After 18 months of house arrest into the pandemic, all of us are itching for a staycation. Itching is stronger as travel restrictions are easing, and vaccinated people are allowed to move. With careful planning and adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, older adults should be able to enjoy a “safe cation” to destinations that are cleared for safe travel.
Please remember that no form of travel is completely safe. Once you are out of the safe boundary of your house, you could be exposed to the virus anywhere from the air and on surfaces. If you feel confident of clearing yourself for take off, keep reading for essential tips for planning and enjoying a safe cation.
The first step a senior adult should take when making any summer travel plans is to assess your personal situation. Risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases for older adults and the elderly. The current vaccines are designed to reduce infection or at the least lessen the chances of becoming seriously ill with or dying of the disease. Still, having a chronic condition like lung, heart or kidney disease puts seniors at an even higher risk for complications, including hospitalization.
Keep checking the Covid 19 resources for news and guidelines on travel restrictions and advisories in your destination country. You can check on the vaccine status, number of Covid cases, travel health notices, etc before you decide to travel.
Protect Yourself and Others
Even when you are fully vaccinated people, you must wear a face mask while traveling on planes, trains, buses, and other public transit, as well as in airports and transportation hubs. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer to reduce Covid-19 exposure risk. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Avoid close contact; try to keep at least 6 feet of physical distance from others during the journey.
To Fly or Not to Fly?
Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, air travel is considered safe by most experts. The tricky part is maintaining the recommended 6 feet of social distancing space between you and other people while waiting in security lines and sitting on crowded flights. Seniors are encouraged to choose an airline that has protocols in place you’re comfortable with and try to book travel for mid-week to avoid big crowds. Bring wipes and clean your seat area before sitting down. Wear your mask the entire trip. Avoid standing in line to use the lavatory.
Consider Hitting the Road
Road trip vacations either by car or a recreational vehicle are picking up speed with seniors since you have more control over your personal space. Make sure to pack hand sanitizer, several masks and disinfectant wipes, along with paper towels. Always wear a mask at gas stations and rest stops and remember to use hand sanitizer before you get back in your car. Use a paper towel if you must touch door handles and faucets at rest stops.
Bring your own food if possible, pay for gas, food and other necessities with a credit card to minimize contact and disinfect the card afterward. Remember to clean the inside of the car, along with phones and tablets.
Stay Close to your Home
Instead of embarking on a long road trip, consider a weekender or an overnight closer to your home. Check hotel cleanliness policies and hygiene amenities like contactless check-in, complimentary hand sanitizer and social distancing measures before making reservations.
Armchair travel is popular among seniors! Hop on your tablet, PC or mobile phone and search “virtual travel” or “virtual experiences at home” and you are there! It is the safest.