Safe travel was a concern even before our lives were flipped upside down by the coronavirus. Hepatitis, e.coli, zika and a host of other threats to our health have been present throughout the years, and health precautions have always been necessary. Many of those viruses and diseases are still of concern today and we need to take the traditional precautions as well as our new pandemic precautions.
Safe Travel Before Covid-19
Before and after the pandemic you will want to follow these simple steps to keep yourself and your family healthy during your travels.
- Bacteria such as enterotoxigenic e. coli can be found in everything from drinking water to undercooked foods, so consider oral vaccines to prevent diarrheal illness.
- Get your immunizations. Since viruses like Hepatitis can be found in places like swimming pools, immunizations are really your best route for avoiding them.
- Read travel reviews before booking your resort.
- Check travel alerts for any worrisome viruses at your travel destination.
- Drink only bottled water at your destination.
- Use bottled water for brushing your teeth as well.
- Choose beverages that are not served with ice cubes.
- Use hand sanitizers regularly, particularly right before eating.
- Avoid sharing drinks or utensils, even with family members.
Travel During a Pandemic
All of the above precautions continue to be necessary for safe travel but our need for precautions has increased dramatically. Each community, province/state and country has its own set of rules around travel since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic. The first step for anyone considering travel would be to do the research on your preferred destination, the hotels and restaurants in the area and the methods of travel. With the status of the pandemic constantly in flux, it is essential to continually check on the recommendations before you travel.
Make Back-up Plans
The most diligent travel planner can run into unexpected challenges these days and it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to find yourself away from home for longer than originally expected. Cancelled flights, sudden virus symptoms or unexpected mandatory quarantine can throw a wrench into your plans. For this reason, you may want to reconsider any non-essential travel or choose to travel only to locations that you can reach by car. Make arrangements for pets or family at home and ensure that work can manage without you for additional days if necessary.
Take Additional Precautions for Safe Travel
Since most places require patrons to wear a mask, you will want to be prepared. Pack masks that you can comfortably wear for long periods of time, and bring extras with a system to sort your dirty and clean masks. Most drug stores sell medical masks by the package that will ensure you have sterile masks if needed.
If you are able to find disinfectant wipes, these are a valuable travel mate. Wipe down airline seats, armrests and tables, and use one to open and close doors. Lysol sells a travel spray that can fit in your purse or pocket and hand sanitizer comes in all sizes.
Safe Travel Packing List
Items you can carry in your personal carry-on bags:
- Wipes – baby wipes are great for clean up but disinfectant wipes are better
- Nail kit with tweezers – great for splinters
- Throat lozenges
- Lip balm
- Ginger lozenges for nausea – they don’t taste great but they are good for dealing with motion sickness
- Hand sanitizer in travel size for each person
- Eyeglass repair kit
Items of 100ml or less can go in a Ziploc bag in your carry on. Larger bottles must go in checked bags:
- Antibiotic cream
- Muscle cream
- Antihistamine cream for bug bites or rashes
Medication must be stored in a Ziploc bag in your carry on luggage, and shown to security at the airport:
- Prescription medications in their original packaging with the prescription information
- Emergency prescriptions, if your family has special health needs eg. an antibiotic if you are prone to infections
- Nausea medications
- Cold medications for adults and for children
- Anti-diarrhoea medications
- Eye drops – allergy and antibiotic
- Ear drops for swimmers ear
- Anbesol or something similar for toothaches
Some Other Helpful Items
I carry a few additional items in my checked bags. These are things that I hope I won’t have to use, but if the situation arises I will be glad I have them:
- Lice shampoo and lice comb – you won’t think you need it but I have learned from experience that travelling in places with a lot of children can lead to lice, and supplies for treatment are not readily available everywhere.
- Bed bug spray
- An extra cell phone – I have needed to use my spare phone on more than one occasion. A bag of rice has also come in handy during my travels, but most hotels can provide that to you if you need to dry out your phone.
Before you get ready to head off on your next family vacation, get your Healthy Travel Packing Guide so you won’t forget anything important.