Considering canceling your dream vacation due to fear of being exposed to coronavirus? With thousands of cases of coronavirus—also known as Covid-19— throughout the world, it’s understandable that you’re concerned. However, you don’t necessarily need to panic.
Taking important safety measures is your best bet for protecting yourself. Whether you already have your trip booked or are being tempted by the suddenly much-more-affordable travel costs, consider these important statements from the World Health Organization:
- Coronavirus is spread by droplets, not airborne transmission—meaning that it is spread by coming into direct contact with these droplets through contact with the individual, touching affected surfaces, or having them land on you.
- WHO recommends staying 6 feet away from anyone who is sick.
- Following similar preventive measures as you would with the flu is the best way to protect yourself against coronavirus.
- Unless you really need to get to a destination, you should seriously consider cancelling your travel plans.
While they’re not saying you don’t need to be cautious or concerned about coronavirus, they’re encouraging you to be proactive and realistic about your risk of catching coronavirus.
So how can you make sure that you stay healthy while traveling during the age of coronavirus? The first thing is to be careful where you get your recommendations from—there’s been an uptick in poorly informed prevention advice. For example, there’s a misconception that taking more vitamins can prevent coronavirus. While vitamins and supplements can boost certain aspects of your health, they’re not a proven prevention method for the virus.
So how do you know what advice to follow and what to avoid? We’ve read through some of the most important health recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Worldwide Health Organization, and Harvard Health, to help you stay healthy no matter where you’re headed. Here are a few key tips you should follow:
1. Wash Your Hands (Correctly & Often)
Washing your hands is a critical part of preventing the spread of illness, but it’s not just as simple as running your hands under water with a little soap—you must wash your hands correctly in order for it to be an effective health measure. When it comes to proper hand-washing, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Use soap and water
- If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol)
- Wash for at least 20 seconds
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them
Not sure which events require you to wash your hands? Surprising more than you might think! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here are some of the most crucial times to wash your hands to prevent the spread of coronavirus:
- Before eating
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- After using the bathroom
- After touching an animal
- After caring for someone who is sick
2. Wipe Down Your Belongings
Anything that you take out into public or purchase should be thoroughly wiped down to help prevent you from being exposed to droplets that may be on the surface. However, it’s important to note that the virus can only survive for up to about 30 minutes on an inanimate object.
3. Avoid Touching Your Face
As many of us know, viruses can be spread by touching someone or something that’s contaminated and then touching our face. In addition to washing your hands frequently, you should try your hardest to avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
4. Add a Medical Policy to Travel Insurance
While it won’t be as comprehensive as your healthcare back home, having a medical policy can help you ensure that you get the care you need, should you become sick while traveling. Some travel insurance plans already come with emergency medical coverage, others offer separate medical policies. If you don’t have travel insurance you should look into getting a policy before you take off.
5. Bring Backup Supplies
If you do happen to get stuck somewhere for an extended period of time, or worse quarantined, you’ll be thankful that you had backup provisions. The most important things to stock up on include:
- Any prescriptions (about 30 days worth)
- Food and water
- Antibacterial wipes and sprays (these may not be readily available due to shortages)
While they’re not essential for your health, you should also ensure that you bring anything you’ll need for work or your tech to ensure your life stays on track.
Preparing for Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak FAQs
To help you prepare for your trip, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about traveling during the coronavirus outbreak:
Do I need to cancel my trip?
It’s highly recommended that you do not travel unless absolutely necessary. Because many countries have lockdown policies in place, you should research what the gravity of the situation is in that area. Additionally, check with your airline to see if the flight has been changed, cancelled, or if you’ve been rebooked. Almost all airlines are giving either full refunds or flight vouchers for cancelled flights due to coronavirus.
If you do need to travel to get to family members, make sure you take these above precautions and consider how your destination will impact your ability to receive care if you do become sick. For example, is the place you’re going somewhere you’d have access to quality medical care?
Do I Need to Wear a Face Mask?
According to the World Health Organization, you should consider wearing a mask when out and about as a precautionary measure. As more information continually comes out about coronavirus, the more the public is learning risks.
Wearing a mask while making your necessary travels is a great way to protect yourself from germs in the airport, airplane, or any other place that recycles air. Ultimately, it’s up to you, but following the WHO recommendations is always best.
Should I Avoid Busy Places?
Staying out of crowded places where there are possibly infected people can help lower your risk of contracting the virus. However, avoiding public places is virtually impossible when traveling, so the most important thing to do is take the above precautions to help you stay healthy.
Still have some questions about staying healthy during your upcoming trip? Speak to a travel advisor if they can provide you with any specific tips or insights for traveling to a specific region. Preparedness will be key in protecting your health.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is the managing editor for 365businesstips.com as well as runs a personal blog, sjruppy.com. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.