We get it: the COVID-19 pandemic forced many of us indoors for quite some time. We don’t blame you for wanting to travel.  

However, if you choose to use the on-campus shuttle, city bus system, train, rideshare service, or airplane, it’s important to keep these things in mind to protect yourself and those around you. 

Here’s what you need to know to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Before You Begin: Make sure to keep these items close to you during your travel. 

  • Cloth face covering 
  • Hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) 
  • Sanitizing wipes 
  • Food (must be pre-packaged) and water 

 

Stay Home When Appropriate 

If you are sick or have recently had close contact—meaning you were withisix feet of someone infected with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes, regardless if wearing maskyou shouldn’t use public transportation. Instead, you should stay home, unless seeking medical care. 

Trains and airplanes may offer you a waiver, so call to verify your options. 

 

Practice Respiratory Etiquette 

Wear a cloth face covering when physical distancing is difficult. Cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms. Follow the CDC’s recommendations on face masks and avoid neck tubes, scarves, and bandannas.  

Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (translation: not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you do cough or sneeze, wash or sanitize your hands immediately after. 

 

Practice Good Hand Hygiene 

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. The CDC recommends using sanitizers containing at least 60 percent alcohol concentration to maximize effectiveness. 

Carry hand sanitizer with you and keep it close by during your travel.

 

Practice Physical Distancing 

Keep at least six feet (or two meters) from people who are not in your household. Follow signage guidelines in the train station, bus stop, rideshare application, and airport. 

 

When Ridesharing…

If you’re using a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft, ask the driver for the name of the reserved passenger before entering the vehicle. Verify that it is the correct car and license plate with the app. 

  • Wear a face covering for the entirety of the ride.
  • If possible, wipe down your seat, seatbelt, door handles, and other hightouch surfaces before the ride begins. 
  • Handle all your personal belongings yourself. 
  • Practice physical distancing in the vehicle and sit apart from others as best as you canIf you are the only passenger, its best to sit in the backseat behind the driver. If there’s another passenger with you, it’s still best to sit in the backseat behind the driver. 
  • Keep windows open or the air on in the vehicle when possible. 
  • Avoid contact with infected people. If you notice that someone around you is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, distance yourself as much as possible. 
  • If you think your safety is being compromised in any way, you can ask your rideshare driver to stop the car and order another ride. 

Upon Your Return: If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 after you get home from a trip, self-isolate and call the Ask-A-Nurse Message Line to know what to do next. 

When Riding a Plane…

  • Wear a face covering for the entirety of the ride. 
  • Use saline nasal spray before and after the flight. Because the air on the plane is dry and dries out your mucus membranes, your resistance to infection is reduced. Keeping these membranes moist with saline spray may help. 
  • Wipe down arm rests and your tray table with sanitary wipes. Also avoid touching the handle of the bathroom doors if possible. 
  • Keep air vents above your seat open during your flight to improve ventilation, ideally pointing them away from your face. 
  • If possible, stay seated and don’t get up until your flight is over. 
  • If you are seated next to an infected passenger, ask a flight attendant if it’s possible to move. Passengers sitting within two seats or a row of passengers with a respiratory illness have an 80% higher risk of getting sick. 

Upon Your Arrival: No matter your destination, quarantine for 14 days. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 from a trip, self-isolate and call the Ask-A-Nurse Message Line to know what to do next. 

 

 

We understand that not traveling may be difficult during these uncertain times.  

That’s why, if traveling is absolutely necessary for you, it’s important to keep the above information in mind to protect yourself and those around you. 

 

– Amy Nelson ’19

The following two tabs change content below.

Guest Blogger

Guest writers are sometimes featured on the WSU Blogs. If you would like to contribute, please submit your post here: https://blogs.winona.edu/submit-a-post/