Thu. Jan 21st, 2021

Several months in The epidemic and many guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have not changed much: wear masks, socially distance, wash your hands and stay at home as much as possible. However, with the exhaustion of the epidemic on people around the world, it seems difficult, especially for travelers, to feed the idea of ​​not going on any kind of vacation until an approved vaccine is available. The good news is that, according to health experts, travel is possible right now, as long as you take the right precautions and are ready to make amends for your vacation. To get tips on how to travel safely during an epidemic, US News published Dr. At the University of California, Irvine. Henry Wu and Drs. Talked with Henry Wu, Director and Founder of Programs in Public Health, Dean Bernadette-Boden-Alabala. Director of Emory University School of Medicine and Emory Travelwell Center.

However you can’t expect it on an international flight right now (Americans are barred from traveling In many countries around the world), You can still experience the joy of discovering a new destination with a few extra precautions. Keep in mind that each of the states and their counties has their own rules and laws about COVID-19, including external restrictions and mandatory quarantine requirements for out-of-state visitors. For the latest news and state regulations, consult the CDC Website.

Where to go

According to the CDC, the primary method of spreading coronovirus is through person-to-person contact. Like, the safest holiday to take right now is where you will be around the least amount of people. Not only that, but coronoviruses have been shown to spread much easier indoors vs. outdoors. Because of this, you should end your trips to big cities with a short list of your travels. Not only do large cities have high population densities, but most of their attractions (ideas: museums, cultural centers, shops, and restaurants) are often indoors.

Your best bet? Opt out. This year, one for one trip Beach destination, a National Park, a State Park Or any large outdoor space where you can keep your distance from others is a safer vacation option than a crowded city. But before you start your outdoor adventure, it is important to consider the timing of your trip. National Park and Camp An uptick in visitors has been observed during the epidemic as they have been considered a safe holiday option for their allowance for social distance. To avoid getting in contact with too many other travelers, visit any destination during the week or outside.

According to Boden-Albala, density is predominant in factoring in transmission risk wherever you go. “If I’m on a beach, I’d like to triple my distance. Even if it’s outside,” she says. “You walk to any place, whether it’s a grocery store or museum or a national park, and there are so many people, move on. Go somewhere else. Find another place,” Boden-Albala says.

Wu says that another factor to consider when choosing a destination is how that location is handling its control of the virus. “In general, I think that places where case counts are rising or staying high during the summer are riskier than places with a clear trend of low numbers or decreasing numbers,” says Wu. However, he is also saying that the matter may escalate at any time, and passengers should be prepared. “Epidemiology of COVID-19 changes very rapidly, so places that are shrinking [of] A problem can now be a major problem in a few weeks, and it may take some time to become clear in the data, ”says Wu.

Due to the changing nature of the epidemic, Boden-Albala suggests that travelers adjust to their expectations and are very flexible with their plans. “You’re going for a change of scenery, but it’s not business as usual,” Boden-Alabala says. “I think the other thing is that people should make sure that they don’t get discouraged. I think people should travel, but they should have a realistic view of what travel means.”

getting there

A car is the best way to travel during an epidemic. Being isolated in your own vehicle ends up spending potential hours on a train, plane, or bus in close contact with strangers. If you do not have a car, consider renting one. Car rental agencies have adopted new, more stringent cleaning measures among renters, reducing the risk of contracting the virus in a used car. Car rental companies including Enterprise, Alamo and National have taken a “full clean pledge”. Among the rentals, they not only wash and vacuum cars, but they also disinfect 20 high-touch areas including steering wheels, seat belts and door handles, among other places within vehicles.

Being indexed inside a car greatly reduces your risk; However, if you are taking an hour road journey, You will inevitably come into contact with others when stopping for a bathroom break, food (both Boden-Albala and Wu recommend packing their own food) or gas. Follow the same precautions that you usually do in a public place: wear a mask that you use outside of your car, especially in the bathroom, and practice full-hand hygiene, keeping in mind that you are in contact. Will be used very often, high-touch areas at rest stops.

If your desired destination is easily reached by plane or train, the risk will be high. Contrary to popular belief, according to the CDC, you are less likely to contract coronavirus on airplanes due to the aircraft’s top-of-the-line filtration system. However, the risk still depends on the duration of the flight (long flight, long duration risk), the airline’s policies on board and whether other passengers are following them. The time spent in the airport before and after the flight, such as gate to board, baggage baggage or waiting for a ride, also affects your chances of risk.

