Planning a vacation or work travel this summer? Infectious disease experts across the country agree: Postpone it if you can.
If you must travel, the next best thing is that you take extra precautions at every step along your journey, including where you sleep at night.
Carilion Clinic's director of Carilion Clinic's Infection Prevention and Control reminds travelers to stick to the basics wherever they are:
- Stay home if you can
- Practice social distancing: a minimum of six feet from others, avoid crowds, limit in-person contact with people you don't live with
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or, in a pinch, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Wear a mask in public places
Hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing are vital when you stay in lodging that other people have recently used.
“Hand hygiene is probably the most important thing in these settings,” says Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, M.D. “You can probably take the face mask off when you are alone or only with your family.”
Make sure ahead of time that the facility is reputable, and that it has—and sticks to—thorough cleaning and safety practices.
Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie's advice is consistent with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on overnight stays:
- Reserve, check in and pay online
- Call ahead to see if face coverings are mandatory for staff
- Look for plexiglass barriers at the desk, physical distancing signs in the lobby and other signs of extra effort
- Ask about the hotel's cleaning and disinfecting policies
- Bring disinfectant to use on frequently touched items and surfaces:
- Room keys
- Light switches
- Remote controls
- Elevator buttons
- Water fountains
- ATMs/card payment stations
- Business center computers and printers
- Ice/vending machines
- Wear a cloth face covering whenever you leave your hotel room
- Try to avoid break rooms, lounge areas, small patios, game rooms ... and unfortunately, the hotel pool, hot tub, sauna, spa, salon and fitness center too
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator (a great way to get in some extra steps!)
How Will You Get There?
For guidance about traveling by car, and precautions to take before you hit the road and during your drive, see Is It Safe To Visit Grandpa?
See Planes, Trains, Automobiles and COVID-19 if you're traveling with strangers.
And when you get home, take care to self-isolate for up to 14 days if your circumstances call for it.