Coronavirus has upended lives across the globe, and the fallout may continue for many months to come. Still, you may find you need to travel for work or family.
If you're considering traveling, here are some things you should have in place in order to keep yourself, as well as everyone around you, as safe and healthy as possible.
Determine If It's Necessary to Take a Trip
Since so much of the world is on lockdown, you have to figure out whether or not your trip is necessary at the moment, according to Philip Weiss, founder of PhilipWeiss.org, a travel blog focused on digital nomad lifestyle and culture.
"Traveling for me is a way of life, and right now, I've had no choice but to stay put," he said. "So unless it's a medical emergency or some extenuating life circumstance, I wouldn't recommend traveling right now. Not that I believe that I could catch the coronavirus on a remote island somewhere off the coast of Thailand, but just in case of the random chance that it could happen."
Weiss said that if he wanted to travel anyway, he'd look at the coronavirus infection map around the world, and then plot a travel course that would dodge it, assuming that the national borders in those countries were still open.
Ask Yourself Some Important Questions
Before deciding to take a trip right now, Kayla Rauh, travel expert, who serves on the advisory board for Travel Enthusiast, said you should ask yourself some questions like:
- Are you in close contact with anyone who is elderly or has a suppressed immune system? If so, could you stay away from them for at least 14 days?
- What could you do once you're at your destination, considering so many places are shut down?
- If you get sick, will there be someone to help you?
- Do you have money for at least a two-week period, if you got sick?
- Do you have another way to get home if your flight is canceled?
- If you're renting a car, is the rental car place even open?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make the right choice.
Take the Proper Precautions
Even though you've seen the travel advisories and heard the warnings, you may still have to travel. If this is the case, then take as many precautions as possible.
Rauh said that you should wear a mask and gloves, and bring hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to clean all surfaces you are going to be utilizing, including the airplane's seats, windows, tray tables, back pocket, armrest, headrest, and air vent. You should also wipe down items you use a lot, such as your headphones, chargers, credit card and suitcase handles, and wipe down the rental car you're driving.
When you arrive at your hotel or Airbnb, deep clean everything as well, including washing the bedding and wiping down all surfaces.
Chane Steiner, CEO of Crediful, said that when looking into where to stay—whether it's a hotel or an Airbnb—choose the place where you'll come into contact with the least number of people, as well as where you feel most comfortable.
"Keep in mind that both [hotels and Airbnb] are putting policies in place to prevent the spread of disease," he said. "Hotels are cleaning and de-sanitizing regularly, and some are even hiring disease consultants to effectively ensure their facilities are disease-free. At the same time, you can view the cleaning methods of an Airbnb before you rent it out, so you know how deeply and effectively it's been cleaned."
And before you leave, it's a good idea to make sure your estate plan is in order. While the odds of you getting sick are low, there is enough uncertainty to warrant thoughtful planning.
Even if you believe you won't be affected by coronavirus when you take a trip, it's always best to err on the side of caution.
"If you go out into public, make sure when you come back, you are washing your hands, taking a shower, placing your dirty clothes in the washer right away, not tracking your shoes all over, etc.," said Rauh. "Traveling can be done. Just do it responsibly and take every precaution you can to ensure your health and safety."