In the past years, traveling has been such a common activity that nearly everyone can go from one country to another for work, business, or pleasure.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted domestic and international travel in ways that has forced people to delay or cancel their trips. As a result, thousands were unable to attend to their businesses and important events or go on holiday overseas.
But with travel recommendations changing by the day, people who need to go overseas for work, business, or medical reasons will soon be allowed to go on their much-needed trip.
However, even if restrictions are lifted, if you do decide to travel, you have to take extra precautions as you step out of your home and into the airport and plane — places that put people at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.
By taking these extra precautions, you can minimize the risks you face while traveling.
Travel Safety Tips
Below are seven key safety tips you have to follow when traveling during times of a health crisis and beyond:
1. Stay up to date with the latest travel advisories
Once travel is allowed, you will do well to stay updated regarding the latest travel advisories, particularly news on COVID-19.
Local and global health authorities continually update travel guidelines for the health and safety of everyone. For example, the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regularly publishes travel guidelines based on levels ranging from 1 to 3. Level 3 countries are those that should be avoided for all nonessential travel due to widespread disease transmission.
If you have a Caribbean passport and you are headed to this region, you will do well to read the latest citizenship by investment news to know if the countries here are allowing entry to non-resident citizens and what the protocols might be when you arrive.
2. Be prepared to sanitize your hands frequently
During the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping your hands clean is a must. It is one way of protecting yourself from the coronavirus whenever you go outdoors.
Proper hand washing involves the use of liquid or gel soap. To ensure you have access to these items, keep them handy.
While in the airport or plane, wash your hands after touching high-touch surfaces such as door handles and counters. Also, do the same after using the bathroom and coughing, sneezing, and blowing your nose.
Make sure you wash your hands before, during, and after handling food, too.
Additionally, always observe proper hand washing. This means using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you have any paper towel or tissue, use it to dry your hands.
If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol or wipes with the same alcohol level content.
Airports currently allow passengers to pack hand sanitizers and alcohol in their hand-carry bags (as long as these are 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters or less), so you won’t have to worry about this part.
3. Bring other sanitizing products
Once you are inside the airplane, be prepared to deal with the different types of germs lurking in nearly all areas. The tray table, your seat belt buckle, the armrest, and the toilet flush button are only some of these bacteria-ridden spots.
Use antimicrobial wipes to clean these surfaces before touching or using them.
Additionally, use wipes to clean your mobile phone and other devices to keep them germ-free as well. Do the same if you are getting into your rental car; wipe the handles, key, wheel, and even the seats.
4. Avoid touching your face
Another safety rule that has been strongly recommended that everyone should follow during the COVID-19 pandemic is avoiding touching your face.
When you touch your face, you run the risk of transferring the virus and other germs which you may have picked up from bacteria-ridden surfaces or items. These microbes can quickly enter the mucous membranes around your mouth, nose, and eyes, making you more susceptible to illness.
By not touching your face, you reduce the risk of getting sick.
5. Observe social distancing
While in the airport, follow the rules on social or physical distancing. Stay at least two meters from the persons nearest you, whether they are at the back, in front of, or beside you.
If there are circles or lines indicating where you should stand or stay, make sure you follow them.
If the plane is not full, try to choose a window seat. These seating areas are associated with less virus transmission since persons sitting here have the least amount of physical contact with other passengers.
There will be instances, though, wherein social distancing won’t be possible in the airport and plane. In such situations, the best thing you can do is to put the hood up on your coat or jacket and avoid touching any of the line barriers, ropes, or walls that other people may have already touched.
6. Stay hydrated
Before, drinking water while traveling was highly recommended to avoid getting dehydrated and keep your energy up. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, staying well-hydrated also provides another key benefit.
By staying hydrated while traveling, you prevent your mucosal membranes from becoming dry. Bear in mind that when your nasal passages dry out, thick mucus will develop in your nose, making it the perfect environment for viral infections to develop.
To avoid forgetting to drink, bring a reusable water bottle and make sure it is always full.
7. Get plenty of sleep
Having a strong immune system is crucial for fighting off viruses and illnesses. Aside from having a healthy diet and getting enough exercise, you can strengthen your immunity by getting enough quality sleep.
Make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep every night days before you travel. If you have a lengthy flight, try to get as much rest and naps as you can on the airplane.
Listen to your favorite soothing tunes or read a book to ensure you can get some shuteye even if you are up in the air.
Following these tips will help you keep safe if there is an urgent need for you to travel during these troubled times. Noting these and applying them even when the pandemic is over will also help you stay at the peak of wellness and enjoy your journeys whether they are for business, work, or leisure.
Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship investment into the Caribbean, North America and Europe. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.