While many folks are likely staying home this holiday season, many families are still likely to be hitting the highways and runways to see friends and loved ones starting this moved. If you find yourself traveling this holiday season amidst the pandemic, check out some of our helpful tips below to stay healthy.
In the Car
The car this year is likely your safest place to avoid Covid exposure this year while traveling. If you’re going to be traveling on highways chances are there may be toll roads or Express Lane possibilities that you can use to save time. Make sure your EZ Pass has enough money on it before you hit the road as many toll roads have currently have unoccupied toll booths due to the pandemic. If you don’t have an EZ Pass, you can easily purchase one at many retail locations in the area, including most Giant grocery stores in Northern Virginia. If you’re stuck in traffic, you can use the local express lanes. There’s even an app where you can put in your entry and exit points into the app to see how much your trip could potentially cost.
Also, make sure that your car emergency kit is up to date. Common items often include a flashlight, extra batteries, car phone charger, drinking water, and common first aid items. Also make sure your spare tire is properly inflate plus that you have working jumper cables available too if needed.
If you want to avoid the fast food restaurants while driving, think about packing a cooler full of drinks, snacks and light meals to both save money and stay away from potentially crowded fast food restaurants on the highway. There are some great coolers for road trips available on Amazon here.
Of course be sure to have masks and hand sanitizer handy at rest stops for bathroom breaks and gas fill ups. It also doesn’t hurt to have some sanitizing wipes on hand as well should you need to wipe down things like cell phones or credit cards. Some stores carry handy Clorox travel packs that are great for road trips.
In the Air
If you do decide to fly this holiday season, there are a few things to do to help avoid getting sick. First, air travel booking sites like Expedia will tell you how many safety precautions each airline is doing in your desired itinerary, such as how some airlines are blocking off middle seats while others are not.
The one thing all airlines are doing is requiring passengers wear masks that cover their nose and mask while onboard the airplane. Some airlines have gone so far as to ban people for life if they chose not to comply with the mask order. Most airports also require you to wear a mask in the airport itself as well, including the three airports in our region. If you do forget a mask, all three airports in our region have some masks available for passengers while supplies last.
Experts also recommend using a mobile boarding pass on your Smartphone to help avoid cross contamination. You can save time here by downloading your airline’s app in advance of traveling. Like the car, consider bringing extra snacks in your carry-on bag if you’re looking to avoid the often pricey and unhealthy fast-food options in airports. TSA recommends placing food items in plastic bags to make it easier during security screening. If you chose to eat in the airport, download your airport’s app beforehand so you can get an up-to-date glance at what restaurants are open in your airport as many are offering limited service during the pandemic. Lastly, many flights are no longer serving drinks and snacks aboard flights, so make sure you bring a snack or drink with you if you’re on a longer flight.
The other obvious things to bring along include hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. While TSA typically limits you to bringing a maximum of 6oz of a liquid aboard the plane, they have altered that rule to allow you to bring up to 12oz of hand sanitizer. While most major airlines are deep cleaning planes between flights, it’s also not a bad idea to wipe down your seat, seatbelt and tray table while you sit down. Additionally, consider placing personal items such as keys, wallets and phones in carry-on bags instead of bins at security. This reduces the handling of these items during screening.
Above all else, be sure to use common sense and trust the guidance of the CDC, including limiting the touching of frequently touched objects, wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer, maintain social distancing if possible, avoid touching your eyes and face, and of course wear a mask when in public places. Safe travels!