Welcome to 2021. A lot has changed in travel in the last year, due to the pandemic. Travel in the United States has drasticly changed with airline restrictions and travel mandates in individual states. Countries abroad have also implemented their own changes as well.
I thought it would be helpful to update travel tips in a pandemic, our current world climate. As time progresses, new rules may arise. However, here are a few points to guide your travel plans:
It goes without saying that you’ll need a mask. Airports will require that you wear one upon entry. Airlines mandate that you wear during the duration of your flight. They excuse children below a certain age from wearing, but check with your airlines for specifics.
2. A Pen
When you need to complete a luggage tag, customs declaration form, or credit card receipt at a store/restaurant, it’s better to have your own pen. People cough and sneeze in their hands without tissue, then touch those pens on the counter. No one knows how often employees sanitize them, if at all, in between use.
3. Hand Sanitizer & Multi-Purpose Cleaning Wipes
Definitely have one or two bottles of hand sanitizer. As you often touch surfaces throughout your journey, sanitize hands if you can’t wash periodically.
For wipes, get travel packs to easily fit in bag or place wipes in a zip lock bag. You’ll want to clean plane surfaces that you touch/use. Even though airline crew sanitize the plane, I wipe the seat, screen, arm rests, tray, and seat belt buckle. There is no such thing as over cleaning.
4. Hand Lotion
Lotion will help with extreme hand dryness, a consequence of constant washing/sanitizing.
5. Electronic Boarding Pass
When possible, have an electronic boarding pass via your airline’s app or downloaded from an email/text. You can show it to the counter agent and place it down for scanning at security check points and boarding gates. Keep a physical copy near, just in case your phone has issues or you lose it.
6. Extra Time
Arrive at least 2 hours earlier than your flight. Due to six feet social distancing, there may be longer lines every step of the way.
On my last Delta flight six months ago, we received snacks once, without variety. We received a ziplock bag with bottled water, biscoff cookies, cheezits, and a napkin. The flight attendants came back once to collect trash. There was no drink/snack cart rolling down the aisle.
8. Travel Restrictions Knowledge
Leading up to your journey, check travel restrictions where you reside and who you are headed. You want to know rules affecting your departure and return, based on the pandemic (Covid testing mandates for entry and quarantine rules). Your state department’s website (if in the U.S.) is a good resource for up-to-date information. Change is constant, so check often. Countries outside of the U.S. may have similar sites.
9. Extreme Patience
Patience is imperative for maintaining your sanity during travel. Naturally, lines are longer and people may be on edge. During my past boarding, Delta followed the process below:
- All passengers must wear a mask.
- Keep six feet between passengers while boarding.
- Board plane by rows from back to front, no more than three rows at a time.
These 9 travel tips in a pandemic isn’t an exhaustive list, but is a great starting point. Did you travel in 2020? Will you in 2021? Have you implemented any changes to your process? I’d like to know your experience during your journies.