Updated Oct. 2021
As states across the U.S. ease up on their travel restrictions, it is still important to remember that COVID-19 pandemic is not over. While we are safer now than before, thanks to vaccine availability, the Delta variant is complicating travel plans once again.
Airports, bus stations, and other transportation hubs serve as a risk for travelers. However, there are a number of options to protect yourself as you travel from point A to point B. The CDC has released a set of travel guidelines for the United States at this time, and we have also assembled some of our best practices for staying safe en route.
Travel by car
Our readers often ask what the best way to travel is and how to avoid contact with germs on longer journeys. We recommend traveling by car. Because airplanes carry so many people, there are more opportunities to accidentally come across germs and viruses. Cars are much more controlled, and even little things, like rolling the windows down, can make a big difference.
Traveling by car can be the difference between coming in contact with others on the journey and staying distant from outside germs. If you prefer renting car, however, you should book your rental car at least 6 months in advance due to the current rental car shortage. Before you hit the road, make sure you have a safety kit ready.
Remain socially distanced from others
Since the beginning of the pandemic, staying six feet away from other people has been the best way to minimize risk. If you’re traveling by plane, we of course recommend wearing a mask, but above all else, we recommend staying distant from people who are not in your household.
Federal regulations require masks to be worn at all times during interstate travel and at transit hubs. While this doesn’t apply to those traveling by personal vehicle, you will have to wear a mask when traveling by plane, train, or bus.
Mask requirements are constantly changing based on infection rates and vary from between locations. It is a good idea to check the mask requirements of your destination and anywhere you may stop in between. We recommend you grab a mask anytime when you leave the house, just in case a business requires masks.
Avoid traveling with members outside of your household
If you must travel with another person, try to choose a close family member or someone you already live with. It’s important for your mental health to maintain connections with others. We’ve assembled a number of kits to make safety an option as a family or alone. We recommend this family and personal pandemic infection protection kit, which provides enough PPE for a group of eight.
If you have not already done so, get vaccinated to protect yourself and others. The CDC recommends you to wait at least two weeks after your last vaccination before traveling to ensure that you are as safe as possible.
Many travel destinations have different requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. We recommend you look up the vaccination and mask requirements for the location you are visiting before you make your travel plans. While some cities may not have any vaccine, mask, or capacity requirements, others may have a city-wide vaccination requirements to enter restaurants or other businesses.
If you are not fully vaccinated, you should quarantine for a full week after traveling. Take quarantine time into consideration when making your plans. Even if you are vaccinated, some locations still require a negative COVID-19 before you arrive.
You should still remain understandably concerned about using the doorknob at the airport. Consider bringing along some sanitizing wipes to protect your skin from germs and bacteria. We recommend these Sanizide Pro 1 On-The-GO Wipes, which are proven to kill COVID-19 within a minute.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. These wipes can help protect your hands from shared surfaces like gas pumps, door handles, hand rails, or elevator buttons.
Wash your hands
Although studies have shown that surface transmission is not the main way the COVID-19 virus spreads, this advice is important even in normal times. Whenever possible, wash your hands. We touch our face more often than we realize. This will minimize picking up germs from your phone, steering wheel, public restrooms, gas pumps, or other surfaces.
Washing your hands is the best way to protect yourself and others. Antibacterial soap is widely available and cheap. We recommend using it. When it’s not possible to wash your hands, hand sanitizer is an excellent item to have on hand.
If you are planning a trip during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to be prepared. Check out our pandemic and flu supplies here.