By Nicole Valdes
Traveling has been a way to distress and escape from reality, especially during the holiday season. Due to COVID-19, however, the traveling experience has changed, with many restrictions and safety guidelines being put in place by The Federal Aviation Administration.
These safety regulations require travelers to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer when getting on a plane. Airports are also following social distancing protocols and requiring masks, as are train stations like Miami-Dade County's Metromover.
The following tips aim to help Barry students and faculty have a safe travel experience this holiday season.
1. Always do your research. Regulations may differ among airlines, so travelers should research the protocols prior to booking a flight. For bus or train travel, it is important for passengers to choose a station they are comfortable flying through. In addition, travelers should research the testing and quarantine requirements in the location they are visiting.
2. Carefully select your mode of transportation. Whether it’s by plane, train, or bus, travelers should make sure they understand what safety methods are being taken by each travel company. Traveling by train or bus may be different in that it is local travel and may be faster. However, trains and buses are required to be sanitized between boarding and deboarding so the process may be delayed.
3. Keep your mask on. Wearing your mask is essential. No matter where you go, a mask will keep you safe, especially if you are around people you do not know. Often, when traveling, you don’t know who you will encounter, so staying safe should be your priority.
4. Travel in a small group. Traveling in a large crowd could be risky when it comes to your safety. The CDC recommends travelling in groups of 10 or less. Always make sure to know who you are traveling with, where they have been, and if they’ve been taking safety precautions. In general, going on adventures with family members or close friends is your best option.
5. Search for the right place to stay. Make sure that the hotel, motel, or Airbnb you decide to stay in has safety protocols put in place. You should be comfortable and feel safe wherever you decide to sleep while traveling. Often, hostels are not recommended as they gather many different people in one room.
6. Don’t gather in enclosed spaces. It’s important to keep in mind that open spaces allow the best opportunity for social distancing. You can get some fresh air or go for a walk where there might be a nice view. Not only will this keep you safe, but it can also clear your mind and keep you positive.
7. Eat outdoors. According to CDC guidelines, eating indoors makes it harder to stay apart from people and there is less ventilation. If the weather permits, have a nice lunch at an outdoor restaurant. Due to the pandemic, many restaurants have set up a beautiful outdoor ambience for their patrons, so you will be able to enjoy yourself while staying safe.
8. Travel prepared with the right supplies. In addition to your normal personal items, some essentials you should pack in your suitcase are hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and back-up masks in case of an emergency. It is also important to travel light and comfortably just in case your flight, train, or bus is reduced in size or cancelled unexpectedly.
9. Take a safety Kit – You never know what may happen on your travel journey. Make sure to include any medication you may need, like Vitamin C or pain killers, in case of any sudden sicknesses. Basic first-aid kit products like Band-Aids are also recommended in case of minor injuries.
10. Stay positive. While traveling can be stressful, it is important to stay positive and keep an open mind on your trip. Your travel plans are meant to be a break from the hard times the world is going through, so be sure to not let bumps in the road get the best of you.