As you plan to travel for health care appointments, vacation or business, remember that cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the U.S. and around the world. Travel can increase your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Social distancing, mask wearing and frequent handwashing are key to preventing you from catching this virus.
Use these tips to be prepared and have a safe trip.
Don’t travel if you are feeling sick.
Watch for travel advisory updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Global Pandemic Notice, State Department international travel, Domestic travel as well as local travel restrictions for each area you plan to visit.
Select a vacation destination that has had a steady decline in COVID-19 hospitalization cases over at least the last two weeks. Some areas require COVID-19 testing before arrival or have quarantines in place. You will be expected to follow the local public health rules.
Take extra precautions if you travel to visit family and friends who are at a high risk for getting the disease.
Know if you will need to quarantine when you return.
Remember to pack medicines you and your family are currently taking, and bring enough for the duration of your trip and a little extra in case your trip is extended. Bring the original prescription bottle to make it easier if you need medical care away from home.
Bring your own supply of hand sanitizer (with 60 percent or higher alcohol).
Bring a cloth mask for every traveler. Wash it daily.
Be flexible with your time in case the health situation at your destination changes.
Consider travel insurance or making travel plans refundable in case of illness.
Most viruses and other germs do not live very long on airplanes due to the air circulation and filtering system. Bring antibacterial wipes to clean surfaces, your seat and surrounding areas. Have a small bottle of at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Wear your mask while in security lines, airport terminals and at all times during the flight except when eating and drinking,.
Check with officials who manage the beach for new regulations for COVID-19. Remember to wear masks when going to public eating areas, restroom and shower facilities. Bring your own soap and water or hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol) for frequent handwashing. Do not wear masks in the water.
Bus and train travel can make it challenging to stay six feet away from others. Wear a mask while riding.
Check with local, state and national park services, as some have been temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember to wear masks when going to public eating areas, restroom and shower facilities. Bring your own soap and water or hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol) for frequent handwashing. Make sure you have easy access to medical care.
On April 9, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention renewed the No Sail Order for cruise ships.
Ask how the hotel is taking steps to protect patrons from COVID-19.
Use “no contact” check-in and payment when possible.
Wear cloth mask in the lobby and other common areas.
Minimize using crowded areas such as patios, lounge and eating areas, game rooms, pools, hot tubs, saunas, spas, salons, fitness centers and break rooms, especially during busy times.
The CDC provided recommendations and checklists to help pools maintain healthy operations. Those recommendations include encouraging staff and patrons to wash hands frequently, to wear cloth masks when not in the pool and to stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for the virus. Pools are to post and share prevention information as well as have soap and water and hand sanitizer available for handwashing. Some pools may require reservations and may limit the number of people in the pool, so it’s good to ask about pool rules before you arrive.
Use masks and wash hands after being in public areas of RV parks, gas stations, stores and other public places. If possible, bring your own food to limit the need to go out in public for groceries or restaurant meals.
Wear a cloth mask in public and wash it daily.
Maintain at least six feet away from other people.
Pick up food via drive-through, curbside or delivery services.
Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer and rub until it is gone. Wash after using the bathroom; before eating and touching any part of your face; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
Only touch your eyes, nose and mouth with washed hands.
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow. Throw the tissue away promptly and wash your hands with soap and water.
Clean and disinfect surfaces, including airplane, bus and train seats.
Avoid people who are sick.
This information has been reviewed and approved by Carrie A. Horn, MD, Shannon H. Kasperbauer, MD, Jared J. Eddy, MD (July 2020)
Learn more about COVID-19 and how it affects specific health conditions in these printable patient education materials.
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