Tips for reducing your COVID-19 risk while traveling

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Spring break is upon us and many families are eager to go on a long-awaited vacation.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still asking us to hold off on travel to contain the spread of COVID-19.

But, if you can’t resist the temptation to travel, Frank Esper, MD, an infectious disease specialist with Cleveland Clinic Children’s, suggests avoiding places where groups of people may congregate.

“If you’re going to travel, to make it as safe as possible. So, try to avoid the crowds at something like an airport, or bus terminal, or train station,” he said.

Dr. Esper said driving is a safer alternative. But, you’ll want to avoid too many stops to reduce exposure risk.

“Try not to eat out. So, if you can pack lunches for that trip, or at least some foods and snacks, so you don’t have to stop nearly as often, that’s also going to help,” Dr. Esper said.

He reminds us outdoor activities are best, but only if we can maintain six feet of social distance.

“If you do happen to be at a beach, that’s great. But, it is best to not be around other people,” said Dr. Esper. “It is better for you to be camping than it is for you to be at a resort.”

The same goes for people who are fully vaccinated.

“There’s no difference between travel restrictions for vaccinated and unvaccinated. Just because you’re vaccinated, you may be safe yourself but we still don’t know if that prevents you from transmitting it to other people so, you might not get sick, but can you still transmit? We don’t know that yet,” Dr. Esper said.

The CDC recommends wearing a mask in public, COVID-19 testing before and after travel, and quarantine upon returning home.

Also, if you’re leaving the state, it’s a good idea to check pandemic travel restrictions, as they vary from state-to-state.