Safe vacations and traveling during coronavirus: Advice to follow – TODAY

Posted: June 21, 2020 at 2:05 pm

As summer revs up, many families who've planned vacations and long-anticipated reunions are left wondering whether it's safe to travel during the coronavirus outbreak. Most states have reopened, giving residents a semblance of normalcy, but COVID-19 cases are still rising in some areas.

The good news is you can travel this summer, especially if you stay within U.S. borders, as there are still many restrictions on international travel and if you follow basic precautions.

"Its OK to have fun, (but) do it safely," Saad Omer, director of Yale Institute for Global Health in New Haven, Connecticut, told TODAY. "You just need to strike a balance."

Here are some ways to take a safe vacation during the COVID-19 outbreak, from the best modes of transportation to tips to plan safe gatherings.

Naturally, how safe your vacation will be depends on where you're going. Omer and NBC investigative and consumer correspondent Vicky Nguyen offered these tips.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, flying can be safer than going to a restaurant or public pool, Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told TODAY. That's in part because airlines and airports have measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It's also now believed that high-touch surfaces aren't as common a method of transmission as previously thought.

Still, flying doesn't come without risk. Here are some ways to lower your risk and your family's if you travel by plane.

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Dr. Allison Agwu, an infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told TODAY that driving will be safer than flying because "you have more control in your own personal space." Here are some recommendations for staying safe on the road.

Experts believe hotels and vacation rental homes pose a similar risk of coronavirus transmission. But they're safer than staying with family or friends, Omer said. Some strategies to consider:

Staying with people without quarantining separately for two weeks after your travel period increases risk of coronavirus transmission, Omer said. But if you can't stay in a separate space, he recommended:

Because they're outdoors, beaches, Omer said, are a safe summer activity, provided they're not too crowded. Still, you should take these precautions:

Outdoor pools come with a similar risk level as beaches, but they have the added benefit of chlorine, which kills the coronavirus. Skip indoor pools. Outdoors, follow the same guidelines for beaches, and these:

Restaurants around the country have started reopening with new safety measures, like reduced capacity and disposable dinnerware. Call ahead to make sure the restaurant has space to seat you, and consider these tips:

Another beloved summer pastime is barbecuing in the great outdoors. Having people over can be a safe activity, with these precautions:

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Safe vacations and traveling during coronavirus: Advice to follow - TODAY

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