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Staying Safe and Healthy While Traveling

safety while traveling
  • Published
  • 7 May 2021
  • Category
  • General

Whether you are fully vaccinated or have not yet received a COVID-19 shot, it’s important to keep health and safety in mind when you travel for work or pleasure.

Many Americans are looking for a change of scene, and as businesses ramp up operations, work-related travel is also expected to increase in the coming months. Pent up demand means it will pay to plan ahead to avoid crowds, reduce costs, stay healthy and prevent problems with entry requirements – when traveling abroad or even when visiting popular domestic venues.

In a recent survey on COVID-19 Travel Sentiment, Longwoods International, a travel research firm, found:

  • 30 percent of American adults feel the coronavirus will greatly impact their decision to travel this year, the lowest level since the pandemic began.
  • The percentage of American adults who will wait to be vaccinated before traveling has declined from 37 percent to 27 percent in the past two months.
  • 53 percent of survey respondents support opening up their communities to visitors.

Vaccination Reminders

COVID-19 vaccine verification is likely to be a stipulation for travel in certain cases, such as on cruises, and entry into some countries and local venues. Many jurisdictions will also require a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure by air and testing again after landing. Quarantine upon arrival may also need to be factored into planning.

In addition to a COVID-19 vaccine, for international travel proof of other vaccinations such as Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, cholera or yellow fever may be needed. Vaccination records and a list of medications you take should be stored in a safe place (digitally) so you can access them in the event hard copies are lost or stolen.

Plan Ahead

Here are some tips to help simplify travel for business purposes, family gatherings or a much-needed getaway:

  1. Check the status of your passport. Renewals are taking longer, and some countries require a 6-month cushion before expiration. If your passport expires within the next year, it’s advisable to start the renewal process now. Visit the State Department passport webpage for more information.
  2. For domestic travelers, visit the Transportation Security Administration website to learn about TSA PreCheck enrollment and renewal requirements to help expedite the time spent in airport security lines.
  3. Book now. Reservations for flights, ferries, trains and places to stay may be harder to get over the summer, and prices are expected to go up. Rental cars are in high demand because many companies have reduced the size of their fleets.
  4. Look for flexibility. Before you reserve, check the small print. Will you be able to change dates for travel, accommodations or tours without penalties?
  5. Review travel and health insurance offers. Some international destinations require health insurance to provide coverage in case of illness or injury. Your current health plan may provide coverage outside of the U.S. Trip-specific policies are also available.

Health and Safety

Bob Riegel, R.N., a WorkCare travel nurse consultant, offers these health and safety reminders:

  • Know before you go. Review destination travel restrictions and safety alerts; consult with a travel care expert when planning a trip.
  • Monitor what you eat and drink; avoid foods that may not have been properly cleaned, refrigerated or thoroughly cooked; stay well hydrated (clean water!).
  • Practice good personal hygiene: wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially while traveling and before meals.
  • Use sunscreen protection – at least SPF 30 – and re-apply it during the day.
  • Take along Imodium for diarrhea “just in case;” talk to your doctor about taking along a stand-by antibiotic to self-treat persistent diarrhea.
  • Take an adequate supply of your medication along with copies of prescriptions or a letter from your provider.
  • As needed, use an insect repellant with DEET and treat clothing and shoes/boots with Permethrin.
  • Obtain recommended/required immunizations for your destination as soon as possible because they take time to work.
  • Follow CDC travel guidelines, including when to wear masks and practice social distancing.

 To learn more, read our Travel Fact Sheet.

 

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