Traveling For Work During The Pandemic? Here’s How To Play It Safe
Post Written By Maurice Harary Forbes Councils Member
The world has adjusted to countless changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, and working professionals are no exception. While many Americans are working remotely for the foreseeable future, others are returning to the office and even traveling for business ventures again.
When we absolutely need to travel to a client’s office — and for us, that can be anywhere throughout the United States — we always take the utmost precautions to minimize the risk of catching Covid-19, even if we can’t completely eliminate that risk.
If your work requires you to jet back and forth during the pandemic, here are some steps I take that can help you feel safer and more at ease during your travels:
Pack a Covid-19 prep kit.
Whether you are flying or driving to your destination, there are some items you can pack to be more prepared. I recommend travel-sized versions of any liquid products, which can easily be found in pharmacies and department stores alike. Here are a few other items to consider:
- Masks: If you use disposable masks, pack at least one for each day you plan to be gone. If you use reusable or cloth masks, pack at least two, that way you always have a clean one. It’s recommended to clean your masks after a day’s use.
- Hand sanitizer: Opt for a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, and keep it in your carry-on or in a spot where it’s easy to reach.
- Disinfecting wipes: Keep these near your hand sanitizer so you can easily disinfect surfaces before you touch them.
- Hand cream: All that washing and hand sanitizer can dry your skin. Bring a moisturizing cream that you can use in between to protect your hands from cracking or peeling.
Do your research before you leave.
Look into the infection rates in the area you are traveling to. Are they similar to where you live, or should you take extra precautions? Does your employer require any kind of isolation measures after you return?
If you are staying in a hotel, you can call ahead and ask about their cleaning and safety measures related to Covid-19. Consider the distance between your lodging and meeting places, as well. Do you need to arrange other travel, such as a cab or Lyft, or take public transportation? Work out all of the logistical details so you can plan precautions as needed.
For after-hours, research local restaurants that offer carry-out, deliver or drive-thru services during the pandemic. You may also want to look into the nearest drug store in case you run out of hand sanitizer, masks or other wellness items during your travels.
If you’re in public, wear a mask.
Masks can help protect you from Covid-19 in both indoor and outdoor settings. As you navigate the airport, gas stations, restaurants and even more private modes of transportation like Ubers, wearing a mask is one of the simplest ways to protect yourself.
If you stop at a toll booth on your drive into Chicago, for example, strap on your mask before you interact with the attendant. Use hand sanitizer after interactions to further minimize your chances of spreading or contracting Covid-19.
Keep in mind the limitations that your mask may present, as well. When I travel under normal circumstances — especially when I fly — I always carry a big water bottle that I refill at every opportunity. During the pandemic, however, I wait to hydrate until I’m at my destination so that I can wear my mask the whole time.
Be mindful of your hands.
As the CDC recommends, avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth in public places, even if you are wearing gloves. If you wear gloves, pack multiple pairs that you can throw away to avoid cross-contamination.
While using hand sanitizer is effective at stopping the spread of germs, the best way to clean your hands is to wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Do this every opportunity you get, but at the very least, I recommend a thorough scrubbing when you arrive at your destination.
You can also carry a travel-sized moisturizer or hand cream to treat your hands in between washes. According to the Washington Post, moisturizing your hands can preserve your skin’s natural barrier and make you less susceptible to infection.
When you arrive at your hotel, leave your shoes and bag at the door.
You may even want to disinfect the surfaces in your room — touch points such as door handles, tabletops, drawers and faucets. Even if you don’t go to this extent, stripping out of any clothing or accessories that have been through the airport can help minimize the spread of germs into your lodging quarters.
Put your travel clothes in a plastic bag and disinfect the outside of your suitcase, then hop in the shower. Not only can this help protect you from Covid-19, but it’s also a great way to relax after a long day on the road!
While the risks of Covid-19 present challenges to everyday life and travel, it’s important that we remain diligent during both our personal and professional lives to not only protect ourselves but also to protect our co-workers, family and friends. If we all do our part, we’ll be telling Covid-19 to hit the road before we know it.
While I am not a medical professional, the advice from the CDC and other experts is critical to follow. I urge you to continue monitoring the CDC website for the latest information and tips.
Forbes Article Link: Traveling For Work During The Pandemic? Here’s How To Play It Safe