COVID-19 Travel: What You Need to Know

If you haven’t already, you need to cancel all leisure and personal travel, but if you must travel, here are some recommendations to keep you safe.

Travel Travel Tips Brian Webb

This article was published on March 22nd, 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, has caught the entire world with its pants down. A lot of people’s travel plans have been interrupted, including Pride events and circuit parties – goodbye events – we will miss you. People have had their travel plans completely ruined by COVID-19 or at least knows someone who has. If you haven’t, you should probably start traveling more when this pandemic is over, because there’s an entire world out there to explore and experience.  

We should all be buckling down at home and isolating ourselves from society. According to health authorities, these next few weeks are critical to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus. The next couple weeks will see tens of thousands of people showing symptoms and testing positive. 

If you haven’t already, you need to cancel all leisure and personal travel. This includes events, visits to see friends, or going home to see your family for the weekend. 

  1. Follow the guidelines from national, regional, and local health authorities on guidelines and travel restrictions. 
  2. If you have flights booked, contact the airline and work with them to have your flights cancelled. Most airlines are offering refunds on flights that were booked prior to the pandemic, for travel during this critical period. 
  3. Cancel your hotel reservations. While most hotels will allow you to cancel 48 hours prior to arrival without penalty, you’ll need to check the booking policy. If you paid for your reservations up-front, you should contact the hotel or site you made your reservations through to see if they will provide any refunds or credits. 
  4. Most events have now posted updates on cancellations, postponements, or rescheduled dates, especially for events through to mid-June. Go to the official event website to get the status of your event to learn more about refunds and re-issued tickets. 

If there is any time that can remind you of the importance of purchasing travel insurance, this is it! 

There are some people, because of the nature of their work, must travel during these unprecedented times. People like flight attendants on repatriation flights to bring home our friends and loved ones who are travelling or working abroad. Truckers who are helping get food and products to market, keeping the supply chain moving. With countries locking down international travel and health authorities condemning travel, most people will be staying put at home. Please give a huge thank you to people working in these service industries; they are risking their health to keep us safe. 

Photo credit: REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

If you absolutely must travel, for example, to fly back to your home country or drive back home from a personal or work trip, here is a list of recommended personal protective items you will need to have with you before you depart on your journey:

Hand sanitizer
Use hand sanitizer religiously. There’s no reason not to give your hands a quick once over after touching surfaces, even loved ones. 

Disinfect your clothes and luggage after getting out of baggage claim.

Routinely wipe down the surfaces of your environment, including counters, seats, tabletops, and handles. Reports indicate COVID-19 can remain on surfaces for up to three days. 

Disposable gloves are essential, especially when you are in high traffic areas, like airports, grocery stores, and gas stations. When removing disposable gloves, practice safe removal by taking them off outside-in.  

If you are coughing or sneezing, it’s critical you wear a mask. Airborne particles can be suspended in the air for up to three hours, which can potentially infect another person. 

This may make you feel like a germaphobe, but better safe than sorry. You don’t want to bring this back home to your loved ones if you can help it. Make staying clean a habit and a mindset for all our sakes. 

Keeping your distance while out in public is important too. Keep two meters between you and anyone else who is not in your primary household. This includes friends and loved ones. If you are going to be in closer proximity, use the above recommended personal protective gear. 

It is important to remember that it is your responsibility to be proactive. You need to cancel and rebook flights, car rentals, hotels, event tickets, etc. Don’t panic or get mad at airlines, hotels, or event organizers – this is difficult for them too.


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