Halloween is this weekend and Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. This means that people are getting out shopping for candy, groceries, and presents, but people are also starting to plan their holiday travels. And if you’re a college student attending KSU, you get some extra time around Christmas to travel wherever you wish! But traveling in the world of COVID-19 can be tricky to say the least. And if you’re traveling this holiday season, but you’d like to get together with some friends, it’s also important to keep these guidelines in mind as we all do our part to limit the spread of the virus.
In order to keep everyone safe, Kent’s Best Apartments has done some research and found some helpful tips and advice from the experts on how to travel safely during the holiday season.
Before we dive into tips for traveling, it’s important to note that the CDC states that “Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.” Even if you feel fine, you could be asymptomatic and are putting those around you at risk. If you have to travel over the holidays, here’s what to know:
- Check The Destination’s Data: The CDC has provided a map with data on each state, including the number of cases within the last seven days, total cases for that state, and total deaths. There may also be local traveling restrictions for each state, so it’s important to become familiar with the destination state’s requirements, such as a required quarantine period.
- Visiting High-Risk Individuals: If you or someone you are visiting has an increased risk of severe illness due to the coronavirus, it’s essential that you reconsider traveling or increase safety precautions. Older adults and people with medical conditions such as asthma, kidney disease, or heart conditions are at a greater risk. Remember that even if you don’t have symptoms, you could still spread the virus.
- Wear a Mask: When traveling, wear a mask in any public setting, such as on buses, in cabs, in airports and airplanes, gas stations, and restaurants when required. Wear the mask so that it fits snugly around your mouth, nose, and chin.
- Wash Your Hands: Practicing proper hand hygiene is incredibly important. Wash your hands before entering a public place, after leaving a public place, after using the restroom, and after touching your face. When you’re unable to use soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Practice Social Distancing: Avoid coming in close contact with anyone who is not from your household as much as possible. Remaining six feet apart can be challenging, especially in a busy airport, but continue to wear a mask, frequently wash your hands, and remain conscious of the distance between yourself and others.
Types of Travel
Ideally, if you’re traveling over the holidays you will be able to self-quarantine for two weeks prior to leaving, travel directly to your destination without coming in contact with people or surfaces. This can be possible when you live in a safe environment and you are able to drive directly to your destination. However, depending on where you are going, this may not be possible. Here’s what to consider with different types of travel.
- By Air: When traveling by airplane, you will be spending time in a security line, walking through terminals, using restrooms, possibly purchasing snacks or meals, and sitting in a confined airplane seat where it may not be possible to remain socially distant depending on the airline’s rules and regulations. Public transportation may also be necessary to get to and from the airport.
- Bus or Train: This mode of transportation is quite similar to traveling by air and the same factors must be considered. When traveling by bus or train, avoid touching surfaces as much as possible and choose a seat that is as distant from others as possible.
- By Car: Although driving to your destination means you have the car to yourself, the biggest factor is the distance you will be driving. If you’re able to make the trip without stopping, this is the best option. If the drive will require multiple stops or even a night at a hotel, it increases the number of times you’re coming in contact with objects, people, and surfaces.
Tips For Common Situations While Traveling
- Using Restrooms: Many public restrooms are notorious for being unkempt and unsanitary, but there are precautions that you can take. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after using the restroom; use your elbow to turn on and off the water; use a paper towel or the side of your arm to open doors; and avoid touching anything after you have washed your hands.
- Getting Gas: Use a disinfectant wipe to clean the gas dispenser handle and touchpad. Use hand sanitizer after fueling up.
- Staying at Hotels: Choose a hotel that offers online reservations and check-in and contactless payment; call to ask if staff are wearing masks; and inquire about how frequently the rooms are thoroughly sanitized and when your room was used last.
- Food: Bringing your own food on the trip is the best option so that you can avoid coming in close contact with people. If you stop for food, use a drive-through or take-out.
There are various ways to make traveling over the holidays as safe as possible, but one of the best ways is to be prepared and plan ahead. If possible, self-quarantine before you leave, plan on where you’re staying, and make sure you have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes on hand wherever you go.
The holidays are some of the most important and memorable times of year, but as you know, this year is unlike any other. While we all wish that we could travel without worry, there is still a risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. We hope that you can travel safe, and that you and your family remain healthy throughout this holiday season.
If you have any questions about our off-campus housing or want to learn more about our current lease specials, please get in touch with our staff today. We offer three convenient apartment complexes in the Kent State area, including Hickory Mills, Summit Hill, and Whitehall Terrace. Call today to schedule a tour.