By now you should all be able to repeat the basics with me. On the count of three:
Wash your hands often.
Refrain from touching your face.
If you are sick stay home.
Cover your cough and sneeze.
Avoid sick people.
You can see the full list from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) advice here.
But what to do about travel? It is a personal decision based on experience and individual concerns. The spread of COVID-19 also creates a fluid situation where even those who intend to continue with travel plans need to follow developments and news.
At Untours, we are working to share information and track facts and conditions on the ground with European staff. Our clients’ health and safety is of the utmost concern for us.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has said that in general, travel and trade restrictions are not helpful in containing an outbreak. Here is their latest advice.
So if you are traveling in the next few months, whether with Untours or on your own, to Europe or cross country, what should you consider? And how can you stay healthy? Here is some practical advice.
Packing and pre-trip
Pack hand sanitizer and antiseptic wipes. I know, these supplies are selling out! If you can’t find travel sizes in store, use travel containers to hold hand sanitizer and keep antiseptic wipes in a sandwich bag. Tissues and rubbing alcohol are useful as well.
Be sure you have details of your travel insurance policies with you, along with the proper phone numbers and contact information to use when overseas.
Understand your medical coverage and benefits, whether they are through trip insurance or your own personal health insurance plan.
Pack extra medication and other essentials, in case your flight home is disrupted or delayed due to quarantines or cancellations.
On planes and trains
Use antiseptic wipes to clean all surfaces around you: tray table, arm rests, window wells, seatback pockets, etc.
Take a window seat if you can, as you will have less exposure to other travelers on the plane, moving through the aisles.
Get up as little as possible during your flight or rail journey, to avoid other people and their germs.
Use the overhead vent fan on planes, especially before you are airborne, to circulate the air around you.
Avoid the restrooms on board if you can. If you do use them, wash your hands after and sanitize your hands when you are back in your seat.
On the ground
Wipe down your cell phones and tablets daily with a disinfectant wipe.
Always wash your hands before eating, even in restaurants and on the go. In a pinch, use hand sanitizer.
Be prepared for the possibility of closures or revised policies like visitor number caps at museums and other potentially crowded popular places. Check websites on the morning of your planned visit.
Aim to visit monuments, churches, and museums at off-peak hours to avoid crowds. You will have a more pleasant visit even without health considerations!
Air your apartment or hotel room at least once a day by opening windows.
Practice self care on the road. When we get rundown or overextended, our immunity dips. Stay hydrated, eat well and regularly, and build in some down time. Be sure you are sleeping enough.
In our hearts
We are in the midst of a dramatic global health crisis. At Untours, even as we scramble with travel logistics and news and rebookings, we are mindful of all those on the front lines: the sick and the brave, skilled healthcare workers who care for them.
Beyond the illness, there is a second ring of impact. Livelihoods and entire industries are in peril. Try to keep things in perspective, even if your trip plans are disrupted.
And remember this disease is global. It does not discriminate or profile, and neither should we. The fear and stigma are real, but we are in this together.
Have your own tips for safe and healthy travel? Please share them in comments!