Posted On: August 27st, 2020 Author: Renee Ciaramella
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Uncertainty is inevitable during any pandemic, and safety is top of mind. Viruses can spread quickly and easily, which means maintaining precautions is crucial for both your well-being and the well-being of others. Traveling then becomes a cause for concern, and understandably, pandemic travel restrictions are put in place for all travelers.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that staying home is the best way to stay safe and prevent the spread of a virus. But if you don’t have the option to stay home and need to travel, the CDC suggests first asking yourself the following questions to determine whether the risk of travel is worth it:
- Is the virus contained at your destination, or is it spreading?
- Are you currently feeling ill?
- Are you or someone you live with at a higher risk of getting very sick from the virus?
- What are the requirements or restrictions — if any — for travelers at your destination?
Traveling during a pandemic may not be the best or the most fun, but sometimes it is inevitable and necessary. Should you need to travel within the U.S. or abroad during the coronavirus disease outbreak, it’s a good idea to understand how to best take care of yourself while also protecting others.
Tips for Flying During a Pandemic
Health and travel officials will provide guidelines to stay safe while traveling during a pandemic. For example, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) outlined the best practices for traveling during the novel coronavirus — also known as COVID-19. The COVID-19 travel restrictions were established for the coronavirus pandemic, but many of these tips can be applied to a global spread of any virus.
Practice Good Hygiene
One of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of a virus is to practice exceptional personal hygiene. This includes washing hands frequently and properly with soap and water. Airports are often filled with hundreds of people from all over the world, so the chances of infection become higher simply because of the number of people who pass through.
Bring along some disinfectant wipes in your carry-on luggage as well, so you can disinfect anything you touch, such as armrests or buttons, both on and off the plane. Hand sanitizer is a good idea to have with you, too, since it can kill germs on your hands after you’ve touched a surface.
You’ll also want to avoid touching your face, especially your nose, eyes and mouth.
Wear a Mask
One of the many coronavirus travel restrictions include people being denied service unless they wear a mask. Contrary to many people’s belief, wearing a cloth or surgical mask is an easy and effective way to protect yourself and others from potential exposure to the virus. Masks can prevent your potential germs from spreading, which keeps others safe — and, of course, they protect you from inhaling germs from others.
In normal circumstances, masks wouldn’t be allowed during TSA screening since they cover the face. However, the TSA has made an exception. Travelers can wear a mask currently, but the TSA reserves the right to request to see a person’s full face if needed.
You also should consider your destination’s guidelines and travel restrictions when deciding whether to wear a mask. Even if you’re flying within the U.S., each state may have different regulations and, as a traveler to that state, you are required to abide by those rules. Even for citizens, U.S. travel restrictions must be acknowledged and adhered to — and wearing a mask in public is mandatory in many places.
It may seem counterproductive to avoid crowds in airports, which are notorious for their crowdedness. A pandemic, however, usually results in far fewer travelers, making maintaining a safe distance that much easier. The recommendation from health officials is to stay at least 6 feet from others, but there are other ways to maintain your distance, like:
- Avoid browsing airport shops.
- Find a seat to wait for your flight that’s far enough away from others.
- Walk a bit slower to ensure you keep a good distance between you and those ahead of you.
- Stay seated on the plane since walking through the aisles forces you and come in close proximity of others, putting both yourself and them at risk.
If you’re able to, try to fly alone. It’s easier to keep your distance when you only have to worry about yourself.
Ideally, you’ll spend very little time at the airport itself, and the best way to do that is to prepare ahead of time. Some ways to accomplish this include:
- Doing your research: Does your destination require you to stay in quarantine after traveling? Are there any international travel restrictions to consider? These are just some of the questions you’ll need to get answers to before you start your travels. The last thing you want is to buy your ticket, book your hotel and arrive at the airport or your destination only to be refused entry because you failed to account for some regulation. Ensuring all your identifications and documents are up to date and in order is another way to prevent spending extra time at the airport. Researching and following CDC travel guidelines, your airline’s official site or contacting your departure airport are good places to start.
- Checking-in online: One of the perks of modern technology is that you can save time and paper by checking into your flight online. This means you don’t have to arrive at the airport hours ahead of time, and you also don’t have to risk unnecessary interactions with staff or touching the check-in machines at the airport. While some airlines give you the option to print your boarding pass at home, many also offer the option of an electronic boarding pass, which is saved to your smartphone. If you’re able to, take advantage of this option to eliminate even more contact.
- Putting everything into carry-on bags: Another way to avoid unnecessary contact is to empty your pockets and put all items into your carry-on bag. That way, you can reduce the number of bins you need — and have to touch — when you go through security.
- Eating before getting to the airport: Depending on when your flight is, you may need to have a meal before you get on the plane. If you can, eat at home before you head to the airport. Airport restaurants and bars tend to be smaller and more crowded than others, so it’s better to avoid them. Even if you bring food with you to the airport, you would need to remove your mask and bring your hands to your face.
- Listening to flight attendants: No matter how often you fly, flight attendants will always know more than you will about airline rules and regulations, which includes requirements for passengers during a pandemic. It’s always wise to do what flight attendants and airline staff recommend. After all, they’re knowledgable professionals who only have everyone’s safety and well-being in mind.
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Traveling during a pandemic doesn’t need to be stressful, especially with Park Shuttle & Fly’s free long-term parking options, free shuttle to your terminal at Logan International and car detailing options. Simply park your vehicle in our secure lots and take advantage of the shuttle to your terminal to seamlessly go from street to air.
Make a reservation online today and take the parking hassle out of your next trip.