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Tips for Traveling Safely Post-COVID


As the curve flattens, getting out doesn’t have to mean getting sick.

When the coronavirus pandemic first hit and stay-at-home orders went into place, working from home and spending more time with the family might have felt like a luxurious consolation to counterbalance fear sweeping the nation outside. And though we might still be a ways away from a vaccine, more areas of the country are starting to flatten the curve—opening up more travel options for those who now find staying at home to be more of a confinement than a luxury.

Though it’s becoming easier to travel in the era of COVID-19, there are still precautions to take into consideration before globetrotting to a new destination. Whether you’re a proud Los Angeles luxury real estate owner looking for a quick getaway, an out-of-towner heading to sunny Southern California in search of your own dream home for sale in Venice, CA, or in any of the other wonderful Westside areas, here are some tips that can help you jet-set and road trip safely to your destination.

Know Your Travel Restrictions

Different states are easing travel restrictions to varying degrees and various times, depending on the level of infection rates in each state. For travelers looking for a quick getaway to break the monotony of staying at home, sticking relatively close to home remains the most advisable option no matter what state in which you reside. When the pandemic hit, California was on a national list of quarantine states banning travelers to leave or enter the state without a mandated 14-day quarantine. Many states still require quarantine protocols for travelers from any area where the positivity rate is higher than 10% over a week-long rolling average. Most states have sites with up-to-date travel alerts, coronavirus related travel restrictions by state, and responsible travel codes to adhere to when traveling to, from, or throughout that state. If you’re planning to visit California, here is what you need to know about travel restrictions on the West Coast.


Essential vs. Nonessential Travel

It could be argued that heading to Southern California to purchase your own piece of Mar Vista, CA real estate in preparation for a move might be considered essential travel. However, before you hit the purchase button on plane tickets, it’s worth keeping in mind that California officials still discourage all nonessential travel to and from the state. More and more, there’s been a correlation between the rise and fall of infection rates in a given state to people traveling long distances for vacation or pleasure. In researching the state in which you’d like to travel, it’s wise to check that particular state’s definitions of essential and nonessential travel—they tighten or loosen depending on how widely COVID-19 is spreading at your destination. The CDC’s data tracker is a useful tool in determining whether your destination is considered safe to travel to and might help you determine whether your intended travel is considered essential or not if you’re unsure.


Basic Precautions




While staying at home is still considered the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, there are some universal precautions you can follow to keep yourself, your family, and others from increased risks of getting or spreading the virus:

  • Get tested—many countries, and some U.S. states, require proof of a recent, negative COVID-19 test before departure or upon arrival.
  • Don’t travel if you are sick or have been around someone who has been sick in the past 14 days.
  • If you live with a loved one at increased risk for severe illness, come up with a plan to quarantine and test before you travel, as not all COVID carriers show symptoms.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings—this includes in airports, on airplanes, in bus and train stations, and at roadside rest stops.
  • Maintain at least six feet apart from anyone who is not from your immediate household.
  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Seek out destinations, hotels, and airline operators that are following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Though these are unprecedented times, and traveling now comes with a list of precautions that many people are still not used to, just keeping these basic precautions in mind can help ensure a much more enjoyable and stress-free travel experience for everyone involved.




Traveling By Airplane

Though the virus isn’t easily spread on aircraft due to the way air is circulated and filtered, this does not mean there is zero risk of exposure while onboard—and it’s advised (and sometimes required) that airline travelers wear masks during the flight, as social distancing is almost impossible on a full flight. 





Whenever possible, consider taking a less popular flight (like an overnighter) to decrease the likelihood of boarding a full flight. Most airlines have implemented more thorough disinfecting procedures between flights, and some have begun performing temperature checks on every passenger prior to boarding the plane. Keep in mind that airports are a potential source of infection, and most airports have updated security protocols to compensate—including allowing passengers to carry up to 12 oz. containers of hand sanitizer, instructing passengers to keep personal items inside carry-on bags as opposed to putting them in trays, and asking travelers to adhere to social distance markers when lining up at the ticket counter or to board and deplane a flight. In addition to these new protocols, one additional way to keep safe when flying is to pack your own disinfectant wipes, which you can use to clean door handles and tray tables.


Road Trips




There’s nothing more quintessentially American than a good, old-fashioned road trip. Though not without its risks, hopping in the car for a good long drive makes it much easier to mitigate those risks than the uncontrollable variables of traveling by plane—and with some planning ahead of time, makes it even more enjoyable:

  • Plan the Route—even if you know this road trip like the back of your hand, take the extra step of researching temporary road closures that may throw you off your planned route.
  • Research Infection Rates—as with airplane travel, you’ll want to look up the current rates of infection happening at your intended destination and readjust plans accordingly.
  • Rest Stops—wear a mask and keep a six-foot distance between yourself and others as you stop for gas, snacks, or simply to stretch your legs.
  • Sanitize—make sure to pack hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.
  • Drive-thrus—we know stopping at that hole-in-the-wall diner along your route is part of the fun of a road trip. However, it’s recommended that you consider ordering to-go or heading to a drive-thru instead. If you don’t want to drive and eat, consider taking your to-go to an off-the-beaten-path area for a little roadside picnic instead of sitting inside a diner.
  • Pack ahead—whether it be snacks, lunch, or sanitizing supplies, packing ahead of your trip allows you to make fewer stops at busy gas stations and diners.
  • Credit cards—when on a road trip, try to pay for gas, food, etc. with cards instead of cash. This reduces the number of face-to-face interactions.
  • Overnight—if you think you’ll need to stay in a hotel overnight, call ahead to confirm your reservation and the hotel’s sanitation guidelines.

This year marks a time when more vacationing Americans have made plans to take a road trip as opposed to a flight somewhere. It’s a chance to get away, enjoy a change of scenery, and experience the great outdoors without the risks of airports and airplanes.





Activities

Regardless of where you go or how you decide to get there, certain activities are considered a much lower risk than others when traveling. The safest bet is to stick to open spaces and avoid large gatherings. Consider a camping or hiking trip as opposed to visiting a museum or renting a house with a pool instead of hitting a crowded beach. Consider finding a drive-in if you want to catch a movie instead of sitting in a theatre. 







Traveling in the era of COVID doesn’t mean you don’t have activities to enjoy—it simply means knowing which activities are the least risky for you and your loved ones. The CDC’s comprehensive list of various activities and risk levels associated can help you plan activities that are enjoyable and put your mind at ease.

Pandemic fatigue is as real a thing as the pandemic itself, and it weighs on people, too. Fortunately, with the right kind of planning and taking the proper precautions, you don’t need to wait until a vaccine is available to take a vacation (or a much needed day trip to break the routine of stay-at-home living). Though these tips and guidelines for traveling safely may seem a bit excessive at first, adhering to them does pay off in the long run and will allow you to enjoy the experience of exploring new (or long-beloved!) destinations with peace of mind.

If you’re looking for a Santa Monica real estate agent or homes for sale in Venice, contact Scott Price and Janice Hou today. They can help you find your dream property in Los Angeles’ beautiful beach towns.




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