After being locked down inside your home for months, surely you might be wanting to go on a vacation yourself with your family this holiday season as local travel restrictions ease. After all, with everything that has been happening, every one of us is in need of a break. Still, we're reminding you right off the bat — we're still in the midst of a pandemic. As it is with going out for work or for groceries, stepping out your home always comes with risks. So if you're really set on curbing your wanderlust, here are some domestic travel safety tips you can follow during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Planning your trip:

Choose your destination wisely

Different regions enact different protocols for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before anything else, do your research to check if the place you want to visit is open for visitors. Some remain in strict lockdown, not allowing non-essential travels of non-locals to cross their borders. Meanwhile, others could be open for everyone except minors, senior citizens, and immunocompromised persons. There are also local destinations that would require you to go on quarantine once you arrive but there are also a lot that allow you to visit with minimal health requirements. Know beforehand what’s needed to be done so you can schedule your trip accordingly.

Aside from this, here’s another domestic travel safety tip you can consider: take the chance to visit off the beaten tracks instead of the usual tourist spots people are most likely flocking to. This way you're less exposed and at the same time, you wouldn’t be compromising more people in the unfortunate case that you are infected.

Backpacker on a mountain trip during COVID-19
Visit places with less tourists for your safety. Photo by Philipp Kämmerer / Unsplash

Consider different modes of transportation

There are increased rates of COVID-19 infection in closed spaces according to different studies. It’s important that the environment you’re in is well-ventilated so the virus doesn’t spread quicker. Given this fact, decide if you're alright travelling in buses or airplanes where you're seated closely with strangers. Travelling in public transportation puts you more at risk because you’re confined in tight environments with people you can’t easily track.

Right now, the safest way to travel domestically with your family during COVID-19 pandemic is by your own private or rented car. Only through this can you ensure that the people you’re with are safe and sound. Enjoy a road trip instead of flying out for a change. It’s not as quick but you can take the hours on the road to bond with everyone so it’s a win either way, right?

Find a trustworthy accommodation

Speaking of confined spaces and transmission rates, ideally, you'd want a place where air flows in and out more freely. Even better — an accommodation that's separated from other tourists. Instead of booking hotel rooms situated in buildings, opt for resorts with separated villas and cottages. This way, you won’t be further exposed when riding elevators or walking through halls with other guests.

Before you reserve a date for your domestic travel, make sure to review the sanitation protocols of the establishment you’re staying at. It would be great if they're transparent and reviews of past guests validate the cleanliness they promise. If you're unsure, ask the management what they do to sanitize their rooms before booking.

A hotel resort for a holiday trip.
Staying in hotels might be riskier than resorts with separate villas. Photo by Christian Lambert / Unsplash

Plan your meals

When you decide where you’ll be staying, take into account the dining options available. As a safety tip for your domestic travel, do a quick check. Are the in-house restaurants cramped? Do they offer room service? Best case scenario is that you'd be allowed to cook or bring your own food to your room so there’s less contact. But if you don't want to go through the hassle of preparing your own meals, at least make sure that the place has a huge dining area or you'd have the option to dine al fresco.

Avoid contact

Some places might already require you to do this, but if not, perhaps think about doing a 14-day quarantine prior to your trip. Isolate yourself and your family at home, taking care not to leave at all during this time, so you aren't exposed to the virus and won't expose the locals in your destination. It's an added sacrifice, sure, but it'll surely be worth it knowing you can go on an escapade in peace not infecting anyone.

Finally, if someone in your household got sick or got in contact with someone who is ill prior to your trip, consider delaying it altogether. Whether or not it’s caused by coronavirus, it’s still a cause for worry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) details scenarios where it’s absolutely a must postpone your trip. Think about getting a swab test done to ensure everyone’s safety before you leave.

During your vacation:

Don’t forget your your essentials

When packing for your trip, aside from your clothing and toiletries, don't forget to include your safety gear. Bring your facemasks and face shields, with a few extras in case you lose them. These items are our first lines of defense against diseases, so wearing them at all times is necessary for coronavirus prevention.

Domestic travel safety tips include bringing extra face masks for your family.
Bring extra face masks for your family. Photo by Vera Davidova / Unsplash

Always disinfect

Aside from that, it can also put your mind more at ease if you bring your own disinfecting solutions and cleaning agents. Your accommodation should have updated cleaning processes in this time, but being doubly sure wouldn’t hurt. When you arrive in the room, you can first disinfect the room by spraying the air and wiping frequently-touched surfaces before settling down.

Have safe fun

As always, practice social distancing measures. Stay six feet away from others, don't just take off your masks and shields just because you’re far away from one another. Make a habit of these safety tips and you can go off and enjoy your holiday trip with your family.

After returning home:

Minimize exposure

Your trip might be over but the implementing precautionary measures doesn't end there. When you arrive home, it would be great if you can isolate yourselves again at home. In case you still got exposed on your trip, this would at least ensure that your community won't be further exposed when you go about doing your errands outside.

If any of your family members get sick 14 days after your domestic travel, minimize contact with people and book a virtual appointment with a doctor. SeeYouDoc offers online consultation services so a licensed professional can help you with your health concerns and see if it’s worth worrying about. And as always, you can get tested for the virus just to be sure.

All these, undeniably takes a lot of effort. But then again, it's unprecedented times we're living in and we have to adjust to the new normal to stay safe and healthy. Whether we're travelling this holiday season or not, it's always good if we're mindful of our actions for the sake of everyone's safety. Each of us is responsible for fighting the spread. Let’s beat COVID-19 by working through this together so that all may go back to the days of free travel and exploration.

Sources: The Washington Post, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rappler