15 safety guidelines for traveling during the holidays
Planning on traveling during the holidays?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends delaying travel until you are able to get fully vaccinated.
If you are planning to travel this holiday season, here are some safety guidelines to follow:
1. If you are not fully vaccinated
Before you travel - get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
While you are traveling - Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus). CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance when traveling.
Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
After you travel - Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days. If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected. If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.
Visit your state health department’s website to look for the latest information on where to get tested.
2. Know your travel risk
Flights with layovers and traveling on a cruise ship or river boat, pose a higher risk of getting COVID-19.
Short trips by car with members of your household, and those vaccinated, with no stops along the way, pose a lower risk.
3. Know when to delay your travel to avoid spreading COVID-19
Delay your trip if you are sick, have suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 (even if you don’t have symptoms), and have been around someone with suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 in the past 14 days (even if they did not have symptoms). More information on delaying your trip here.
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Click here for more information on mask requirements.
5. Avoid crowds
Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not from your household.
6. Wash your hands
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer.
Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
8. Don't touch
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
9. Car rentals
If renting a car, ask what has been done to disinfect and sanitize the vehicles. Bring your own disinfecting wipes to wipe down door handles, steering wheels, shifters and control panels.
Prior to any hotel stay, call ahead to ensure your hotel is open and ask what precautions they are taking to protect guests.
11. Get your flu vaccine
In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine, get your flu vaccine. Gatherings can contribute to the spread of other infectious diseases. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season. September and October are good times to get vaccinated. However, flu vaccines are still useful any time during the flu season and can often be accessed into January or later.
TSA has implemented changes to the security screening process to reduce the potential for cross-contamination in the security checkpoint known as the “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign. It focuses on modifications to procedures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Click here for more information from TSA.
13. TSA PreCheck
Enroll in TSA PreCheck now to expedite screening and reduce touchpoints. Travelers who are enrolled in TSA PreCheck® don’t have to remove their shoes, belts, lightweight jackets, electronics or their bag of travel-size liquids and gels.
14. Pack those gifts, but please do not use wrapping paper
TSA recommends against wrapping gifts when packing them for a flight. Why? Because if a wrapped gift triggers an alarm, it will need to be unwrapped to determine whether the contents of the wrapped item present a security threat. Instead of wrapping a gift, consider using a gift bag, a gift box or a festive bow so that wrapping paper does not need to be removed. TSA’s officer-elves don’t want to take on the role of Scrooge and unwrap someone else’s gift. However, they will have to if the item triggers a security alarm. If you plan on bringing food in the airplane - click here to find out what's allowed.
15. Regularly check guidelines
No matter where you’re traveling this holiday season, you’re likely to run into different guidelines regarding COVID-19. Be sure to check guidelines for different airlines, trains, rental car companies, and hotels so you know if a vaccination card or negative COVID test are required. Bonus tip—check guidelines often as well, as they can change depending on new updates.