Social distancing has given people the opportunity to embrace their inner introvert. So if you’ve spent most of your free time during the pandemic relaxing on your couch with your hair in a bun, you’re not alone. But now that the vaccines are out, it’s time to pack your luggage and carry on bags and start enjoying the things you’ve missed out on for the past couple of years.
Let’s talk holiday trips; whether it be or .
Your first thought might be some uncertainty mixed in with the excitement. After all, the world is still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. So, what should you bring? Are there any extra steps you need to take to fly right now considering the Coronavirus? We’ll cover all that and more in our guide on how to travel safely during Covid.
First Question: Should I Travel During The Covid-19 Pandemic?
Now that Covid-19 vaccines are available, it’s a lot easier and safer to live your life as a traveler again. That means, you can officially start planning your winter getaways, ditch the sweatpants and messy ponytail, and plan a fun holiday trip instead!
If you’re fully vaccinated—which happens two weeks after either your second shot of Pfizer or Moderna or your first shot of Johnson & Johnson—you’ll have an easy time traveling this holiday season.1 For both domestic and international travel, all you need to do is be mindful of your airline’s guidelines for flying and follow any Coronavirus requirements they might have.
If you’re not fully vaccinated, flying is still an option, but things get a little more tricky. You can still travel as long as you:2
- Take a Covid-19 test one to three days before your trip
- Wear a face mask and distance while you travel
- Take another Covid-19 test three to five days after you get back, and self-isolate.
- Monitor your Covid-19 symptoms the whole time
Regardless of your Covid-19 vaccination status, you can travel during the pandemic, but be aware that some destinations may still require on arrival. You also might have to take some extra steps or experience additional travel restrictions if you haven’t gotten or completed your Covid-19 vaccinations yet.
How Can I Stay Safe While Traveling During The Pandemic?
Now that you know travel plans are possible, you’re probably wondering: what’s the safest way to travel during Covid?
To lessen your risk and travel safely, follow these six holiday travel tips.
#1 Wear a Mask
This one might seem obvious, but it’s one of the best and easiest ways to keep yourself safe. Wearing a face covering indoors and in flight can:
- Keep you from spreading germs you might have
- Help you avoid breathing in viral particles
- Stop you from touching your face
It’s especially important to wear a mask while flying. And in some instances, it might not be a choice, as some airlines require you to be masked in order to fly on their planes.
To get the most out of your mask, remember to use one you just cleaned, or wear a new disposable one that you haven’t used before. Doing this will make sure you limit particles already on the mask or, for disposable ones, make sure your mask is up to the job.
#2 Be Mindful of High-Touch Areas
When touching something like a check-in kiosk, or a TSA security bin, you’re probably thinking about the time left before your flight and not about how many other people have touched what you’re now using. In this case, you should.
Although it’s a less common method of transmission, you can transmit Covid-19 by touching something with virus particles on it.3 So it’s a good idea to be aware of what you’re using at an airport. And if it’s something many travelers have also probably used, clean your hands after you’re done.
#3 Avoid Crowds
While you can’t social distance yourself from the passengers next to you once you’re all sitting on the plane, you can try to avoid large crowds that might form elsewhere at the airport. The best ways to distance yourself involve:
- Getting in shorter lines
- Picking a seat further away from the crowd by your gate
- Trying to stay about six feet away from people you’re not traveling with
- Not standing in large clusters at the baggage claim
While this tip won’t help you while on the aircraft, it will help reduce your risk of catching Covid before and after the plane.
#4 Frequently Wash or Clean Your Hands
This tip is essential since you won’t be able to move away from people once you’re on the flight. When in close quarters with other people, take precautions and wash or clean your hands:
- When you use something high-touch
- Before you eat
- After using the restroom
- If you wipe your nose, sneeze, or cough
You can make sure your hands are properly washed or cleaned by using warm water with soap and rinsing your hands for at least twenty seconds. In your travel toiletry bag, you can also include hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes that have an alcohol concentration of at least 60%.
