3 Considerations for Holiday Travel During COVID-19 Pandemic
The holidays will look different this year. While many of us look forward all year to a Thanksgiving feast with the family, the coronavirus pandemic may limit our options, prompting us to plan ahead and make some decisions.
That doesn’t mean, however, that holiday travel is impossible. You’ll just need a little more foresight and a little more consideration to make sure you’re handling the holiday season in a safe, respectful manner. Dinner with the family is great — but exposing a family member (or being exposed yourself!) is certainly not worth the trip.
Here are three factors to consider when planning your holiday travel.
- Who will be there?
This, more than anything, must be considered. If you’re driving or flying to meet your family for the holidays, who will be there? How old is everyone? How is their health?
Potentially exposing older relatives or at-risk relatives simply is not worth it.
“”It’s kind of a case-by-case process. It depends on how much risk each of the family members has,” Dr. Otto Yang, professor and associate chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, recently told USA Today.
Just as Dr. Yang notes, you have to know who will be there ahead of time. Then, you can adjust your plans and decide whether to make the trip.
- How safe is travel, anyway?
Whether by road or by air, the travel itself is tricky.
Traveling in an airplane has actually been shown to be safe, and the air quality on an airplane is high. But there’s the added dimension of standing in the airport, using airport bathrooms, deplaning, etc. that complicates matters. It’s possible to find research which supports both sides of the coin at this point when it comes to air travel, making it a potentially risky move.
Road trips, meanwhile, seem safer on the surface, as you can dictate exactly where you stop and can limit the sheer volume of people you’ll encounter. But public restrooms, restaurants, gas stations, and convenience stores still bring some risk into the equation. And unlike airlines, many of these places employ lax rules and regulations when it comes to timely and thorough cleaning of facilities.
Once again, you will need to plan ahead, assess the risks involved, and decide if it’s worth it for you and your family to make the trip.
- Obey the rules
Have open and honest conversations with your family members about where they’ve been, if they’ve been following protocol, and if they’ve felt any symptoms at any time. If everything looks clear and you decide to head to a family get-together, though, remember: The rules don’t go out the window once you’re together!
It’s still smart to wear your mask and to socially distance yourself when you can. If possible, holding the gathering in an outdoor space will also minimize risk. And while it may be tempting to give big, loving hugs to everyone, a fist bump, especially for older members of the family, may be more appropriate.
It certainly won’t be easy or convenient, but a holiday gathering might still be possible in 2020. It’s up to you to plan and to assess the risk!
Will you be gathering with family this holiday season? I’d love to hear any strategies you have for a safe holiday season. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!
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