Summer travel is returning after more than one year of quarantine. Most people are ready to escape their homes and travel to a new and exciting destination, be it the Grand Canyon or The Colosseum. Fortunately, many countries continue to open their boarders to U.S. citizens, and travel within the U.S. is getting easier. As more Americans continue to get COVID-19 vaccines, travel is a lot safer than it has been since the beginning of the pandemic.
If you are fully vaccinated, traveling isn’t as big of a risk as it was pre-vaccination. Unfortunately, the vaccine is not an immunity shield that will protect you against everything you encounter. It’s still your responsibility to take some precautions to keep yourself and others healthy and safe. The good news is that it’s much safer to travel now than it was before. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) stated that vaccinated individuals can safely travel within the United States.
If you plan on traveling or getting away this summer, the following tips can keep you healthy, safe, and happy. Enjoy the summer and wherever you visit!
Be Prepared To Prove Your Vaccination Status
According to a recent report, it’s not a HIPAA violation for businesses or people to ask about your vaccination status. Travelers who are fully vaccinated may need to provide proof of vaccination. This applies for both domestic and international travels, but it will ultimately depend on your destination. Make sure to keep your vaccine card with you while you travel.
Assess COVID-19 Rates Where You’re Going
When you decide on a destination, it’s important to consider the COVID-19 infection rate. Some places have higher numbers than others and some places have lower vaccination rates. It’s very easy to look up the state’s public health department’s information online and assess the risk by looking at the color-coded map.
Keep That Sanitizer On Hand
It’s tempting to toss your stash of sanitizer, but don’t do it just yet, especially if you decide to travel over summer. Taking an airport shuttle, flying in an airplane, grabbing door handles or handrails at attractions you visit call for sanitation. You don’t have to sanitize every ten minutes, but keeping clean hands is one way to keep yourself safe. Make sure that sanitizers contain at least 60% alcohol. You can also wash your hands with soap and water when available.
Don’t Sacrifice Sleep
There tends to be two types of travelers: those who want to sleep as much as possible, and those who want to do as much as possible. Health experts advise that you should not neglect sleep when you travel. Sleep deprivation can lead to poor immune function and body recovery, which increases your chances of getting sick. If you plan on taking a road trip this summer, make sure to get that sleep. Driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving drunk.
Take Tests If Necessary
Some countries, which recently opened borders to U.S. citizens, still require negative COVID-19 tests taken within 72 hours of departure. If you show up to an international departure without this test, they may not allow you to travel. Keep in mind that travelers arriving back to the U.S. from international destinations have to show a negative COVID-19 test. Always check travel restrictions or requirements for wherever you travel.
Consider Private Accommodations
If you normally stay in hostels, hotels or resorts when you travel, you may want to try something different. Limiting contact or interactions with others in those environments may be the perfect way to ease back in to safe travels. Consider booking a small apartment, guest house, or home as a safer and more private accommodation. There are many apps and sites that can help you book these stays.
Be Smart About Activities
Many activities are safe, especially if you are vaccinated or outdoors. COVID-19 rates continue to decline in the U.S., but this is not the case in certain countries, where vaccination rates are very low. Depending on your destination, you may need to exercise higher safety measures. You may want to do certain activities while on vacation that are not so safe right now. Going out to bars, concerts, karaoke cafes, or other crowded indoor spaces comes with increased risk of COVID-19 exposure. Your odds of getting sick are always much lower if you are outside. By the way, there’s no shame in wearing a mask even if mask mandates end. Do what is necessary to feel comfortable and safe.
While traveling may come with risks you never considered before, it’s still important to have fun. It may take a full day or so to relax and feel comfortable at your travel destination, but that’s completely normal. Enjoy your travels, especially if you received the vaccine. Be smart and careful, but make sure to embrace the culture, city, or place you visit.