloves in a bag that will be with you at all times. You can’t always wash your hands if there isn’t a sink nearby, so having these items will be a great backup.

6. Bring a Face Shield

Masks are incredibly helpful but a mask and a face shield is a winning combo. If you’re going to be on a plane, it’s definitely a good idea to wear a face shield. If you haven’t worn one yet, it might seem strange, but it’s a great extra precaution to take. Planes can be a little scary right now because there are so many people in a closed space. A face shield can help you to relax while you fly.

7. Rent a Car

When traveling in normal times, making use of public transportation is a great way to save money. Right now, it’s an extra risk that you don’t really need to take. Renting a car can help you to stay safe because you, or you and your travel mates, will be the only ones in it. Instead of being on a crowded bus, subway, or train, you can drive instead. And right now, you really should.

8. If Traveling With Kids, Be Prepared

Kids are tough to travel with even in the best of circumstances. But right now, it’s even harder. Kids love to touch just about everything. From rolling around on the airport floor to licking their chair, their antics mean COVID-19 times are downright terrifying to travel with little ones. If kids are coming along on your journey, you’ll definitely need to come prepared. Candy, iPads, games, you name it, you’re going to need it.

9. Plan Out Your Activities

One of the great things about traveling for fun is that you don’t necessarily have to have a schedule or plans. You can fly by the seat of your pants, so they say. But these days, it’s important to do some planning. When traveling, you’ll want to know what places are the safest to go, such as restaurants or other activities you might enjoy. Look for places with outdoor seating and choose activities that don’t involve being in close proximity to others, such as hiking or water sports.

10. Don't Drink Too Much

One of the biggest reasons people let their guard down during the pandemic is due to drinking too much. It’s definitely easy to do, especially when you’re traveling! But make sure you keep an eye on your alcohol consumption. One too many can make you totally forget there is a virus ravaging the world, and it’s a pretty important thing to keep in mind.

11. Keep Your Expectations in Check

It’s also important to remember that while taking a trip can be done relatively safely with some planning, you should keep your expectations in check. You probably won’t be able to do absolutely everything you’d like to do. I mean, hey, global pandemics require a little flexibility. Keeping expectations low and just focusing on getting out of Dodge for a bit and having a change of scenery is important.

12. Try Not To Stress

It’s been fairly well-documented that stress can lower our immune systems. It’s hard not to be stressed these days, but practicing healthy coping mechanisms like exercise, eating well, and getting a good night’s rest, can go a long way. Especially when you’re traveling (and even leading up to travel), you’ll want to try to keep your stress to a minimum. That will help you to stay healthy when you’re in transit.

13. Practice Social Distancing

It’s what we’ve been doing for months now, so we’re pretty much used to it when we’re at home. But it doesn’t go out the window when we’re traveling. Social distancing is still one of the best ways to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. That means keeping more than 6 feet away from others, except those in your “pod.” If you have to be near anyone, you should avoid touching them and, as always, wear your mask.

14. Weigh the Pros and Cons

Some travel is necessary, like for work or family emergencies. But other travel might be important for different reasons — like for your mental health. When going on trips that are your personal choice, weigh your options. Make sure you’re able to travel in a way that makes you feel safe, and that also, keeps others’ safety in mind, as well.