“If you can imagine someone who is sick and coughing and bringing the virus closer to you,” says Wu, a highly efficient and effective filtration system may not be protective of that close contact. ” “If you’re not sitting next to anyone and the middle seat is empty, we think that is probably less risky. I’ll also reduce the time to remove your mask to eat or drink.”

Planes do not have the same filtration as airplanes, and unless you are traveling nonstop, people are moving in and out of the train car. However, Amtrak has adopted stringent, epidemic-friendly policies, including limiting bookings to allow for disturbances within the train car – a policy that not all American airlines have followed. Also, according to Amtrak, air is filtered 44 times per hour in a train, so you can know comfortably that the filtration system is working to reduce the spread of the virus.

where to stay

When considering accommodation options that are free from congestion, you may think that camping is your best bet. But given that campers are booking fast during the epidemic, you can find yourself in a crowded camp using the same facilities as dozens of others. For the safest experience, look for a campsite that allows for a safe distance or a very remote site where you are the only person or just a few other tents in the area. If you don’t want to make it fat, vacation rentals According to Wu, hotels can be a safer option.

“I think that a stand-alone type of accommodation, whether it’s a rental house or AirBnB, would naturally be more secure than a hotel or high-rise situation where you could be in contact with others in a lift or lobby. Or will be in common areas or shared areas. Like pools, “Wu says. “I think the big concern about big hotels and things like that is in common areas.”

Bowden-Alabala, who recently embarked on a cross-country road trip, chose hotels that paid attention to room cleanliness and advised to choose hotels that operate at 25% or less. Wu also noted that vacancy before you arrived is important, whether you choose vacation rentals or hotels. “I think the risky situation would be entering a room where either the previous tenant or the scavenger literally just stepped outside and it would be riskier than a place that had been empty for a few days. is.”

Vacation rental websites such as AirBnB have implemented new cleaning standards in response to epidemics and limited guest capacity for private rooms or hosts of shared spaces. Meanwhile, hotel brands prefer Hilton And Hyatt Has implemented measures such as contactless facilities, facade requirements and increased cleanliness in both rooms and public spaces.

What to do

To avoid exposure, plan as many outdoor activities as possible. In addition to being safer than indoor activities, being outdoors in nature has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Following his cross-country road trip, Boden-Alabala felt “revived” on the road. “The emotions in these great plains are overcome, which we have in Utah and Colorado,” says Boden-Alabala. “It’s really quite nice to sit in a car and drive and see some of these more remote places and it gives you some perspectives.”

As for eating out, experts say don’t do it. Boden-Albala believes that in the United States, eating in restaurants is not safe yet. “What’s most dangerous in terms of viral spread is actually sitting at a table with other people and eating. It’s your weakest time,” she says. “It’s an important thing that people don’t realize. We eat and we speak and those drops go up in the air and if you’re a loud person it can go even further.” During his road trip, whenever Boden-Alabala dined outside, he ordered takeout. According to the CDC, contracting coronavirus with takeout or food packaging is considered to be rare.

And whatever activity you are engaged in, be it Hiking Or water sports, don’t give your phone to anyone to take a picture. Wu’s advice is that on top of the hand sanitizer and several masks, you should bring a selfie stick if you want to take a picture that you would ask a stranger to capture.

Final suggestion

Apart from all these thoughts, Boden-Albala strongly advises against traveling if you are feeling unwell. Often, COVID-19 does not always include traditional cold or flu symptoms, such as fever or cough, and as such, people do not know they are ill. She says, “From what we have seen at the medical center and what I have seen in Orange County, many people have very mild symptoms and they cannot imagine that what they are experiencing is COVID-19.” She says. “He had a sore throat for 8 hours and tested positive.”

Wu urged travelers to wear masks as well as adhere to social distinctions. “Getting away really works, we all know the 6-foot rule and we’ve all gone to supermarkets or other places where people are politely 6 feet apart, but the fun thing when you meet the store and everyone else. Is. Wu says that taking away really applies all the time. “You get people right next to you and you’re forgetting things. I encourage travelers and people in general to increase distances. “

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