In the past two weeks, COVID-19 has transformed from a Chinese (and to a certain degree, South Korean and Japanese) epidemic and into a global pandemic, with new cases currently spiking in the West as the virus spreads across the globe. Travel to some corners of the globe is not advised under any circumstances, with a high degree of caution being a smart move for anyone currently on the move.
As a travel start-up, we believe in the virtues of travel. However, we take the COVID-19 threat seriously and urge all travelers to take caution when they pack their bags. We’ve conducted hours upon hours of research, and the following is the best information we, and you, will find on traveling during this time.
What is Coronavirus, and how does it spread?
Coronavirus does not refer directly to this virus, but to any virus which is first borne by an animal and transferred to humans. COVID-19 is the precise name of this strain of the virus, and the reason it is being called novel is that it is new, and not seen before.
It’s believed to be spread by respiratory droplets produced from a cough or sneeze. The virus is airborne and is thought to be able to contaminate with a 6 feet range. Touching contaminated surfaces and then inhaling/ingesting can also result in falling ill.
Should I Go?
Sure, we know how great travel is. Or sometimes, you just need to travel. But this time, do you really need to go? Where are you going? Is it wise? Check the resources at the bottom of this post to ensure you’re as informed as possible about your upcoming trip.
Take Flight Precautions
Try not to find yourself in crowded areas of any airport (particularly in higher risk areas). Maintaining distance from people who could be carrying the virus is a great way to keep yourself safe.
If you’re touching it, and a lot of people could have touched it, sanitize it before you touch it. Or, sanitize your hands prior, and immediately following touching it. This includes tray tables, seats, seatbelts, armrests, ATMs and doors and anything to do with a bathroom. Put the remote for your seat-screen in a plastic bag and use it from there. Sanitize some more. Carry an alcohol-based sanitizer (CDC recommends 60-95% alcohol) and baby wipes with you everywhere.
Use your own kit
Bring your own fresh cutlery for the plane meals. Drink from your own water bottle. Take no chances.
WHO suggests a mask is only necessary if you’re in close contact with someone you suspect of having COVID-19. We think it would be prudent to carry a mask with you on a plane and put it on if you see someone who seems ill around you.
At Your Destination
Exercise caution in tourist areas
In large areas attracting tourists from all over the world, be sure to exercise extreme caution, particularly in countries where outbreaks threaten. It only takes one person to have the infection, and that’s more likely in the melting pot that is a high-volume tourist area.
Avoid Large Gatherings
Many people travel for events, but we’re saying it’s best to avoid large gatherings, like this rugby match in Australia where a man went with COVID. These types of events put you in close proximity to people in a foreign area. With the virus spreading, it really isn’t where you are which impacts whether or not you get the disease, but rather how well you isolate yourself. It’s hard when traveling, but we recommend you stay away from these large events.
Street Food & Wet Markets
Better safe than sorry. We are literally building our start up on the local experience, but encourage you to exercise caution in local markets, and not attend wet markets with open-air between you and any meat. Stay away from street food, too. Even if you’re unlikely to get coronavirus, any kind of sickness puts you in 14-day isolation. There goes your trip.
Don’t risk it.
Plan & Structure
We don’t advocate for keeping your travels on railroads, but at this time, getting off the beaten path has inherent risk. Carefully plan your trip prior to going, and stick to your itinerary. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a blast, but it does help you safeguard yourself from making impulse trips you don’t need to make and could put you at risk.
Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene
Don’t lose the vigor you had whilst flying. Your hygiene is of utmost importance. Keep a sanitizer and baby wipes with you. Maintain your personal hygiene. Don’t slip up here.
The Best Resources to Stay Updated
As far as official records go, this is where you’ve to find the best information about the threat, and the global response. Tune in for this daily brief to know what’s happening, and where.
This American health organisation has similarly up-to-date information and other guidelines, including those to travelers. It is also updated on a rolling basis.
Your Nation’s Foreign Affairs Website
Check the traveler advice being offered to you by your government’s foreign health ministry, and any restrictions they are imposing you travel to and from other nations around the world.
Your Local Newspaper
Wherever you are, select your trusted news source and follow their updates. It’s likely they’ll have a live feed of information rolling throughout the day. This is the best way to get the most up-to-date information and keep you ahead of the curve wherever you are.
The Local Newspaper Where You’re Traveling
Wherever you’re headed, monitor the situation closely by doing the same. Keeping an eye on trusted news sources is going to give you a better on-the-ground picture of your destination, and help you make better decisions about your travels.
Avendi’s Daily Update
We’ll be collating the most useful information and data on COVID-19, and putting out an easy to ingest infographic on our socials daily. Follow us on IG (@goavendi) or Twitter (@avendime) for these updates.
Have you got any other tips for staying safe, or another great resource people may want to know about? Let us know, and we’ll be sure to include them here.