#5 Angle Your Air Vent Away From Your Face
While the little air conditioner vents you get on planes can be a nice way to get airflow, they can also be potential spreaders of Covid-19. When you point one directly at your face or body, it does deliver a blast of cool air, but it also brings a stream of particles with it.
And by aiming those particles at your face, you’re increasing the chance that anything infectious could get through your mask or into your eyes and ears. So keeping the air vent turned away from your face will help avoid blowing particles directly onto you.
#6 Bring Your Glasses Or Sunglasses
A mask covers your nose and mouth, but it doesn’t cover your eyes which can still be a route for Covid to get in. For protection, you can use:
- A face shield
But wearing a face shield the whole flight might be uncomfortable, so just wearing glasses or sunglasses is a simpler, easier option. If you’re a person who uses glasses and contact lenses, it might be a good idea to skip the contacts and wear your glasses on the plane instead. And if you don’t need glasses, your sunglasses will work just fine with the bonus of making you look fabulous.
There’s reason to believe that air travel doesn’t spread Covid-19 as much as you’d think. Several studies have actually shown that flying is relatively safe in terms of Covid spreading, possibly because planes come with air filters and good ventilation systems that replace the air inside roughly every three minutes.4
Though this fact should hopefully reduce your anxiety a little, it doesn’t cover situations where someone might sneeze next to you, so it’s a good idea to stay mindful and use the above tips as guidelines on how to fly safely during Covid.
What Are The Essentials For Air Travel During A Pandemic?
While following the above tips will help you travel safely, there are also things you can pack in your dopp kit that will help keep your flight and your holiday virus-free. It’s a good idea to pack:
- Hand sanitizer – Bringing a bottle of this along on your trip will help you keep your hands clean since getting up to wash them in the plane bathroom repeatedly isn’t practical. And good news— the TSA is currently allowing passengers to bring up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in a carry-on bag right now.5
- Extra masks – Even though you’ll probably be wearing one on your face, it’s always a good idea to bring extras. If something happens to your mask, you’ll be glad you thought ahead and brought a backup.
- Wipes – Disinfecting, antibacterial wipes can be a lifesaver on a plane. Packing them will let you wipe down surfaces like your tray table and in-flight TV so you can use them comfortably throughout the flight.
Bringing these items will ensure that you have the essentials you need to travel safely on a plane during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Travel Safely and Smartly with BÉIS
Now that you’re prepared to travel, make sure you pack your bags with BÉIS. Our stylish suitcases and hand luggage will get you to your destination looking effortlessly fabulous, and we’ll make sure you don’t have to spend all your savings to do so.
We also care about functionality and making sure our products are designed to help every type of passenger. To that end, our Covid Kit will help you fly safely during the pandemic so you can say goodbye to anxiety and hello to your destination. It’s got you covered with space for all the essentials you need to make your trip a breeze. And since we know space is at a premium on flights, we made sure to design it efficiently, so you won’t even notice it’s there!
Create your next travel plan and get ready to fly again with BÉIS—we’ll offer the storage you need while making sure you’re safe and always selfie-ready.
- “When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.” Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html
- “Domestic Travel During COVID-19.” Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html
- "Science Brief: SARS-CoV-2 and Surface (Fomite) Transmission for Indoor Community Environments.". Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/science-and-research/surface-transmission.html
- Hardingham-Gill, Tamara. “The Odds Of Catching Covid-19 On An Airplane Are Slimmer Than You Think, Scientists Say.” CNN, 20 Aug. 2020, https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/odds-catching-covid-19-flight-wellness-scn/index.html
- “TSA’S Tips For Flying During The Coronavirus Pandemic.” TSA, 12 Apr. 2020, https://www.tsa.gov/news/press/releases/2020/04/15/tsas-tips-flying-during-coronavirus-pandemic