There comes a day when travel can be put off no longer. During a world wide pandemic our first response is to delay travel. When that is no longer an option, here are some tips that will help you develop your own plan for risk management and new anxieties around restrictions and testing.
Zero risk does not exist. If it is possible to travel and not spread the virus, then it’s due to vigilant risk management. Here’s what we know.
Prior to travel
Sheltering in place prior to travel reduces your risk of carrying the virus with you.
Risks within a household are intertwined. If one member of a household is taking risks everyone is exposed. Talk to loved ones about sheltering in place prior to your arrival in an effort to limit the risks that enter your support bubble.
Pre-decide your limits and expectations. Do you expect to hug upon arrival? Are there any conditions that would change your mind about that? Here are a few case studies of families having these conversations in my article, How To Christmas in a Pandemic.
Some airport staff are recommended not to eat at the airport restaurants for the same reason many indoor restaurant seating is restricted around the world.
In some airports we were able to find a quiet corner ten meters away from anyone else where we could sit on the floor and eat our picnic.
In other airports we were crowded into a gate like sardines and postponed our dinner until we got on the plane to eat.
The plane may not serve food or even drink service. Be prepared to bring what you need.
While seated on the plane, safety studies illustrate that .003% of particles crossed into your breathing zone while 99.9% were filtered out of the cabin every six minutes. (see video)
Those studies were conducted using robotic mannequins wearing perfectly fitted masks that were worn properly. When you are actually seated watching people wearing masks low under their noses and wiping their noses on their shirt sleeves, you will be confronted with the reality that we don’t live in a research center.
Research the restrictions of both the places you are traveling to and from. Remember within a country different regions, departments, and states may have different governing protocol.
Restrictions may change at any time, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for new updates.
Where I am, in France, there are different guidelines for travel to other regions of France, or traveling within the EU, and each country outside of the EU has different restrictions to consider.
In January 2021 having a valid permanent residency card was Imperative Motive to be accepted into France. As of February 2021 if you have a permanent residency you also must have a letter from your employer stating that they need you to return to France for work.
If you are the spouse of the employee you will need to show your marriage certificate.
American citizens are always accepted back into the States.
Most countries, regions, and states have some combination of testing and quarantine protocol to follow prior to travel or upon arrival.
Before your travel approaches call ahead to all testing locations you will need: local and at your host location.
Over the phone explain which specific test you need before your travel. Refer to government websites that are updated with new mandates as new strains are identified.
Find out how you get an appointment, how far in advance you need to call and make an appointment, and how long it takes for the results to come back.
Ask whether the results page LISTS exactly the things the government requires – testing for certain strains, etc.
You might find that the local drive through clinic allows you to make an appointment a week in advance and guarantees results within an hour.
Some people have found that they had to bypass the local clinic and drive an hour to a major city where they could guarantee availability and rapid results.
Take the guesswork out of your trip and plan ahead to avoid anxiety.
Carry your negative test results with your travel documents for easy access. They may require them multiple times in each airport, at security, and again at the gate.