Skip to Content

NorthShore’s online source for timely health and wellness news, inspiring patient stories and tips to lead a healthy life.

Healthy You

Traveling? Stay Safe with These Travel Tips

Thursday, September 03, 2020 12:45 PM

By: Lauren McRae

Many of us are itching to travel. However, hitting the road increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Consider using the following link to identify states with a lower incidence of the disease as the best options for travel: Some nearby states have fewer cases than others.

Travel Labor Day

If you are exposed to the virus during your travels, it takes about two days after exposure to become sick. Upon returning, you may feel well and not have any symptoms, but if you are infected you can still spread it to others for 14 days after you become infected. This is especially important as you and your companions interact with others including your family (including children), friends and the community during the 14 days because you may unknowingly spread COVID-19 to them.

However, if you must travel this weekend, NorthShore’s Infection Prevention and Control team and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer these safety tips from packing to lodging.

What to Pack?
Bring plenty of extra soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, disinfecting wipes, face masks or shields (whichever you prefer) with you on your trip. Bring some laundry detergent to clean your cloth face masks and clothing regularly if you have access to a washer or dryer.

Pack food and water just in case restaurants, drive-thrus, or take-out options aren’t available. It’s always good to have extra snacks and drinks on hand so you can limit contact with others.

Bring enough medicine for the whole trip. Stock up at a pharmacy and call to see if there are drive-thru or curbside pickup options. 

Traveling by Car? 
While in the car, sanitize surfaces that are frequently touched like the steering wheel, door handles, gear stick, radio buttons – any hard surfaces just to be safe. When fueling up at a gas station, use disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces on gas pumps or use a paper towel to hold the gas pump.

Making any kind of pit stop along the way for food, gas, bathroom breaks can put you at risk of exposure to COVID-19, so make sure to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer every time before getting back into the car. 

Traveling by RV?
If you’re traveling by RV, thoroughly disinfect all hard surfaces before you head out. RV travel also means staying at RV parks overnight and getting gas and supplies at other public places. These stops may put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others.

Try and make your RV a “clean oasis.” Make it a travel rule that before entering the RV, everyone must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before entering. Set up a “hand sanitizing” station outside of the RV once you get to your campsite. 

Getting on a Plane?
Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on planes.

However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Wear a mask and avoid getting up unless it’s necessary. After visiting the washroom wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face mask, nose and mouth.

Try to eat or drink before you arrive at the airport and limit eating and drinking during your flight. It will require you to remove your face covering. If you will use the tray table, consider disinfecting it with a wipe before use. 

Visiting Hotels? 
Before you book a hotel, look into what kinds of safety protocols your lodging will offer. Many hotels have rolled out a slew of cleaning and safety protocols. Some hotels are using online check-in, conducting contactless room service delivery, daily room cleaning and require the use of face coverings in all indoor public places. Research before you book. 

Food Stops?
The safest option is to bring your own food. If you don’t bring your own food, use drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curbside pick-up options. 

Last Word? 
Don’t travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.