It’s summer! It’s sunny and hot! You already asked for a week off back in February, but then COVID-19 happened. Now you have a vacation, and you don’t want it to be a stay-cation with your family. What can you do? You don’t all want to get sick, but if you don’t get a change of scenery, you’re all going to go crazy.
Here are some tips from the CDC and WHO to help you stay safe and healthy while on vacation this year:
8. Don’t go.
Ask yourself if it’s necessary to go on vacation. You may be able to swap your days at work for vacation days after the epidemic has passed. Traveling is the way that COVID-19 is spread from community to community and region to region. The best way to eliminate the risk of getting sick or making others sick is by staying at home and avoiding contact with other people.
The first case of COVID in Germany was transmitted when a corporate employee from China visited the company office in Berlin. The person she infected had no direct contact with her during her visit. By studying security camera footage, contact trackers eventually discovered the first person to contract COVID in Germany used the salt shaker after this corporate visitor touched it.
Doctors are learning more about treating COVID-19 effectively, but there are still many things they don’t know, for example, whether there are chronic effects. It may be the case that this disease causes lasting damage to several organs. Until scientists and doctors know more, the best action is to avoid getting sick if you can.
7. Investigate your destination.
One of the reasons that COVID-19 spread all over the world so quickly was that people travel so often. When you plan your vacation, you need to investigate if there are infections where you are headed. John Hopkins University has a county by county registry of all the positive cases. You can check on its website if your destination is COVID-free or not.
If you are driving, you need to think about the places you will pass through. You may put yourself at risk when you fill gas or take a bathroom break. Will you need to stay at a hotel?
If you are taking public transport, you will be within six feet of others. This means that if another passenger is sick, you risk catching COVID-19 from him or her. If you are exposed to the virus while traveling, it won’t matter how many cases there are in your final destination.
6. Investigate your area.
Your destination may be COVID-free, but is the area where you live? Could you have COVID-19, but be asymptomatic? No one wants to be the person that spreads disease to another region. Think about how it would feel to test positive after getting home and find out that you made others sick while you were on vacation.
5. Evaluate if you or your travel companions are at high risk.
Everyone who is exposed to COVID-19 is at risk of getting it. Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are especially likely to become gravely ill and need to be hospitalized. They are also the individuals who most often die from COVID complications. Some of the underlying conditions that put people at risk include being overweight, diabetes, lung conditions, asthma, heart disease, and immune deficiencies. Pregnant women have also been found to have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID. If you or the people you are going to travel with have any of these conditions, it is probably better to avoid travel.
Even if you and your travel companions are not high risk, remember that even some healthy adults between 20 and 35 years old have died of COVID complications. In some cases, children have died. Take some time to evaluate the risk of traveling to your family seriously.
4. Find out about local laws in your destination.
Your hometown or destination may have regulations that you don’t know about. Ensure that you find out how the governments where you live and in your destination are dealing with the pandemic before traveling. Some towns and states require travelers to stay home for 14 days after arrival. If the place where you live has this rule, you will have to plan extra time for vacations. The same is true if this is a requirement in your destination. It is important to respect these laws because there can be hefty fines for violators. Hawaii charges travelers who don’t self isolate for 14 days a fine of $5000 and up to a year in prison.
3. Anticipate your travel needs.
Before leaving your house, make sure that you have a face covering and hand sanitizer. You may want to take other sanitation supplies along if you plan on cleaning your travel lodgings. Pack food and drinks for the trip since you may find that grocery stores and restaurants are closed. Be sure to pack any medicine you need because you may have trouble finding an open pharmacy—pack enough clothes since you may not be able to purchase more.
2. Find out if the places you’re going are closed.
Many businesses and locations have closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These places include hotels, restaurants, museums, theaters, shopping centers, libraries, and national parks. Call ahead of time to find out which places are open. It may well be the case that what attracted you to a specific location, for example, a theme park, is closed for the time being. Make sure that your effort and money are worth it before making a long trip to find everything you want to do is shut.
1. Take precautions to prevent infection.
While you are traveling and when you reach your destination, make sure that you wear a face mask when you go out. Wash your hands frequently. Stay six feet away from others. Try not to touch your face, mouth, eyes or nose. Get food from drive-through windows or curbside service.