Thanksgiving, Christmas, and our other favorite holidays are right around the corner, and now is the time to start making plans. Whether you’re leaving town by plane, train, or car—keep safety at the front of your mind in these pandemic times. As we’re getting used to the new normal, it’s important to not get complacent about health and put yourself and loved ones at risk.

Why It’s Okay to Travel by Plane

Sitting next to a stranger for hours seems counterintuitive to protecting yourself from COVID-19, but flying might not be all that bad. 

  1. Planes are equipped with HEPA filters that trap 99.97 of airborne particles, and that recycled air gets mixed with fresh outside air.
  2. Everyone is required to wear a mask, which means people are mostly keeping their germs to themselves.
  3. Some airlines block out middle seats to keep more distance between passengers, although families can request to sit together. Check individual airlines for current policies.

Ultimately, your safety is in your hands, so here are a few other ways you can make your trip safer.

  • Keep your face mask on through the airport and on the plane to avoid spreading vapor and airborne particles.
  • Maintain six feet from other travelers and avoid crowded spaces wherever possible.
  • Make the security check smooth and quick by packing accessories and personal items in your carry-on bag before you get there. 
  • Wash hands regularly and keep hand sanitizer with you.

It’s Worth the Drive

Near or far—taking your car or renting a vehicle (like an RV) to get to your destination means the least exposure to others. Follow these tips to make your safest option even safer:

  • Keep a mask, gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes in your car for pit stops.
  • Pack your own food to avoid exposure at restaurants, or order take out food. Eat in the car or outside if the weather is nice.
  • Bring a buddy and share driving duties so you can avoid having to spend the night on the road.
  • Plan your route to avoid stopping in cities where there are a high number of cases of COVID-19.

Keep It Safe Where You Sleep

The best accommodations are the ones where you have the least interaction with others. Homestays like Airbnb, VRBO, and Vacasa allow you to rent out entire apartments or homes, guaranteeing that you won’t be breathing anyone else’s air. Larger hotels tend to have more common areas and touchpoints where there is a higher risk of transmitting infection. Smaller places like motels might be preferable because there are fewer spots to interact with other guests and staff. It’s always a good idea to air out your lodging when you arrive and bring your own disinfecting supplies to wipe down surfaces.

Each state has its own travel restrictions, and some require a COVID test or self-quarantining upon arrival. Check your destination and include this in your travel plans.

By Laurenne Hom and Lillian Kay