June 1, 2020
Due to travel restrictions, plans are only available with travel dates on or after
Due to travel restrictions, plans are only available with effective start dates on or after
There’s no doubt COVID-19 has changed the way we travel—with more focus on safety concerns than ever before, it can be daunting to know what to do to keep yourself protected if you have to travel.
Lori Calavan is a physician assistant at the ICU at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT—she’s also the senior medical consultant for Allianz Partners, and helps manage the emergency medical care and emergency medical evacuations of customers who become ill or injured on their trip. With her experience helping travelers after they need medical attention, Lori recently developed some tips to help people avoid illness and injury while traveling. Here are her tips for making sure you’re staying safer when you’re on the go.
Before you go anywhere, it’s a good idea to assess any possible consequences of traveling. If you or a travel companion has an underlying health condition or is considered high-risk, reconsider your trip—and if you feel sick, it’s best to just stay home.
Wherever your destination is, you’ll want to make sure you know the latest executive orders and COVID-19 guidelines you’ll need to follow during your trip.
You can start by checking out information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as guidelines on state and country websites. Some items to consider: are masks mandatory at your destination? Will you need to quarantine as an out-of-state or US resident? Are there any testing requirements for where you’re headed? It can also be helpful to visit tourism board websites to see if businesses have any special procedures you’ll need to follow.
Although many companies are implementing more cleaning procedures, whether you’re going by road or plane, it’s still a good idea to make sure you’re equipped with your own sanitary equipment—like face masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. Be sure to bring sealable plastic bags so you can safely dispose of these items once you’ve used them.
Our free TravelSmart app has some helpful safety features to help you go more securely on your trip. You can get geolocation-based travel alerts about nearby events that may impact your trip, including information about health, security, transportation, and more—and you can even get knowledgeable advice about how to handle the alerts around you. And with the Around Me feature, you can locate nearby hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, police stations, and US embassies in case of an emergency.
TravelSmart also gives you quick access to our 24-hour assistance, so if you need travel or medical help on your trip, you can reach one of our helpful experts in just a few clicks.
When you’re traveling with other passengers, it’s important to maintain proper safety measures for yourself. In addition to wearing a face covering, be sure to wipe down all surfaces thoroughly before you sit down, paying special attention to high-touch areas like seat buckles, and make use of your hand sanitizer frequently.
When the beverage cart rolls around, it’s also a good idea to limit how much you drink—that way you can avoid using the bathroom and walking around during your journey.
Speaking of when nature calls, public rest areas can increase your chance of exposure—but there are few ways to minimize your risk. After you wash your hands, make sure not to re-touch the faucet. When exiting the bathroom, use paper towels to grab the door handles. It’s also a good idea to bring your own paper towels, just in case there aren’t any available.
With more people traveling domestically—especially on road trips—you may see more crowds at service areas and gas stations, which can increase your chance of exposure. When you pump your gas, it’s smart to wear disposable gloves; and be sure you take care to throw your gloves away in a trash bin before you open your car door. If you can, pay with a credit card at the pump instead of going into the gas station so you can limit your contact with other people (just be sure to sanitize your credit card with a wipe after you swipe it at the pump).
Instead of going into concession areas where people may be gathered, pack coolers with your own snacks and bottled water. You may also want to opt for hotels or other lodging that includes a kitchenette—that way you can prepare your own food while you’re on your trip.
Headed for some fun in the sun? While there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through recreational waters, you should still make sure you’re keeping a proper social distance from others. If you’re out of the water, be sure you’re wearing a mask—and be careful when you’re in shared facilities like restrooms.
Wherever you’re headed, it’s important to protect yourself against the unexpected—so be sure to plan ahead, follow all the necessary guidelines, and go as safely as possible. Have questions about travel insurance and COVID-19? Learn more.