Tips for Safe, Smart Travel During Covid
Walking into 2020, I always had a packed suitcase ready at a moment’s notice to travel the world. Instead, I traveled from the kitchen to the living room and the bedroom on repeat. But after months of staying home, my soul needed a trip down the aisle…the airplane aisle that is. So, this past week I traveled to Mexico to see first-hand the health and safety measures that are being put in place as we begin to emerge and step into travel again.
Many of you are wondering, ‘is it safe to travel now?’. The truth is, it depends. With states and counties beginning the process of reopening, it's natural for people to still feel a bit apprehensive about travel. If we are all careful and sensible and practice physical distancing and abide by the rules, then it should be ok. Travel will boost local economies around the world, and is good for our mental health and wellbeing, especially after the long last several months.
Whether you’ve decided to get out of the country as soon as possible, or whether you’re still not sure if it’s a good idea, this post will help in going through my top tips for travelling healthy, safe and smart as you start planning travel post-quarantine.
PREPARING FOR THE TRIP
Your overall health and ability to fight off diseases while traveling depends on a well-fueled immune system, and that starts prior to your trip. When we travel our bodies endure a lot of stress, and stress can decrease your immune system, making you susceptible to illness. While there are no covid medications that can cure or prevent coronavirus, there are steps you can take to make your defenses as strong as possible.
For years, I’ve had my own healthy travel prep routine that has remained constant throughout my world travels. It includes a power pack boost of vitamin C, Zinc, vitamin E and echinacea to support, rejuvenate, and refresh my immune system. Activate is my go to yummy powder pack that I mix in water and take a few days prior to flying and even right before I board my flight. I’m also diligent about taking a daily probiotic and fiber too. Probiotics contain "good bacteria" that both support gut health and influence the function and regulation of the immune system. They also can decrease the number of respiratory infections. Note that all probiotics are NOT created equal and it’s important to find one that absorbs and works most efficiently in the body. One of my top recommends is florify from my favorite wellness store at my door that are clinically tested with a guaranteed 1 billion active cultures and a proprietary formula of vitamin E, zinc and maximum absorption. Plus, the price point is amazing too.
Pro Tip: Make sure that you start preparing at least 72 hours before your travel. This prep includes getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night before your trip and drinking lots of fluids.
Hand sanitizer is your new best friend. One-word GERMS. They are everywhere and preventative measures are a must. I love using my Clear Defense hand sanitizer and wipes without any harsh chemicals and it doesn’t feel like it dries out your hands or leaves them slimy. I also pack my Sol-u-guard wipes that are an EPA-registered botanical disinfectant that kills over 99.9% of common germs and fights against covid when used as directed. You can bet that I wipe down my seat and tray table on the plane.
My personal water bottle, lip balm, essential oils, and at least 2 masks for safety measures are always on hand. I also pack my first aid kit that contains throat lozenges, antiseptic ointment to apply to a wound, band-aids, and my roll on essential Armor oil for immunity defense. You never know when you or someone around you may start feeling unwell. Packing a travel-size bag with an assortment of vitamins, natural remedies and general medications can really be a lifesaver. Check out my other top tips for staying healthy while traveling here.
Why Pack These Items? Carrying a travel-sized sanitizer and some disinfecting wipes for commonly touched surfaces like doorknobs, handles, chairs, and buttons will go a long way in protecting you and your family. A reusable water bottle will ensure that you don’t come in extended contact with any external bodies that could have made its way through between production and retail.
Pro Tip: When finalizing your carry-on, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you’ll need for the airport and the airplane easily accessible, including your ID, passport, a change of clothes (lost bags happen), a pen for filling out entry forms and your self-care items too. The last thing you want to do is dig to the bottom of your bag, for your passport, at the check-in counter.
You can check out my ultimate packing travel checklist here. top hacks for packing your clothes and what items from your wardrobe to bring along here.
HEADING INTO THE WORLD
Wear a mask
As I went through the security line at the airport and scanned my boarding pass with TSA, there was a screened wall up to and masks worn by all TSA agents. Signs noted on the ground each 6 feet apart reminding us to practice social distancing. It was evident we’ve stepped up our safety game. It’s compulsory to wear a mask in many places now, and transport is included in this. You must wear a mask during flights. It’s one of the main ways, alongside hand-washing, to prevent the spread of the virus. It’s recommended that you change your mask every four hours if you need to wear it for a long time, so make sure you have enough masks with you to cover the journey to the airport, time in the airport before and after your flight, and during the flight.
Your accommodations may look different
Stepping out of the transfer into the resort, I was immediately greeted with hand sanitizer, a warm welcome and a smile (behind the face masks, of course). My luggage was quickly sprayed and wiped down before it was placed in the transfer. I was greeted at the resort with more hand sanitizer and another luggage wipe down while being escorted to the check-in desk. Temperature checks were taken at check-in and a safe clean seal was on the outside of my room to indicate the room had been safely sanitized at the beautiful Grand Moon Palace. Just one of 146 safety measures put in place for the Purely Palace protocols.
All staff were wearing masks inside and out throughout the resort. Barcodes were provided at every dining establishment so you could view a menu online vs. the paper menu.
And, of course, before you sat down at any location, the host greeted you with hand sanitizer. It’s a good idea to check with your accommodation provider what protocol and safety measures that are in place to contain the spread of the virus.
Allow for extra time and be prepared for cancellations
Be prepared for your plans to change at the last minute. Truth be told, flights and travel arrangements are changing on a daily basis. Heck sometimes within hours. For the latest updates on the COVID-19 situation, you can visit the official webpage of the WHO. Transport and accommodation may be cancelled at the last-minute if the rules on travelling during Covid-19 change, or if companies simply can’t afford to run that flight or open that hotel due to a low number of bookings. Lines may be longer due to extra checks taking place. Make sure you allow plenty of time (at least two hours) to get through the airport and security screening.
Take a deep breath
In times like this, I always say it’s a smart idea to get travel insurance for any travel to be protected during the unexpected. And please remember not to stress. High stress levels can certainly negatively impact your health, so it’s important to try to stay calm, whatever the situation. You can do breathing exercises anytime and anywhere. Take a deep breath, hold it, exhale, and repeat. Focusing on breathing and staying calm can help counter the stress and anxiety of traveling. It’s good for your overall immune system and keeps your blood pressure down too.
As we take health and safety measures to a new level with good hand-washing hygiene, avoiding touching our faces, wearing our masks and practicing social distancing, we can all do our part to help prevent the spread of this virus. As a traveler, you have a responsibility to protect not just yourself, but also the people around you. If you’ve planned the perfect adventure, it’s really important to contain the spread of the virus, and travelling with the virus is irresponsible. If you have or suspect you could have the virus, self-isolate for 14 days. There's no doubt that going on a vacation can have a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. But, the pandemic is far from over, and we must still be careful. But it appears our wanderlust can slowly be cured as we take the appropriate health and safety measures to travel during Covid-19.
Kindness is key
If I can reaffirm anything right now, it’s this. Please don’t judge people who are or aren’t travelling at the moment. Now more than ever, kindness is key. If you’ve chosen to travel during the pandemic, don’t judge people who aren’t ready yet, and if you don’t want to travel yet, don’t judge people that want to. You don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors or their reasons for (not) travelling.
As the world evolves and we adapt to this “new normal” there will always be new things to learn and adapt to. You can never be too prepared. When the timing is right for you to start traveling again, reach out, ask questions, do your research, and get out there and start seeing the world!
Cheers to new, safe adventures! And, as always, always empowering you to live well and travel often.