The world just grabbed an imaginary remote control from under the couch and pressed the pause button. It’s currently going through a significant break due to the sudden spread of coronavirus, and everybody’s life has been affected in one way or another. While the urge to travel grows within you, take a moment to consider what traveling will be like during this new reality. What new travel etiquette will you have to follow in order to have a safe journey? As we’re slowly figuring out each step of the way for a post-coronavirus world, travel etiquette is going through some changes. A new sort of silent social contract has been called to action by everyone in the world in the form of social boundaries and mutual respect for each other's personal space.
Many countries started implementing certain measures in order to put public health as a top priority. These measures affect the way people live, work, and travel. As measures go through certain changes week by week, it has become crucial to have reliable and up-to-date information to let you know the status of your city and what you can or can’t do. You should refer to your country or state’s government website for this type of information. Another easy way to get informed regarding measures in every US state is by checking this list. You’ll know where you can travel domestically and what to expect open in each state.
If you can’t shake off that little or giant craving to travel and discover the world, there are some considerations you should take into account for your own safety as well as others. A major part of the infected population are prone to only have mild symptoms, or not even have any at all, which shows how important it is for someone to self-isolate if they experience any mild symptoms or even if they feel fine.
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How can I stay protected while traveling?
Protecting everybody’s health has become a priority, now more than ever, and taking the correct precautions when traveling has become crucial. Every traveler around the world now carries the weight of a certain “traveler’s responsibility” on their shoulders. Basic hygiene measures like washing your hands thoroughly and sneezing or coughing etiquette are being taken more seriously. Travelers now play a heavy role in keeping the cities they visit as well as their communities back home healthy and safe.
To make sure you’re protecting yourself correctly and keeping others safe during your travels, we’re leaving you with a few traveling etiquette tips below. Practice these as much as you can, before, during, and after your travels.
Expect empty airports & mask use while traveling during COVID-19
Before you travel:
- Before you decide whether or not you should travel, start by evaluating your own health. Do you feel under the weather? Then consider postponing your trip until you’re feeling better. But what if you feel well? To be absolutely sure, consider getting tested for the virus, if that’s available to you, and wait for the results to get back before leaving. If you get cleared to travel, it will make your trip a little bit more worthwhile.
- Check governmental websites—both from your origin and destination—to see if there are any advisories you should know about in advance.
- Consider making your reservations in advance. From restaurants to museums, hotel rooms, or even planned activities. Call in advance or book online to guarantee your spot and make sure everything goes according to plan.
- Make sure you pack enough protection to wear during your whole trip. Masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer are the main necessities.
- Keep track of your flight status so you don’t run into any surprises. That’s better than waiting for your flight in an enclosed space at the airport for longer than necessary if there are any delays.
- Check in with your travel insurance company and your healthcare provider. Make sure you have the required coverage for your trip and a fair cancelation policy.
- At the airport, make sure you keep a safe distance from other passengers. The recommended amount is 6 feet (2 meters).
During your trip:
- Avoid touching your face. Always. Even if you’re wearing gloves. You never know if they’ve gotten contaminated during the ride.
- Keep your personal devices, personal. Don’t let your belongings come into close contact with anyone else, as much as possible.
- Keep a distance from people that might be showing symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, or just appear unwell. It’s okay to come across as unfriendly right now.
- Make a habit of washing your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. While traveling use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol as an alternative.
- Pay attention to how you’re feeling every single day. If unwell, contact the nearest local health facility and inform them of your travel history.
- Be mindful when disposing of your used masks. Opt for throwing them in the trash instead of dropping them on the floor. We all should do our part to keep streets clean. That’s always true—with or without COVID-19.
- Locals might not be as receptive to strangers at this moment. We’re all on edge, so if you need help with directions and someone brushes you off, don’t take it personally.
Be cautious about your health & quarantine requirements even after returning home
Returning back home:
- Be conscious of whether your homebase had any update regarding mandatory quarantine after returning from a trip. Public health authorities all around the world are either advising travelers to self-isolate for 14 days for precautionary measures or making it a mandatory requirement.
- Check with your local health authority or doctor to update them on your recent travel and get a routine check-up.
It’s now up to all of us to keep in mind this new type of travel etiquette while traveling or planning a trip. Getting used to our current reality will take a while. But if you really think about it, just the simple act of wearing a mask while traveling is not only a safety measure for yourself. Above all, it’s a symbol of consideration to the community. It helps fellow travelers and locals feel slightly more reassured and at ease when we all do our part. We know it might be a bit nerve-wracking, but face this new challenge as an opportunity for you to be the best traveler you know you can be.