Reducing the Risks of Traveling During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Here are some tips for the safest ways to travel amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.


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Here is a sign from early in the Coronavirus pandemic noting that ‘staying at home’ is the safest way to avoid contracting COVID-19. Now with more Americans getting fully vaccinated, the risks of travel for these fully vaccinated individuals are much lower than they were before.

With all the travel deals posted on social media, a vacation looks not only affordable but tempting right now, even given the global Coronavirus pandemic. You can simply take precautions such as wearing a mask, getting tested before traveling, washing your hands, and calling it a day. But is the risk really worth it? What happens when someone on your flight does not take those same precautions? If you are unvaccinated, you would be at risk of getting COVID-19 during your travels. 

The best way to stay safe while traveling is to avoid it altogether. If that is not possible, the best way to travel would be a short car ride with fully vaccinated passengers to a small country house or beach house. This way the traveler stays isolated from other people who could be infectious. 

Flying is actually quite safe right now, but not risk free from COVID-19. Within an airplane, the air quality and circulation are frequent and the air is highly filtered. The air is not ‘reused’ as many would assume, due to the overall design of a plane. This does not mean that flying should be taken lightly and be considered completely safe. There is still an amount of risk associated with it. This risk can also come from where the traveler is going and what they are doing there. Recently a group of unvaccinated students went to Mexico for their spring break. They tested negative before the flight, but when they got back to New York City they all tested positive. They do not know if they got COVID-19 from that first plane trip, the first couple of days, or the last couple of days. Whatever it was, they risked many people’s health and lives over their vacation. Mexico is struggling with COVID-19 cases right now, and traveling unvaccinated can risk the lives of many people. 

Due to increased risks, some people are not traveling or even leaving their households, even as the Coronavirus cases are coming down in the United States due to increasing numbers of vaccinated Americans. “I haven’t been able to go out very often and never went out to see friends for about half a year. My step-mother is pregnant and therefore has greater risk of COVID-19 complications were she to get it. I haven’t traveled at all either. We were planning a camping trip, but in the end, we decided not to go to,” said Justin Chen ’21.

It is understandable that many people wish to travel after quarantining and staying home over the past fifteen months. So what is the safest way to travel right now?  People can find somewhere secluded to stay and drive by themselves. If they live with others, that group could all drive in a car to an Airbnb house where they do not have to interact with many other people. 

The main activities that unvaccinated people should avoid as much as possible are long bus rides or train rides. The air is not as well circulated in these enclosed and they are on board with many people who might have COVID-19. They should also avoid cruise ships since they will be onboard in close proximity with many other people for an extended amount of time. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) lists this as a very high risk of infection for those who are unvaccinated.

Many Cruise Liners around the world are currently not sailing right now due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. (Belinda Fewings / Unsplash)

Though COVID-19 may limit the opportunities for world travel right now, there are still other safer ways to enjoy a secluded vacation while still reducing the risk of infection. Though it can feel as if the pandemic is over in the United States, many countries are still in lockdown and COVID-19 is still a disease that should be taken seriously. 

It is understandable that many people wish to travel after quarantining and staying home over the past fifteen months. So what is the safest way to travel right now?