How to vacation safely this summer
Whether you’re flying or staying close to home, here are our top tips on how to vacation safely as the pandemic continues.
Although many people have been vaccinated and some pandemic restrictions have been lifted, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated.
Besides continuing to wash your hands often and following the CDC guidance to wear masks indoors in areas where the virus is circulating widely, there are other steps you can take to help reduce both the spread of COVID-19 and our chances of becoming infected while on vacation.
Consider if you should be travelling
This may be a depressing first tip, but bear with us! The truth is - the COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing in the US and abroad. Even if the planes are flying and resorts are opening, travel is not risk-free and new restrictions may be imposed with very little notice.Fully vaccinated people travelling within the US, do not need to get tested before or after domestic travel or self-quarantine when they return home. Keep in mind that wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is mandatory on planes, buses, and all other forms of public transportation in the US. These rules also include indoor areas at airports and train stations. No matter what, follow state and local requirements for masking and social distancing as you go.When you return, self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if you develop them.If you’re not fully vaccinated and must travel, the CDC recommends that you get tested 1-3 days before your trip. Continue to follow the current rules for masking on public transportation, along with taking additional precautions to avoid crowds and maintain 6 feet of social distance from anyone not traveling with you. Following state and local requirements will also help you minimize risk. For unvaccinated people, the CDC recommends getting tested 3-5 days after your return and self-quarantining for a full 7 days. If your test is positive, add isolation precautions to your self-quarantine. If you’re unable to get tested, self-quarantine for 10 days instead. Avoid contact with people who are at increased risk of severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not. Everyone should check themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if they develop.
Whether you’re fully vaccinated or not and planning an international trip, keep an eye on the current situation at your destination. Aside from meeting the requirements of your destination country, the CDC has detailed recommendations for international travel.
Vaccinated people don’t need to get tested before leaving the US (unless the destination requires it), but you will need to show proof of a negative test or recovery from COVID-19 before boarding your flight back.
Staying safe when flying
While flying, keeping distance from others will be difficult (if not impossible) and you may be in close contact with many people for a prolonged period of time.
It’s a good idea to do as much as you can to reduce opportunities for COVID-19 to spread.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when flying:
- Check in online and take as little as you can on the plane, to prevent your belongings coming in contact with other people
- You’ll need to wear a face covering at the airport and on the plane for the duration of the flight, so make sure the ones you bring are comfortable for you.
- Depending on the length of your flight, it’s a good idea to take 3 or 4 face coverings on the plane, so that you can put a new one on if the other gets damp
- If the flight is short, avoid eating or drinking. If you have to eat, make sure your hands are well sanitized before putting anything in your mouth
- Make sure you have alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you. It’s a good way of cleaning your hands after you’ve touched a surface others might have touched or before and after you touch your face/change your mask
- Avoid touching surfaces on the plane that are frequently touched by others (tray table, seat screen). Wipe down frequently touched surfaces with a disinfecting cloth.
When you get there
No matter where you go, you’ll find that things aren’t 100% back to pre-pandemic life, but this shouldn’t get in the way of you enjoying your break. Everyone in the vacation industry is continuing to work hard to make vacations as safe as possible for everyone.
Besides following any guidance set by the place you’re visiting, here are a few other tips on how to stay safe:
- As with flying, make sure you have the necessary things with you, such as face coverings in case an establishment requests it and hand sanitizer
- Continue to spend as much time outdoors as you can, as we all know by now that the virus spreads less readily outdoors than indoors.
- Continue good hand hygiene if you’re touching things that many other people may also have come into contact. Wash your hands after, and don’t touch your face without clean hands.
If you get COVID-19 symptoms while away from home
Whatever you choose to do this summer vacation season - if you or someone you’re travelling with develops COVID-19 symptoms, you should avoid going to hospitals, medical facilities, or pharmacies, as you may spread the infection to others.
If your symptoms start while travelling, stop and don’t continue your journey. Seek advice at the airport or from the place you are staying.
You must self-isolate immediately and book a COVID-19 test as soon as possible. You can book an appointment on the Babylon app to speak to a provider if you need more advice.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.