It’s the middle of summer, so it’s the perfect time to head out on a vacation. But this year’s vacation is unlikely to be as normal, since although we all desperately want to celebrate the as we have been used to doing by hugging, shaking hands and being close to each other, nothing has changed concerning the Covid-19 that makes social-distancing necessary.
No doubt, staying at home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick, but as the country begins to ease the restrictions introduced to halt the spread of the pandemic, many people are impatient to flee to sea and coastal resorts after spending long days filled with the anxiety, stress and challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Though hitting the road may be a good idea for a good vacation, it’s not risk-free in terms of the virus. And while there’s no way to completely eliminate your risk of contracting Covid-19 while travelling, it’s more important than ever to keep safety in mind every step of the way.
Here are some tips that will help you to enjoy your vacation safely:
Pack plenty of face masks:
Take these with you on vacation to wear in public places and on beaches, as well as enough hand sanitiser, disinfecting wipes and medicines to last you for your entire trip.
Wear your mask, bring your own food and drinks to beaches and pools, wear gloves in public bathrooms, avoid sitting close to people, wash or sanitise your hands as much as you can and be mindful of your entire environment.
Choose a suitable destination:
Select a destination that allows you to social-distance. A big city or a crowded attraction is not a great place to travel to right now, as it’s believed that the virus spreads mainly from person to person.
Don’t travel if you’re sick or have been exposed to someone with Covid-19. Similarly, you shouldn’t travel with anyone who is sick or who has been exposed to the virus. When travelling, opt for big rest stops and large open bathrooms with plenty of airflow rather than a petrol station with a single toilet. Rest stops, like airports, can be high-risk areas as they may include crowds of people travelling from different areas.
Think about renting:
Consider renting an apartment instead of going to a hotel. You can clean the apartment when you arrive and have full control, while in hotels there may be so many surfaces and lift buttons and people coming in and out of your room for cleaning services and general housekeeping that you lose a little bit of that control.
When renting your vacation spot, ask about any precautions or sanitation policies the owners are taking. Surfaces should be wiped down, and it’s preferable to pack your own linens.
Keep your family or the number of your friends low while on vacation. Ensure that your hosts are healthy and have been practising safe social-distancing. Remember that the larger the group, the higher the risk.
It’s recommended not to use public restrooms in general, and if near beaches make sure they’re cleaned regularly. Arm yourself with gloves and disinfecting wipes and wash your hands thoroughly with soap.
Practise social-distancing on beaches, around the pool, on the deck and on lounge chairs to reduce the spread of the virus. Leave the pool if it gets busy and take a break until fewer people are in the water. The chlorine used in swimming pools kills most germs, and there’s no evidence that the virus can be spread to humans through pools, especially if they are well-maintained.
Take care while eating out:
When eating out, be sure to maintain social-distancing. This is the safest option, though it may get tougher as more coffee shops and restaurants start to open again, and more and more people start to visit them. Remember that any indoor places you might visit are at higher risk for the virus.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 6 August, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly