Vacationer’s Guide to Staying Safe and Healthy

Oregon State University students are seeing the light at the end of a long road of remote Zoom classes during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here we have some tips on how to travel safely this summer so we can have a smooth transition back to in-person classes.

Summer break is on the horizon for many of us, if not already, and traveling might be in your vacation plans.

With the pandemic continuing to persist, here are some tips and guidelines you, your family and friends can follow if choosing to travel. Keeping this in mind can guarantee you all the fun while keeping yourself and others healthy.

Traveling long distances

For traveling longer distances, such as going cross country or overseas, the most ideal mode of transportation would be to fly. To stay safe when boarding your flight, there are a variety of things you can do.

If your final destination requires you to have a negative COVID-19 test, it’s important to come to the airport prepared with your results. Proof of vaccination is also good to keep on hand like your vaccine card or similar documentation, like a picture of your vaccine card or health care documents confirming your vaccination.

When getting to your airplane seat, make sure to sanitize the area, especially if you’ll be sitting there for a while. It’s also good to remember to keep your mask on when not eating or drinking and to double-mask for extra safety.

Traveling short distances

If you’re leaning towards a road trip or traveling to a location nearby, going by car is a great option and is safer than flying.

Driving allows less contact with people outside of your party and gives you more control in your journey. Packing your own drinks and snacks is a good tip to reduce the number of stops you’ll take along the way.

Traveling on a weekday will also allow you to avoid crowded public rest stops and other areas more effectively, instead of going on the weekend.

How to create your itinerary

When brainstorming what areas you plan to visit, it’s better to consider outdoor places and activities. The risk of infection is significantly lower in places where the air is flowing such as beaches, trails and parks. Outdoor activities can include going on a hike, having a picnic or going for a swim.

Doing some research to learn what the COVID-19 rates are like in that area is also useful before setting out. Travel Oregon provides current info on travel and tourism in Oregon, along with COVID-19 updates.

As rules have been loosening, it’s likely that you will be able to dine in at restaurants and even be in places with a high capacity of people. Staying safe can include dining outdoors if available and avoiding crowded areas to reduce contact with others. Being fully vaccinated decreases the risk, but it’s safer to be cautious about your surroundings and prevent yourself from lingering around busy spots.

Whether you’re staying at a hotel or a rental home, you can make your stay as comfortable and clean as you can by sanitizing. Disinfecting high-touch areas in this space such as door handles, TV remotes, tables and light switches are good to start with. Opening windows throughout the room or having quality air conditioning are both useful for ventilation, especially when staying with several people.

What to do before leaving

Packing may have been hard before, but now, you should also consider having enough room for sanitizing supplies. When packing for your trip, making space in your suitcase or bag for items like masks, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and face shields is important. When out for the day, it’s smart to keep an extra cloth or disposable mask secured in your purse or bag if you happen to lose or break yours. Hand sanitizer is also great to use after eating or touching something with germs, and wipes are useful to clean the surfaces you use.

Before leaving for your trip, it’s important to check the health conditions of yourself and those who will be accompanying you. Being wary of colds, fevers or flu-like symptoms is necessary to prevent the spread of infection wherever you may travel.

If you and your party are fully vaccinated, there is less risk of getting sick when out. Although that’s an advantage, it’s still best to stay safe by wearing masks in required places and keeping a distance from others.

Being on vacation is an exciting time to relax during this well-earned time off. Since traveling will likely be a big part of that, it’s best to try to keep yourself and those around you healthy. Remembering to wear a mask when necessary and staying germ-free will allow you to make the most out of your summer.