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Due to the pandemic, things have definitely changed when it comes to travel.  International travel from the United States has all but shut down.  Some countries aren’t permitting people from the U.S. to enter.

I thought it would be helpful to share 8 travel tips in the new normal, based on my recent experience flying to Baltimore, Maryland.  The tips below are common sense things, but sometimes those are the ones we forget the easiest:

 

1.  Masks
Make sure you carry multiple, that are easily accessible.  Place one in your carry on, one that you are wearing, and possibly an extra.  You should put one on as soon as you enter the airport.  Although we should be 6 feet apart in the security lines, that doesn’t mean people follow that.  Some people don’t understand the concept of ‘personal space’.   On my Delta flight, they required it for boarding and the duration of the flight.

2.  A Pen
Just in case you need to fill out a luggage tag or customs declaration form, it’s better if you use your own pen.  People cough and sneeze in their hands, then touch those pens at the counter.  Honestly, they did before the pandemic, but it’s something I never thought about.  Also, I’m not sure if the attendants sanitize the counter pens.

3.  Hand Sanitizer & Multi-Purpose Cleaning Wipes
Again, make sure you carry a few bottles, that are easily accessible.  Place one in your carry on and one in your purse/bag.  You are constantly touching surfaces throughout the airport, as well as the plane.  When boarding my recent flight, the attendant gave everyone a hand sanitizer packet, but you’d want your own if needed.

For wipes, you may want to sanitize surfaces that you come in contact with.  Even though they say that they sanitize the plane, I used my wipes to go over the seat, screen, arm rests, tray, and seat belt buckle.  It can’t hurt for it to happen twice.

4.  Electronic Boarding Pass 
When at all possible, you want to get rid of the need to pass paper back and fourth.  You can show your pass (via email, text, or mobile app) to the counter agent.  You also place it down for scanning at the security and boarding gates.  Print a physical copy of the pass and keep close, just in case your phone dies or has techinal difficulties.  The same applies to your itinerary.

5.  Extra Time
Definitely arrive 2 hours earlier than your flight. Maybe even tack on another 30 minute buffer.  Due to the social distancing,  there may be longer bathroom, check-in and security lines.

6.  Snacks
During my recent Delta flight, passengers received snacks once, and you didn’t have choices.  We received a ziplock bag which contained the following: mini bottled water, biscoff cookies, cheezits, and a napkin.  The flight attendants came back through one more time to collect trash.  No ordering from menus, no drink/snack cart rolling down the aisle. 

7.  Travel Restrictions
Before the day of your journey, check often travel restrictions and rules where you reside as well as where you are headed.  You want to be aware of any changes that may affect your leaving, and returning, based on the pandemic.  Your state department’s website (if in the U.S.) is a good resource for up-to-date information.  There may be similar government websites in other countries.

8.  Patience
This is one of the most important tips for maintaining your sanity during travel.  Lines will be longer and people will be rude.  During my boarding, Delta followed a new process:

  • Six feet between passengers while in line to board and walking down to plane.
  • Boarding plane by rows from back to front, a logical process they should have been doing all along.
  • boarding no more than three rows at a time

 

These 8 travel tips in the new normal certainly isn’t an exhaustive list.  However, they are the things that came to mind when reflecting on my first flight, during the pandemic.  Have you traveled yet, during the pandemic?  What have you done differently to prepare, if anything at all?  I’d love to hear your experience if you have braved the airport or any other transportation for a trip.