How to travel safer by air during COVID-19: 5 Easy Tips

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How to ravel safer by air during COVID-19:
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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dictate how we travel with its own set of rules that changed the travel industry forever.

After almost two years since the start of the pandemic the US recently opened its borders for foreign visitors. The move gave domestic and international airlines a glimpse of hope for recovery as more passengers now can make the trip across the pond.

But the more people travel the more mindful we need to be about our own health and the health of others. Here are my 5 easy tips on how to travel safer by air during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TIP 1: Learn about departure and entry requirements

Finding out about entry health requirements such as vaccine mandates and acceptable COVID tests is important before we even book a flight.

Domestic and international flights will have different rules about vaccination and acceptable COVID testing. For example, wile we still travel freely within the US, for a flight abroad will need to have proof of vaccination or negative PCR-test.

What’s more, knowing of current country wide COVID-19 restrictions at our final destination will determine whether or not we can travel at all? Thus, in planning a trip overseas check for travel advisories at intended destination on the U.S. Department of State website.

Local U.S. embassy websites are also excellent source of intimation. Visit the official list of embassies form the U.S. Department of State to find links то embassy website around the world.

TIP 2: Take into account flight duration

The flight duration and number of layovers matter. The longer a flight is the more time your face stays with a mask.

You have to wear a mask to board any commercial flight. Refuse to wear a mask, and you are out of the door. In fact, you have to put on your mask as soon as you set foot at the airport and keep it on for the duration of the entire journey. So stock up on your disposable masks.

If you wear a surgical mask, it’s commended that you change it every 4 hours. This recommendation comes from the WHO based on 2019 study. In reality you can wear the mask longer and change it only if the mask feels dirty, wet, or becomes damaged. Change a cloth mask also when it gets wet or dirty or you sense difficulty breathing through it.

Along with the mask have a hand sanitizer and wet wipes with at least 60% alcohol.

TIP 3: Practice good hygiene

Remember that usually when people cough or sneeze they spread droplets of saliva or mucus. And that is the perfect formula for spreading respiratory diseases like COVID-19. So the goal is to avoid coming into contact with the droplets by practicing good hygiene.

Do you know that viruses most frequently enter the body through your eyes, mouth, and nose? So avoid touching these areas with unsanitized hands.

Experts recommend a good wash for at least 20 seconds with hot water and soap to keep your hands free of germs. However, if not available, use a hand sanitizer or wet sanitizing wipes.

TIP 4: Understand the risks

Regardless of how much we try to stay protected, we need to understand there is no a 100% safe guarantee. Think about the time on-board when passengers are served food and drinks. Can they eat through their masks? Certainly, not. They have to remove their masks to consume their food and beverages. So when it happens everyone on-board is exposed to the risk of being infected with the virus.

Therefore, we should know to how to mitigate the risks. One way is to wear your mask at all times, and take it off only when you really need to.

The University of Edinburgh conducted a study in January of 2021 which suggests that “Face coverings can reduce COVID-19 transmission risk. Wearing a face mask or other covering over the mouth and nose reduces the forward distance traveled by an exhaled breath by more than 90%.”

Airlines also take steps to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 on-board. They have equipped their aircraft with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. The HEPA filters are said to remove 99.993% of bacteria and viruses.

New research cited by Bloomberg suggests that fully vaccinated people can still spread the Delta variant of the virus just like non-vaccinated.

TIP 5: Clean up your area

Airlines have stepped up their game and claim to clean thoroughly their passenger cabins. However, it doesn’t heart to just wipe the seat armrest, the tray table in front of you, the seat-back pocket, the seat touch screen, the headrest, and the window blind, if you sit by the window as soon as you take your seat on-board.

Wipe anything that you might come into contact at or near your seat. Do the best you can, of course. Don’t become overly couscous. Remember, there is no 100% guarantee.

Traveling by air was once fun and adventurous, but not anymore. If we are afraid of catching the bug we better not travel. However, following some basic routine every time we board an aircraft would make us safer and minimize the risk of getting infected.

Follow Ian Powers:

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Ian Powers is a travel blogger and nature enthusiast. Ian has over 20 years of aviation travel experience.

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