Are you planning to travel during the coronavirus outbreak? Here’s some key coronavirus travel tips to keep in mind, from practical flight booking advice to hygiene. Since the virus broke out in December, more than 87,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus, and nearly 3,000 people have died around the world.
While the virus is most rampant in China, South Korea, Iran and Italy, it’s important to keep yourself safe where ever you travel, as the last thing you want to do is be stuck in a foreign country either a) battling the disease or b) restricted from returning home.
Note that this is a constantly changing situation, so check official government travel advice (such as the CDC) before you jet off.
Coronavirus Travel Tips
1. Wash Your Hands ALL The Time!
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve, not your hands, when coughing or sneezing.
- Research shows that wearing a mask does not reduce your risk of getting the disease, but it does help stop spreading it if an infected person wears a mask
2. Book The Cancellation Option on Flights
As more and more travel bans, quarantines and coronavirus outbreaks occur each day, it’s helpful to be flexible with your travel plans. You might need to change or cancel your flight last minute, so it’s worth having piece of mind that you can get a refund if you need to do this.
3. Book Extra Seats Or At The Very Least, The Window Seat
A study published in 2018 found that the window seat is more likely to keep a passenger away from people who might be sick, because it is furthest from the aisle where more people move through the cabin. If you can, try book an entire row of seats on a plane or bus in order to give yourself extra distance from other passengers.
4. Be Aware of Travel Restrictions & Quarantine Periods
You won’t want to be stopped from entering a country because you’ve recently visited somewhere with a travel ban, so check that any transit airports or countries are not under any restrictions. Eg. you won’t be allowed to enter Australia if you have visited South Korea, China or Iran in the previous 14 days.
5. Limit Time Spend on Mass Transport
Yep, we’re talking about cruises here. According to an air quality expert from Purdue University, the air conditioning systems on cruise ships aren’t able to filter out viruses.
“It’s standard practice for the air conditioning systems of cruise ships to mix outside air with inside air to save energy. The problem is that these systems can’t filter out particles smaller than 5,000 nanometers,” says Qingyan Chen, PhD, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.
“If the coronavirus is about the same size as SARS, which is 120 nanometers in diameter, then the air conditioning system would be carrying the virus to every cabin.”
6. Avoid Sensationalist Media & Source Reliable Updates
It can be stressful to travel in times of such an overload of information and news, so look after your mental health and avoid any over-dramatic media outlets. Keep informed for sure, but take time offline to enjoy yourself too. We suggest following official government advice.
7. Use Tissues to Avoid Touching Door Handles
Try to avoid touching surfaces in public places, such as public bathrooms. Think about using your knuckles instead of your fingertips for pushing buttons and using paper towels or tissues for opening doors after washing your hands.