With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) still a serious threat throughout the nation, our holidays might look a little different this year.
After all, the fall and winter holidays we know and love are primarily held indoors where the virus is more easily spread from person to person.
The entire reason that flu numbers increase and fevers spike to 105 degrees is because we’re spending more time clustered indoors with other people.
Many people are already concerned over the threat that in-person learning will have on our nation’s youth, but the holidays offer new challenges that most people aren’t prepared for.
This is especially concerning when it comes to holiday travel.
More than 55 million people traveled for Thanksgiving last year and similar numbers can result in serious issues in terms of the pandemic spreading.
The three major factors that contribute to the coronavirus’ spread is gatherings of large groups indoors, lots of eating, and, of course, traveling.
It’s recommended that you should only spend Thanksgiving (and other holidays) in small groups, preferably in your immediate family or household.
This will help limit the amount of contact you have with other people and prevent others from getting sick.
If you do eat, there’s no shame in sitting six feet across from someone else or choosing to video chat with other family members instead.
“[The holidays are] important for mental health, it’s part of life and enjoying life,” explains Sandra Albrecht, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University.
“We want to make sure that people are able to enjoy the holidays, but safely so that we’re not contributing to [the] transmission of COVID.”
Unfortunately, people will still want to travel for Thanksgiving.
This is because it’s one of the few excuses that people have to see distant members of their family.
Keep in mind that traveling to and from certain states demand a self-quarantine of two weeks, so be sure to plan for this if you do choose to travel.
That being said, here are some of the best ways you can achieve safe travel when you leave your home for the holidays this year:
Limit pitstops and drive safely
When you’re traveling in your own car, the likelihood of catching COVID-19 is slim.
The real issues regarding safe travel arise when you make pitstops.
As such, you should limit your travel as much as you can since you’re more likely to contract the illness when you travel for long distances.
Potty breaks, stopping for snacks, and eating at restaurants all increase the likelihood that you’ll come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Wearing a mask and bringing plenty of hand sanitizer can help protect you, but limiting the number of times you have to get out of the car is key.
Pack your bags full of healthy snacks to avoid making frequent stops.
This is one of the best ways you can practice safe travel.
You should also fill up your gas tank to the brim every time in order to limit your stops at the gas station along the way.
When it comes to holiday travel, getting into accidents is another ever-present fear.
Did you know that more than 15.5 million trucks operate in the United States alone?
On top of that, over two million of that number consists of big rigs.
If you’re a nervous driver, practice driving on the highway before you leave.
This can help you get used to navigating between big trucks. If you’re the cause of an accident, the last thing you want to do is pay bail to make it to holiday dinner.
Buy your plane tickets sooner than later
This is a helpful tip whenever the holidays come around, but this is especially important this year.
Many airlines are limiting the number of passengers allowed on the plane to reduce the virus’ risk of spreading.
Getting your ticket sooner than later will ensure that you’re able to take that paid time off to visit family. Just be sure you’re traveling to a state with no restrictions on travel before you book.
Booking early will also help you save some money. Studies have shown that airfare prices are lower this year than years’ previously.
If you book as many as 60 days early, you could save some major coins when it comes to long-distance traveling.
Research your car rentals
Renting a car is necessary if you’re traveling by train or plane. But before you settle for any old car rental company, be sure to do your research about safe travel tips this year.
Since just about anyone can rent a car, you’ll need to ensure that the rental company cleans each vehicle thoroughly.
Research the websites available to see if they’re following safety protocols in line with COVID-19 health concerns.
If a company has limited information regarding its safety practices, you’re better off going with another car rental company.
Safe travel tips
Traveling for the holidays is going to look just as different as the holidays themselves. When you want to stay safer this year, rely on these tips to protect your health.