Staying Safe While Traveling – Coronavirus Edition

First off, no one should be traveling for leisure right now. If you don’t have to go anywhere – don’t. Not the post office, not your friends house, not the playground. The more you can limit your exposure to other people or places – the better. This COVID-19 is no joke.

So, that being said, when it comes to traveling right now – just don’t. Unless, of course, you have to. I know a few people in California who need to travel across the country in the next two-three weeks, and I am already super nervous for them. One set of these folks happens to be my parents who actually have to go back to the East Coast – no if, ands, or buts about it. I tried to convince them to drive there – but they weren’t having it. Not that that idea seems that much safer anyway.

If you have to travel – be safe and be smart.

  • Prepare ahead of time – collect hand sanitizer, masks and gloves from friends or your own collection.
  • Check your flight status – a lot of travel is getting canceled.
  • Know how you will get to and from the airport as Ubers and Lyfts are extremely limited, if available at all.
  • Keep calm and play it smart.

Prepare Ahead of Time.

  • Take multi-vitamins, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep and take vitamin C before you travel. Make sure your immune system is in the best shape possible leading up to your travel.
  • Eat your ‘big’ meal before leaving the house. Fill up so you (hopefully) won’t be hungry during your travels. 
  • Bring your own snacks, plasticware, and napkins. Pack snacks in your carry-on that are easy to eat without your hands, like granola bars that can be held in the packaging partially while consumed. Or make your own cup of fruit or salad to bring with you that can be consumed with your own sanitary fork/spoon. Things like a sealed cup of yogurt that can be consumed with a clean spoon are also great options. The best thing to do at the airport will be avoiding touching anything – including purchasing foods/drinks through the airport or on the plane or eating anything that has to be touched by hand. 
  • If you must buy food while traveling, avoid choosing fresh foods like cut fruits, salads or sandwiches at the airport where people have touched/prepared these uncooked foods. Try to aim for thoroughly cooked foods that can be eaten with clean forks/spoons. As normal, wash your hands before you eat and after you throw-out the food containers (remember that they have been touched by multiple people!). 
  • Again, if you must buy anything while traveling – use your credit card or Apple pay to avoid as much touching as possible (i.e. like exchanging money and getting change…).
  • Pack your own refillable bottle of water. Wash your hands and the outside of the bottle after you fill it up at the airport. If you buy a water bottle – wipe it down with sanitizing wipes as soon as you purchase it and clean your hands after that first touch. 
  • Use a bag or backpack that can easily be machine washed or that you can leave for a day or two without needing, once you return home. 
  • Put sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, tissues and your own sets of disposable forks/spoons (as needed) in easy to access parts of your carry-on. 

Have a Plan of Action at the Airport

  • Refrain from touching your face – especially eyes, mouth or nose once you leave home! 
  • Do not eat anything with your hands. 
  • Wear a mask and gloves, if possible. 
  • TSA is going to check your I.D., and tons of other people touched I.D.s. Make sure to sanitize it when you have it back in your possession or as soon as you are home again. Your wallet too, with that in mind.
  • Avoid putting on things like make-up or chapstick while you are traveling to avoid extra contact with your face.
  • Avoid high-touch surfaces like the armrest of chairs or benches, faucets, buttons, handrails, etc. If you must touch them, use the back of your hand, wearing gloves, using elbow, tissues/napkins, or the sleeve of your shirt/elbow. Wash your hands as soon as you can.
  • Avoid the elevator if possible, as well as any other unnecessary tightly enclosed spaces. 
  • Continuous drink plenty of water or other warm beverages. Avoid cold or iced drinks. If the virus enters your mouth but is swallowed, your stomach acids can kill it. If it lingers and enters your lungs – then you have a problem!
  • Before you get into your seat, use sanitizing wipes to wipe down the arm rests, tray tables, window, seat belt buckle and any other parts of the area that you or your things will come in contact with. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer whenever needed. 
  • Don’t take things from other people, including the flight attendant. Decline any snacks they provide. Accept water but hold your own refillable container if possible, while they pour. Otherwise, disinfection the bottle after they hand it to you. 
  • Do not walk or sit near others at the airport, stay 6-8 feet away from others. 
  • Be considerate to other people, we are all stressed and having a hard time with this. Remember, it is us against the virus – not us against each other.
  • Sanitizer your phone whenever possible as your most repeatedly touched item.

When You Reach Home:

  • Leave bags that can be left in your garage, basement, or entryway for as long as possible (2-3 days would be on the “safest” side). Wipe down bags/handles/zippers that must be brought in the house and then empty them and put the bags away immediately. Wash your hands.
  • Take off the clothing you traveled in immediately – machine wash right away or put in the hamper for a few days before touching again.
  • Take a shower – washing hands, face, arms, etc. thoroughly. 
  • Continue to drink plenty of water. 
  • Work backwards to sanitize anything that was touched while traveling – like your I.D., purse, wallet, phone, keys, etc. including the doorknobs to your house and light switches you touched when you first came in. 
  • Sanitizing your phone is crucial as it is an extremely high-touch point for all of us. 
  • Wash your hands when all is said and done, again. Because, that is life now.
  • Plan to quarantine at home for 14-days to prevent the spread of COVID-19, even if you don’t have any symptoms you could still be infected and carry the virus to others.
  • Breathe. Put on your bathrobe, eat some cookies, binge watch your favorite shows. You are home! 
  • But seriously – keep your immune system up by continuing to drink plenty of water, maintaining a healthy diet, taking multivitamins and/or Vitamin C, getting fresh air, exercise if possible, and get enough sleep.