Holiday 2020: Packing and Travel Tips during Covic
Remember those long-ago days, circa 2019, when holiday packing tips meant remembering to leave the presents unwrapped, and allowing extra time at crowded airports? And the biggest worry about all the relatives in one room was the seating arrangement at dinner?
As with everything else in 2020, Covid19 has changed packing and planning. That holiday trip now has its own set of tips to go along with that ticket.
1. Mask Up!! Airlines are requiring masks to be worn at all times. That means when checking in, when boarding, and during the flight. If you have a long flight, or connecting flights, consider a couple of masks in case the one you have on gets sweaty or dirty. Try to defy the rule and you’ll end up on a “no fly” list. Delta alone has permanently banned over 400 people for refusing to wear a mask.
2. Bring your own pens. Several of them. There are always forms to fill out, especially if traveling internationally, but even for signing credit card receipts. No need to worry about who used the pen you have in your hand.
3. Some, but not all, airlines have blocked middle seats for extra social distancing. However, more people will be traveling over the holidays than during the last couple of months. Check with your airline. If your flight is too full for your comfort level, request another flight.
4. Airports are open, but not all the airport vendors. Expect fewer food and drink options. Businesses that are open will likely only have pre-packaged food and drink options, no full-service dining. The best bet is to bring your own sandwiches and snacks.
5. Add sanitizing lotions and wipes to your carryon packing list. TSA now allows up to 12 ounces of sanitizing solutions to the usual 3-ounce liquid limit. All major airlines are disinfecting equipment between flights, but no one will mind if you give your seat or tray or bathroom handle an extra swipe. Plus, you might need the cleaning stuff for common touch areas in your hotel.
6. And speaking of the hotel, make sure it is still open. Also, find out what food options, if any, are available. Forget that beautiful, all you can eat breakfast buffet you enjoyed on your pre-Covid visit. Expect a few single-serve pre-packaged options, at best.
7. Check the Covid related requirements at your destination. Or your holiday trip could turn into a prison-like nightmare. Some international destinations require proof of a negative test less than 72 hours old. Some destinations, including some states, require quarantine for up to 14 days. The rules vary state by state, country by country, and are constantly changing. Don’t think you can bluff your way out of the requirements. There are very sophisticated ways of tracking your movements, and fines for breaking rules can be steep.
8. If you have had a negative Covid test, PRINT out the documentation. Airport officials, especially at international destinations, want to see that piece of paper. A message on your phone is NOT sufficient.
9. Check the Covid requirements at your home. Your boss will not be happy if you travel for the holidays, and then are required to stay home for 14 days before returning to work.
10. If visiting family and friends, make sure everyone is on the same page regarding safe practices. If indoors for any length of time, everyone should be following protocols of masking, social distancing, single use utensils for dining. No buffets or sharing dishes.
11. Be sensitive about others who cannot travel due to Covid. They would love to be with family and friends, and seeing all those Facebook postings of people laughing and eating together might be difficult.