We know that at least for the near future, travel remains something to be considered carefully due to COVID-19.
In line with this, the official Singapore travel advisory is still to avoid all non-essential travel.
However, if you do have essential travel coming up, like visiting an ill relative or travel for work, there are certain steps you can take to make your trip a much safer one for your peace of mind.
Tips for safer travel in 2020
Planning your trip
While some countries are beginning to open borders to visitors, each country is carrying out its own specific guidelines and laws to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll want to be aware of these rules well ahead of when you arrive there in order to best prepare and plan your trip.
For example, countries like Malaysia and South Korea have officially made wearing face masks in public mandatory. As of August 16th, Italy has also begun to enforce mandatory face masks between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. in places where groups are allowed to gather.
Most countries, such as South Korea, France and the UK also require a self-isolation period of at least 14 days upon arrival which you’ll definitely want to consider before you plan a trip there.
Certain countries also require certain health documentation prior to arrival and/or a COVID-19 test upon arrival such as Brazil and Egypt, which requires visitors to upload a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before departure.
| See more: Is it safe to travel right now? |
What to bring
In terms of what to bring, you’ll want to make sure you pack more than the usual essentials like sunscreen on this trip.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a must-have during your travels and you should pack it in your carry on to have it on hand at all times. These would include face masks, antiseptic wipes and hand sanitisers.
With face masks, the safest face masks to use by far are the N95 mask and three-layer surgical masks.
While N95 masks offer the highest grade of protection against the virus, these masks are produced in limited supplies and are best reserved for medical workers.
Hence, you might want to consider opting for a three-layer cloth mask as recommended by WHO.
When choosing antiseptic wipes to bring along on your trip, be sure to choose one with an alcohol content level of at least 40%. Anything below that will be ineffective in disinfecting the surfaces you use it on.
Common active ingredients to look for in these wipes include Chlorhexidine, povidone-iodine and hydrogen peroxide which are effective at killing bacteria.
Another thing to note is that antiseptic wipes are much more effective on surfaces rather than on your hands, for which you’ll need hand sanitiser instead.
Hand sanitiser is an absolute essential on your upcoming trip.
Travelling involves being in contact with many different environments, and so it’s best to be extra vigilant about hand hygiene.
Avoid touching your face unless they have been washed thoroughly and make sure to sanitize your hands regularly with a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% of alcohol.
Of course, be sure to wash your hands with soap thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.
Before your flight
You might be concerned about the safety of travelling on a plane due to COVID-19.
While this is a concern and brings a certain amount of risk because it involves an enclosed space with other passengers for a number of hours, there is actually a higher risk involved off-board with crowded boarding areas and security lines.
When waiting to board your flight, try your absolute best to keep a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and strangers. Other than that, be sure to keep your face mask on at all times when you’re out in public.
During your flight
While airlines have imposed stricter sanitisation schedules onboard the aircraft, many airlines may be understaffed and so it’s always wise to remain vigilant with surfaces you come into contact with. These would include tables, seats, doorknobs and so on.
To the best of your ability, make sure to wipe down these surfaces with disinfectant wipes, with an alcohol content of at least 40%, before using them. After coming into contact with these surfaces, be sure to use a high-quality hand sanitiser or wash your hands.
If possible, choose the furthest available seat from the restroom, as this area will have the most passersby.
Keep the vent above you open and directed towards you as this creates an airflow, which, to a certain extent, restricts exhaled air from other passengers near you.
During your trip
Choose your accommodation carefully and make sure to do your due diligence on the reputation of the hotel you’re staying at.
While an Airbnb rental will generally be more cost-effective than a hotel, they may not be held to the same standards of cleanliness or safety that larger hotels will. So while you may be saving some money, you need to carefully weigh the health risks of the lodgings you choose.
If the country you’re travelling to provides a COVID-19 hotspot tracker such as MoveInSync used in India, be sure use it to plan which spots are safer to visit and which to steer clear of due to COVID-19 infections reported within the area.
While travel may not be the safest at this moment in time, there are certain ways to take precautions and be vigilant on your trip if you do have to travel for essential reasons.
And remember, no matter where you travel to, always protect yourself by choosing the best travel insurance to fit your needs.