Thanksgiving will look a little different this year. Amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is advising Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel. If you do decide to travel, make sure you know the risks, travel restrictions, and take the necessary precautions to keep both you and your loved ones as safe as possible.
The CDC recommends the following Thanksgiving travel tips:
Wear a mask indoors and in any public setting. If you’re taking a plane down south or catching a bus out west, reduce your chances of getting infected or unknowingly passing the infection on to your fellow passengers. According to the CDC, the most effective masks are made of two or more layers and fit snugly while still being breathable.
Avoid touching your face mask, eyes, nose and mouth. Not touching your mask can be a challenge, especially when it keeps slipping off your nose, or fogging up your glasses.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (the length of two rounds of the Happy Birthday song!).
Launder clothing and masks. Whether you’re hosting visitors or visiting someone else, keep your belongings clean and isolated from common areas as soon as you get to your destination.
Don’t forget the hand sanitizer. Pack plenty of bottles of hand sanitizer. While reputable airlines, bus and train services are taking precautions for Covid, you’ll still be in close quarters with many different people. You’ll want to use sanitizer any time you come in contact with people and things at high risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus.
Minimize your public activities before your trip. Before traveling for the holidays, limit your public engagements. Avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing.
Consider getting tested for Covid before traveling. If you have reason to believe you might be at risk of infection, get tested before your trip.
Have a Covid plan. If you choose to gather with people outside your usual household, you should plan for what to do if you notice a guest experiencing symptoms.
Improve ventilation. Whenever possible increase ventilation by opening windows and doors and running central air and heating continuously.
Follow statewide Covid restrictions. If you live in an area with a low infection rate, you might be used to less restrictive protocol. However, guidelines differ from state to state. Be sure to adhere to the restrictions enforced by the state you’re visiting. For updated state-by-state Covid advisories check out this interactive map from the New York Times.
While wrapping up a challenging year by celebrating with family and friends we haven’t seen in months may be tempting, if you have any concerns about Covid, the best thing to do is stay home. But if you do make travel plans, buy travel insurance with a Cancel For Any Reason option. That way if your circumstances change or you just have second thoughts, you can cancel your plans and get some of your trip expenses refunded.
Even though this year’s Thanksgiving and the upcoming winter holidays come with some new rules, it doesn’t mean they can’t be just as special. We’ll see our loved ones, if not in person then at least over the internet. There will be turkeys to carve, sweet potatoes to devour, and love to share. Keeping each other safe is truly something to be thankful for.