As I have said before, it’s not the time to try and travel everywhere, but a time if you must travel, to select options that reduce the risk to you and others.
I recently took my first plane ride since October 2019 last week and it was actually really uneventful. With the new government mandates on masking, the majority of people were complying with mandates. Some better than others, as you see often. For the most part I was able to stay at least 6 feet (much more at times) away from the maskers with lax rules and enjoy my time without incident. Airline attendants were on top of the masks on planes and really good about reminding people to cover up between bites of food and drinks.
To feel more secure, I got a few N95 (the Chinese version) masks to wear on the outbound and return. This gave me more comfort in not likely being able to spread to others and not catch Covid-19 or any other nasty germs. Every flight was under capacity and Delta is STILL allowing extra seats open when available. It felt about as safe, or safer, than going to the grocery store or Costco on a busy day (things I try to avoid). While it is still not completely safe, I feel that the measures in place do increase safety and reduce risk to everyone. Overall, I think that I might start wearing a mask every time I fly.
If you want to increase your fabric mask’s safety, wear a disposable mask underneath it (as recommended by the CDC). This is also good if you can’t buy N-95 masks which there is still a shortage of (a friend was gracious enough to share some of hers).
Here are some other things you can do to keep yourself safer.
- Use the wet wipes the airlines gives you, to wipe down your seats, tray table, consoles, and hands.
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
- Book with Delta who is keeping middle seats open (until April 2021).
- Book direct flights as you can.
- Sit away from others at airports.
- Try to reduce time sitting around waiting for the plane by maybe arriving later than usual, checking if you can use the VeriFly App, and only taking carry-ons.
- Only travel with people from your immediate household.
As probably one of the least dangerous things you can do, car rentals allow you to avoid public transportation, and stay in a bubble of just your people. If say two families/households are traveling together consider getting two cars (as well as rooms), to avoid contact and contamination with each other.
An added benefit of cars for transportation is that you have the option to “drive thru” which is one of the lowest contact methods for food, drink etc. This avoids visiting small eateries and human interaction. While I am not a big fast food person, I do a love a good Dutch Brothers, especially when I am on the move.
Testing Before Travel
I opted to get tested for Covid-19 before we left for our trip. Testing is not a full proof way to “guarantee” you are clean or not contagious by the time you get somewhere, but it is a way to catch infections. I tested 48 hours before departure and had my results 24 hours before we left. There was no cost for the test through my insurance and I was able to schedule a drive-thru appointment the day I wanted to test. It was a painless process that brought me peace of mind, especially when visiting a family member.
Limit Your Bubble
It may feel tempting to go to a big family get together if you haven’t seen people in the last year or years(s) but it’s not quite the time to do that. I dreamed of a big 30th birthday, like many people, but opted to stay in the woods instead. I was around two people outside of my home for more than a little while or outside the entire week we were gone. I made sure everyone consented to the interaction, and we kept some space as we could when inside. This means that if someone did end up sick, and got someone else sick, we could limit or stop it spreading further because the group was tiny.
Again, this is not a guarantee, but it does help you reduce community spread and issues.
Dining? Only Outside?
I have generally only eaten outside during the pandemic with a few exceptions. The exceptions are when places are tiny and we are the only people there. When I am out of my state, outside is a must! On our recent trip we got takeaway everywhere we went and either ate in a park or at our cabin. The only places we sat for food and drinks was at a few wineries where everything was distanced and outside. It’s not a guarantee for safety, but it greatly reduces the risk posed to ourselves and others. ALSO when you are in a comfortable climate, why not enjoy the outdoors? Why not have a glass of wine, listen to the birds, and overlook a winery? This is a habit I want to adopt more, even when it’s a little cold, or warmer than my ideal.
Outside is a theme here. The only “things we did” were outside. We hiked, we sat at parks, we drove scenic roads, we walked around the beach. Outside, outside. outside. In fact we changed from our original destination because it would have mostly been inside, which meant more risk to ourselves and others. The major benefit of being in the off season and outside, is that hardly anyone else was on the trails or where we wanted to be. That was nothing short of divine!
Returning Home Isolation
I have limited seeing friends throughout the pandemic, and even more so when I have been around people or gone out of town. I generally take at least a week to avoid others which reduces risk to those around me. Sometimes I’ll wait two weeks if someone shows symptoms that I have seen, even briefly. To be honest, I don’t plan many get togethers unless we can be outsides, especially for those that are higher risk. So far, this has served us well.
Ready for more?