Anyone who’s a travel buff knows that travel has been greatly impacted due to COVID-19. As someone who has only traveled in a post-9/11 United States, this is the biggest shift in travel to happen during my traveling years. It’s important that everyone is taking all precautions and making safe choices when on the move. Here’s what you need to know about traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here in the United States. Come along for the ride!

FTC: Information included in this article has been credited and hyperlinked to their respective sources. I do not claim to be a health professional.


If you don’t have to travel, DON’T.

As much as it hurts for me to say this, unnecessary travel should be put on pause as it is the most sure-fire way to stay safe. Unless you are traveling for work, to care for a loved one, traveling for school, etc., leisurely travel is not essential and is not recommended by the CDC.

If you must travel, here are some guidelines to keep in mind...

Think about where you’re traveling.

Stay on top of coronavirus numbers in the state/city you need to travel to. Are numbers increasing at an alarming rate? Are you traveling to an epicenter for the virus? Better, are numbers decreasing where you’re going? The numbers are important and should not be ignored.

Where are you flying from / where are you currently located?

Do you live in a state or city where coronavirus numbers are climbing or declining? Could you potentially spread the virus if you travel?

Are you immunocompromised?

If you are immunocompromised, you are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. This means social distancing, following proper hand-washing protocol, and wearing a mask is absolutely crucial — and that includes everyone you come in contact with during your travels.

Will you have to follow a 14-day quarantine rule where you’re going?

Depending on where you’re going and where you’re from, having to quarantine for two weeks could significantly impact your ability to travel efficiently, especially if you’re traveling for work or to provide care for another person. Make sure you check to see your destination's guidelines before traveling.

All things considered, you’re going. What now? What can you do to stay safe?

Wear a cloth face covering or mask when traveling.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), everyone maintaining social distancing and wearing cloth masks will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by 85%. While not 100% effective, its effectiveness increase when everyone follows this guideline. In fact, where you’re going or the airline you’re flying could require face masks or coverings in public places through [town or city] ordinances.

Stay six feet apart from other travelers.

Check airlines’ responses to COVID-19 and how they seat their guests on each flight. Preferably, choose an airline that seats families from the same household together; does not fill the middle seat; and leaves empty rows to promote social distancing. This arrangement will increase the likelihood of being six feet apart from people who do not live in the same household as you, keeping everyone that much safer.

When in line for TSA Security, make sure you stay six feet apart from other travelers. Only touch what is necessary and use hand sanitizer. Even better, wash your hands for 20 seconds!

When ordering food, ask for a takeaway option. Do not sit in airport restaurants for your food.

Hands off your face!

You could get droplets on your hand and potentially into your eyes, mouth, or nose by touching your face. If you must touch your face, sanitize your hands by covering them in hand sanitizer (if you think you have too much, you have plenty) and rub it into your hands until they are dry to the touch. Then, touch your face and REPEAT THE SANITATION PROCESS. Just as you don’t want others’ germs getting you sick, keep your germs from getting other people sick.

Have some time to kill during a layover? Make sure you wash your hands.

Seriously, wash your hands as often as you can. Make sure you’re washing your hands for the entire 20 seconds and involves scrubbing the entire surface of your hands — front, back, sides, wrists, getting under the nails, THUMBS, between the fingers... you get the idea! Not sure how long 20 seconds is? The chorus to Britney Spears' hit song "Oops!...I Did It Again" is 20 seconds long. Not a Britney fan? First, ow, that hurts. Second, NPR has a list of songs you can sing along to in your head to time out 20 seconds.


Waiting at the gate to board your flight? Keep away from others not in your travel party.

Sit six feet away from others. Some airports will be better at regulating this than others, but absolutely feel empowered to sit far away from people and move if others sit too close to you. You will be doing everyone a favor by taking charge!

Other helpful tips:

  • Hand sanitizer should contain at LEAST 60% alcohol in order to be effective.

  • Lather your hands when using hand sanitizer. If you’re nearly dripping, you have enough. Make sure to sanitize the wrists and under the nails, as well!

  • Is your mask a bit too loose? Twist the straps to make a figure eight type of shape before putting it on your ears.

  • Check with your airline regarding their COVID-19 cancellation policy before booking. Better to be safe than sorry!

  • Bring phone sanitation wipes for your travels! Phones are beyond gross when you think about it. Make sure it’s clean! It can help stop the spread of something, that’s for sure.

  • Pack sanitation wipes in your carry-on! Use them to wipe down surfaces you have to touch, including your luggage once it arrives at baggage claim. (Don’t forget to sanitize your hands after, too!)

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has discovered that these products have been found to kill the coronavirus.


Please make sure that if and when you travel again, you follow these guidelines provided by the CDC. These guidelines are put in place for everyone's health and safety. While you might not be worried about catching COVID-19, wearing a mask helps other people who are worried.

"Not me. Us."

FTC: Information included in this article has been credited and hyperlinked to their respective sources. I do not claim to be a health professional.

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