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November 7, 2020

Pro Tips: How to Stay Safe While Traveling in the World of COVID-19

Holiday planning this year presents some unique challenges due to concerns about the pandemic and doing our best to keep our families safe.  The decision to travel this year is a very personal choice. Only you can decide what is best for your family and your situation. However, if you do decide that you’re ready to hit the road, I have some tips to help you travel as safely as possible.

Take a road trip to your destination.

Driving to your destination is relatively safe if you are driving your own vehicle. If you are renting a vehicle be sure to ask the rental company about their safety and sanitization measures. Sanitize the vehicle with disinfectant spray and wipes. Use gloves and wear a mask at gas stations.  If you stop to use the restroom, use disposable paper napkins to protect your fingers when you touch any surface. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer.

Choose a hotel or vacation rental with good safety measures.

Call or check the website of any property prior to booking to be sure the sanitization and safety measures are enough for your level of comfort. If you are driving to a destination, you can also bring your own pillows, linens and towels as an extra measure of precaution.

I recently stayed at the Westin Tampa Waterside as part of a partnership with Visit Florida, and I was impressed with their safety measures. This four-star hotel provided safety measures like:

  • Signs and labels on the ground to encourage social distancing
  • Plexiglass at the reservation desk
  • Self-cleaning elevator buttons using nanotech
  • Masks required in common areas and elevators
  • TV remote in the room sealed with a plastic cover that is replaced for every guest
  • Policy that prohibits hotel staff from entering the room while guests are present

If a vacation rental is your preferred accommodation, many of those are taking great strides to create a safe environment as well. Escape Casey Key Resort in Nokomis was my home away from home for a recent road trip. Their safety protocols are excellent and include:

  • Masks worn by all staff
  • A no-contact rule between staff and guests
  • Consistent and very regular cleaning of public surfaces
  • Rooms treated with electrostatic disinfecting spray (the same method used by the Marriott and Hyatt hotel chains)
  • Hand sanitizer available throughout public areas
  • Separate exterior entry to each unit
  • HEPA MERV 13 air filters used in AC Systems (the same filters that used in most hospitals)
  • Employee temperatures taken at the beginning of each work day

Sanitize Your Space

I was already a germaphobe so bringing cleaning supplies is my norm. If you didn’t already sanitize your space when traveling, consider bringing gloves, disinfectant wipes and spray, and cleaning every single surface that anyone may touch. It is time consuming but worth it for your peace of mind and health of your family.

Stay safe during your flight

If driving is not an option and you must fly, wear a visor or eye covering with a mask during the flight. When you go through airport security, bag your belongings that will go on the belt and touch other surfaces, then dispose of those bags afterward. Wear a covering over your socks like paper shoe covers. Pack seat covers and wipe down all surfaces of your space. Also, place any carry-ons that you will place on the floor in a plastic bag that can be disposed of after the flight.

Related: Flying During a Pandemic: What to expect when flying out of TPA

Practice general health and safety advice

If you choose to travel during this time, be sure to check the guidelines and quarantine mandates of your destination beforehand. If you can, get tested for COVID-19 within a week to 72 hours of the trip to ensure you will not get anyone else sick at your destination or during your travels.  Wear masks in public spaces at the destination, practice social distancing and avoid large crowds. Outdoor eating is safer than dining inside and of course, take-out is always still the safest option for eating out.

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