According to TSA, on March 28th, 2021, 1,574,228 traveled within The United States of America. This is the busiest travel day since the Coronavirus Pandemic started in 2020. This is 1,394,226 more travelers than there were on March 28th, 2020.
Although the feeling of returning to “normal” may be exciting, it is also important to ensure that traveling remains safe. Most, if not all, organizations have modified their policies and procedures to support the pandemic public protocols. With each state's regulations and phases being different, I have experienced different expectations within the organization due to the state's status. Below are some recommendations to ensure you, and the people you are traveling with, are remaining safe while traveling.
At the beginning stages of the pandemic, room service (delivery of goods, cleaning, entering to repair) was terminated. Recently, room service has returned. If you do not want these services, you simply notify the hotel upon checking in that you would not like anyone to enter your room. When you return from your busy day, they will have your fresh towels and soap prepared for you at the front desk.
If you are in a setting that requires the utilization of elevators be cautious that the cleaning policies of “wiping down after every use”, have become less frequent. Utilize an extra wipe, or your elbow, to touch the button to eliminate touching this public service. If you can’t avoid it, that’s ok, just wash your hands 😊
Air travel had significantly changed early in the pandemic. Anyone in an airport ensured their face mask covered their nose and mouth, social distancing was, unintentionally, exaggerated to 20 feet apart, and the number of people was sparse. With the “Spring Break seasons” arrival, there has been less mandating and more tolerance to the proper use of face masks, and with the increase of travelers, the inability to consistently socially distance. If possible, booking a later morning or evening flight will provide you with less populated airports.
Airplanes have, and remain, pristine. Utilize the extra wipes that are provided to you for the air vents above, upon sitting down, to ensure they were wiped. Keeping your face mask on is essential. For an additional layer, you could consider adding a second mask or wearing a scarf.
In the past, if you have rented a car, or boarded public transportation, you may have found someone’s leftover goldfish or Kleenex. Fortunately, that has been few and far between over the last year. Depending on where you are traveling, there may be additional materials in your car (e.g., snow brush, toll pass, etc.). Use a wipe to ensure that these are cleaned, as the cleaning policies have been modified.
If you are craving a meal out, call ahead! Reserving a table outside, if possible is going to be the best. If the weather does not permit, or the location you are in is not ideal, inquiring about what is used to separate the tables and guests from each other. While on the phone, also asking if they are requiring their staff and other guests to continue wearing PPE while experiencing their restaurant. Some restaurants will not require their guests to have a mask on while eating, some will not require their guests or staff to wear their face masks at all, and some will fall somewhere in the middle.
If you plan to carry out, find out if the staff is going to walk the meal to your car, or if you need to go inside to pick it up. If you need silverware, make sure you request it while placing your order, and verifying before you drive away. Do not be surprised if there is a small surcharge for the plastic utensils!
Traveling will always come with its own set of challenges. Your health and wellness are a top priority, and sometimes, we are our own best advocates. Always calling ahead to know of a location's “Covid Policies” is a great way to prepare yourself, so you are not surprised. Finally, to debunk the myth that “overpacking may cost you”, I would like to clarify that overpacking facemasks will not take up any space, and it will keep you safe.
Related words: travel, tips and tricks, covid policies, hotel, air travel, carry out