Traveling in the time of COVID-19 requires may require a few extra steps but staying safe is easier than you think if you take a common-sense approach and put a bit of professional advice to work.
Leading travel insurance and assistance provider Allianz Partners’ senior medical consultant Lori Calavan recently shared her tips for ensuring a safe travel experience during the pandemic, firstly stressing the importance of assessing the risk for those traveling as some individuals may be at higher risk than others. What’s more, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or who feels sick should always stay home.
“It’s important to remember that the precautions you take to stay safe in your community should also be followed while you’re traveling,” said Calavan, who is also a physician assistant at the ICU at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut. “Planning ahead for a trip to unfamiliar territory can increase both your peace of mind and your chances of enjoying your trip without incident.”
Planning ahead is also key to ensure that you’re up to date on all of the latest travel restrictions and testing requirements in your destination. Allianz’s free TravelSmart app is a great tool to stay in the know even if you don’t have a policy. Users can tap “Assistance Around Me” to locate the nearest hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, police stations and U.S. Embassies in the even that they experience an emergency abroad.
Calavan also recommends that travelers be prepared by packing plenty of extra face masks, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. More importantly, they should put that personal protective equipment to use throughout their journey, especially on airplanes, trains and buses and when using gas stations and public restrooms.
“With a surge in road trips, service areas and gas stations may be crowded—increasing the chance of exposure,” Calavan advises. “Wear disposable gloves when pumping your gas and throw them in a trash bin before you open your car door. To limit contact with others, pay with a credit card (sanitizing it with a wipe after use).”
The expert also encourages travelers to pack their own food and drink to limit the amount of stops they need to make and ensure they have some supplies in the event that restaurants are closed or open with limited capacity in their destination.
While Calavan acknowledges that there’s “no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through the use of recreational waters” such as lakes, pools and beaches, travelers are advised to maintain social distance and wear a mask while out of the water and using shared facilities.
“Whether traveling to the beautiful beaches of Mexico or the U.S. countryside, now more than ever, it’s incredibly important to plan ahead,” said Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications at Allianz Partners, in a statement. “Like travel insurance, safety precautions can help protect against the unexpected, allowing you to truly be at ease throughout your trip and enjoy it to the fullest.”
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