One of the biggest questions we face these days, especially as the holidays approach is “Is it safe to travel”? Given the increase in passenger count on airlines per TSA statistics, it appears at least that there is greater confidence in traveling. Airlines, hotels, cruise lines, attractions and ground transportation providers have made significant strides in assuring their customers that their cleaning and sanitizing protocols are making it safer than ever before to travel.
That said, there are still practical tips and precautions to take prior to and while traveling. So when you ask “Is it safe to travel?”, keep these tips in mind:
Wash Your Hands & Use Hand Sanitizer
Can this be emphasized enough? Without a doubt, the single most important thing we can all do is more frequently wash our hands (for at least 20 seconds) and avoid touching our face. When traveling, think about this more than ever. And don’t forget your hand sanitizer! TSA is currently allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces per passenger on board flights (check TSA.gov for the latest updates). All other restrictions on liquids remain the same.
Bring Disinfectant Wipes, Gloves, etc.
Whether individually wrapped or in a large container, don’t forget your disinfectant wipes. Even though airlines are doing extensive cleaning, it is better to extra cautious and wipe down your own seat, armrests and tray. Having disposable gloves is another good idea for extra protection. You might consider bringing some plastic kitchen bags to use as liners in the plastic bins at the airport to minimize cross contamination.
Wear The Appropriate Mask
When on a flight, the best option for masks to protect from viral spread are likely N95 or surgical vs. home made cloth masks. And remember many airlines have banned the use of masks with vents. For added protection, consider using face shields or goggles. Carry plenty of spares in a sealed zip lock baggie or other protective carrier. Keep clean spare masks in your carry-on and checked bag. Initially masks were in short supply but nowadays, it is fairly easy to pick up a box of surgical masks at the grocery store, or one of the big box stores like Walmart or Costco.
Practice Social Distancing & Consider Boarding Last
As airports gets busier, you should be extra diligent with social distancing once at the airport. And with many flights still at reduced capacity, you may want to consider being among the last to board. That way you won’t be sitting on the plane with dozens of passengers standing next to you or walking past you. If you are still concerned with close contact with other travelers, consider flying during off-peak times. When considering whether it is safe to travel, be aware what you can do to protect yourself.
Choose Your Airlines Wisely
Many but not all airlines are blocking the center seat. Check here for the latest information on the seating policies for all airlines, or contact your airline directly. Direct flights are hard to come by these days, but book as early as possible to raise your chances of getting a seat on a direct connection Also make sure you know their current change and cancellation policies.
Prepare In Advance for Contact-Free
First of all, be sure you know what items you cannot bring onboard a plane and avoid carrying them. Again, TSA.gov is your best, up to date resource. Take everything out of your pockets and store in your carry-on. This again, makes check-in go smoother and minimizes unnecessary physical contact. If you are bringing food on board, seal up in a clear plastic bag and take out of your carry-on so it is screened faster. The last thing you want is to have your bag searched for prohibited items.
Scan Your Boarding Pass
Scanning your paper or digital boarding on your phone pass alleviates one additional touch point. Hold it up to your TSA officer to inspect it. Keep your paper or digital pass handy if needed though. Download your airlines mobile app. Make sure everyone in your party traveling with you has also scanned their boarding pass.
Good Health Practices
With winter weather and flu season upon us, good health and nutrition practices are a must. Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, avoid processed foods and do a little physical exercise daily if possible. Even stretching and breathing exercises are better than nothing. Eat a healthy meal prior to flying. Weather permitting, get regular fresh air. If you sit a lot, try to get up and move around every 30 minutes or so. Much has been said about the benefits of certain supplements and vitamins to strengthen your immune system, such as zinc, vitamin D and C. Always check with your medical practitioner on best practices for your individual situation.
More Airports to Add COVID-19 Testing
As recently reported, more airports will be adding COVID-19 testing to their safety protocols. This is already happening at several international airports. Only a handful of U.S. domestic airports are implementing this testing, but the travel industry is pushing hard for the U.S. government to work toward the establishing globally accepted protocols for COVID-19 testing for international air travel.
Use Safe, Professional Ground Transportation
Whether traveling for business, vacation or visiting family, a chauffeured car service can provide added convenience, safety and peace of mind. Driving yourself, your significant other, friends or family to and from the airport can just add stress to the travel experience. And taking a rideshare or taxi isn’t much better. A professional limousine service has a vested interest in providing an exceptional experience for your ride. Chauffeurs will be professionally uniformed, trained and wearing masks. The vehicles are cleaned and sanitized before and after every ride. Additional sanitization treatments are performed regularly with misting and electrostatic sprayers. There are a variety of fleet options to consider depending on your preferences and group size. At Overland, we have summarized our COVID-19 Safety Protocols on our website.
So when preparing for your next journey and asking yourself, “Is it safe to travel”, keep these important tips in mind. Safe travel is possible with the proper planning and awareness. Overland Chauffeured Services has implemented extensive safety protocols since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide our clients with the most peace of mind. Give us a call at 913-381-3504, contact us by email or book your airport transportationonline or via our mobile app.