How to travel safely during the pandemic

Monday, November 9, 2020 How to travel safely during the pandemic

Phone, hand sanitizer, mask, suitcase -- ready for travel

If you’re looking forward to traveling home or elsewhere at the end of the semester, you’ll want to do so safely. Following these tips in combination with preventative practices like wearing a face covering, watching your distance and washing hands often will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Get tested before you go.

Free testing is available on-campus to help prevent you from unknowingly bringing COVID-19 home to your family or friends. It is recommended that you schedule an appointment to be tested 72 hours in advance of travel to allow time to get your results before leaving. Once you’ve tested, remember that it is up to you to continue to follow preventative practices to minimize potential exposure.

Monitor your own health.

Don’t travel it you are sick or if you show any symptoms (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea).

Help keep yourself healthy by getting a flu shot at least two weeks prior to travel. Students can schedule a free flu shot appointment at the University Health Center.

Research your destination.

Learn the prevalence of COVID-19 at your destination. Some state, local and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place, including testing requirements, stay-at-home orders and quarantine requirements upon arrival. For up-to-date information, check out info on travel restrictions from the CDC.

Take precautions during travel.

Airports, bus stations, train stations and rest stops are all places where travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces. Follow these precautions to prevent yourself from getting infected:

  • Wear a mask in any public setting, including while waiting in lobbies and on public transportation like airplanes, buses, vans or trains. If traveling by car with someone from outside your household, you should also plan on wearing a face covering.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from individuals who are not in your household.
  • Bring disinfecting wipes with you to wipe down gas pumps and buttons, airline trays and other shared objects before you touch them.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. While it may be readily available, it is in your best interest to bring your own and keep it handy. Remember to use it each time after you fill a car with gas or touch shared objects like door handles or luggage. If traveling by air, the TSA will allow one liquid hand sanitizer container of up to 12 ounces per passenger in carry-on bags. However, all other liquids, gels and aerosols should be less than 3.4 ounces and fit within a quart-size bag.
  • Use contactless options for check in or payment when possible.
  • Pack food and water for your trip. Bringing your own items is your safest option. If you don’t bring food, use drive-through, delivery, take-out and curb-side pick-up options.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Avoid high-risk activities during your travel.

Once you make it to your destination, you still need to keep up your guard to help yourself and others safe. You should plan to stay home as much as possible and avoid large gatherings like parties, weddings, funerals, sporting events, concerts, parades and crowded restaurants, bars, malls, etc.

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