For months, nearly the entire world has been on lockdown, with only essential travel permitted. As restrictions ease, any and all COVID travel that takes people farther from home will become more common. Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, if you’re considering a trip that takes you across Europe rather than across town, consider these coronavirus precautions.
Before COVID Travel
Preparation is always key, and that’s especially true for COVID travel. Before you even decide to take a trip, there are many things for you to consider.
Consider Your Risk
Anyone can contract COVID, but some groups are at a greatest risk of serious illness and mortality. High-risk people include those over age 65, those with chronic conditions like asthma or diseases of the lungs, heart, liver and kidneys, those who are immunocompromised, and diabetic or obese people.
Consider not only whether you’re in one of these groups, but also whether you come in close contact with anyone who is, for example, if you have an older or immunocompromised person living with you. Also keep in mind that if you work in a high-risk environment like a hospital or nursing home, you may be asked to self-quarantine when you return, regardless of your destination.
Get Educated About COVID Travel
Uncertainty is high in the current travel environment. Rules and regulations for travel change daily, and depend on the country and even the town where you plan on travelling. Always look up the rules in your desired destination: Can you travel there? Are there restrictions on certain travel types, like air travel? And what rules will you need to follow once you arrive?
Always get the recommended vaccines for your destination. While there is no vaccine for the coronavirus, getting vaccinated for other diseases can lower your risk for contracting an illness that could lower your immune response. Lowered immune function due to having another form of flu or other disease can then, in turn, increase your risk to contract coronavirus. Getting vaccinated should still be at the top of your list for how to prevent coronavirus when travelling.
Consider Your Travel Type
Whether you plan to fly, drive or take the train are important not only due to travel restrictions but also because how to prevent coronavirus when travelling differs depending on your method of transportation. Air travel carries the highest risk, because you are standing in line and sitting very close to others for hours a time. You also share many frequently touched surfaces in airports. Bus and train travel are also high risk, especially if you use the bathrooms or get off at a rest stop.
If you can take care of your COVID travel by car, this may be your best bet. In an car, you can control your contact with others and ensure air circulation. However, stopping for gas, food and bathroom breaks can still put you at risk. Make sure you practice good hygiene even during car travel.
Coronavirus Precautions During Travel
When your trip is booked and you’re ready to go, knowing how to prevent coronavirus when travelling becomes even more essential. Here’s what you need to know.
Take Coronavirus Precautions
No matter what type of transportation you’re using, you’ll need to take some basic precautions to travel during the coronavirus. Learn the best procedures for how to prevent coronavirus when travelling, including washing your hands frequently, not touching your face, and keeping as much distance as possible between you and other travellers. Wearing masks is now required in many countries, especially if travelling in close quarters, so you’ll need to learn how to use one properly.
Ideally, you’ll take several masks with you while you’re travelling so that you can avoid reusing a contaminated mask. Always put the mask on with clean hands, and make sure it covers your mouth and nose. Avoid touching the mask while it’s on; wash your hands if you do. Remove the mask by the elastic – don’t touch the front of it. After you take the mask off, it’s best to use a new one rather than re-use the same mask. Wash your cloth masks as much as circumstances allow.
Stay Up to Date
Staying on the lookout for alerts and advisories is vital during COVID travel. The situation changes daily in most areas, with new outbreaks, recoveries and fluctuating cases making restrictions hard to predict. Your destination may put new rules in place without notice. Also check with your accommodation on the day you’re set to arrive to ensure they are still open and taking guests, and to confirm what coronavirus precautions they are taking.
Additional rules and restrictions may come from your airline. Flight cancellations and changes are extremely common in the current climate. Keep in mind that you still have passenger rights under EU 261 even if your flight is cancelled due to coronavirus. The airline must still offer you a refund or re-routing, and you have the right to meals as you wait and hotel accommodation if you must wait overnight.
You’re back home, and you’ve followed all the tips for how to prevent coronavirus when travelling. Unfortunately, you’re not out of the woods yet.
Keep Your Distance
Even if you return home and you’re not showing any symptoms, you must keep taking coronavirus precautions. The median time from exposure to the coronavirus is about 4–5 days, and the majority show symptoms within 11 days. However, the incubation period could be up to 14 days for some people.
In addition, you can be contagious before you begin showing symptoms. If you’ve returned home from COVID travel, it’s therefore important to continue to keep your distance from others for 14 days. This is especially true if you live or work with vulnerable populations like the elderly or sick.
Monitor Your Health
The coronavirus’s long incubation period also means you may feel great when you first return home. You begin to think you mastered how to prevent coronavirus when travelling and you’re out of the woods. But you must keep a close eye on your health.
If you begin to show symptoms, you should seek medical care. Symptoms include:
- muscle aches and fatigue,
- loss of taste of smell,
- sore throat and congestion.
If your symptoms progress and you experience difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure and difficulty staying awake, seek emergency care immediately.
The ability to claim compensation under EU 261, beyond a refund for your ticket and arrangements while you wait in the airport, depends on the reason for your flight delay or cancellation. If it was due to circumstances that were within the airline’s control, for example a mechanical or staffing issue, you may be entitled to compensation. It’s always smart to check with your airline about the reason for the cancellation or delay – don’t just assume it is because of the coronavirus.
Also keep in mind that you may be able to make a claim for flights going back up to 6 years. While the statue of limitations varies depending on the country within which you’ll file the claim, most EU countries average around 6 years. Contact us to see how we can help you get any money you may be owed.