It’s a safe bet your holiday travel plans will be different this year than in years past.
You might be downsizing your family get-together or planning to hold it outside. Maybe you’re driving instead of flying. Or you might be planning to simply stay home and carve your turkey via Zoom.
The latter strategy is the one recommended by the CDC.
“Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19,” says the CDC on its updated Travel During the Pandemic web page. “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”
It’s important to remember that even if you feel great and have no symptoms, you might be carrying the virus, and you can spread it to others.
But if you do plan to travel, be sure to review the CDC guidelines listed below.
Lawyers Mutual wants you to have a safe, healthy and happy holiday. We’ve launched a new email newsletter, “Practice Reimagined,” to keep you up-to-date on valuable pointers for navigating the new normal.
General Travel Guidance
- Don’t travel if you are sick.Or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.
- Wear masks during travel. Especially on public transportation: airplanes, trains, ships, ferries, subways, taxis, and ride shares, and at transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Click here for more information.
- Be cautious and prudent with holiday celebrations. Get more guidance here.
Before You Travel
- Is COVID-19 spreading at your destination? The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected during travel and spread the virus to others when you return. Check each state’s cases in the last seven days here. Check the COVID-19 status of international destinations here.
- Do you live with someone who might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19? If you get infected while traveling, you can spread the virus to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.
- Are you at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19? Anyone can get ill from the virus that causes COVID-19, but older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illnessfrom COVID-19.
- Does your destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers? Some state, local, and territorial governments have requirements, such as requiring people to wear masks and requiring those who recently traveled to stay home for up to 14 days. Check state, territorial,tribal and local public health websites for information before you travel. If you are traveling internationally, check here.
If You Travel
- Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings, including on public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
- Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Traveling Abroad? Check CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destinationbefore planning your trip.
Considerations for Types of Travel
- Air travel. Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Also consider how you get to and from the airport, as public transportation and ridesharingcan increase your chances of being exposed to the virus.
- Bus or train travel. Traveling on buses and trains for any length of time can involve sitting or standing within 6 feet of others, which may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. If you choose to travel by bus or train, learn what you can do to protect yourself on public transportation.
Car travel. Making stops along the way for gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and frequently-touched surfaces.
- RV travel. You may have to stop less often for food or bathroom breaks, but RV travel usually means staying at RV parks overnight and getting gas and supplies at other public places. These stops may put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others.
Learn more about how to protect yourself from COVID-19 on different types of transportation.
Tips for Common Travel Situations
- In public. Wear a mask in public settings, including on public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
- Bathrooms and rest stops. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom and after you have been in a public place. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Getting gas. Use disinfecting wipes on handles and buttons at the gas pumps before you touch them (if available). After fueling, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. When you get to your destination, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Hotels and accommodations. See advice for traveling overnight.
- Food stops. The safest option is to bring your own food. If you don’t bring your own food, use drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curb-side pick-up options.
Anticipate Your Travel Needs
- Bring a mask to wear in public places and on public transportation.
- Pack hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Keep this within reach.
- Bring enough of your medicine to last you for the entire trip.
- Pack food and water in case restaurants and stores are closed, or if drive-through, take-out, and outdoor-dining options aren’t available.
- If you are considering cleaning your travel lodgings, see CDC’s guidance on how to clean and disinfect.
Source: CDC Holiday Travel Guidelines
Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which helps lawyers add purpose, profits and peace of mind to their practices. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441.