The COVID-19 pandemic has put a virtual stop to travel and many of us are wondering, when will we be able to travel safely again? Daily coronavirus case rates in the US and most popular tourist destinations around the world are still alarmingly high, and it looks like social distancing measures will almost certainly be in place until at least the middle of 2021.
Having said that, it is still possible to travel now, with only a handful of countries imposing a strict travel ban.
Is it Safe to Travel Abroad Now?
With the US by far having the most cases and coronavirus-related deaths of any country in the world, there’s a good chance that wherever you travel to abroad will have a lower per capita coronavirus infection rate than your home city or town.
However, the doesn’t necessarily mean traveling abroad is safe and encouraged, as there are additional risks of infection at airports and on planes or cruise ships, even with strict social distancing and disinfection regimes in place.
If possible, Boomers and other senior Americans should avoid traveling abroad unless necessary. For recreation, you should instead consider a staycation or an RV holiday, but ideally only with people from your household or established “bubble”.
There’s no denying that this will come as bad news for many, especially for Boomers, as they usually travel more than any other generation, but it’s simply not worth the risk. This is particularly true for people over the age of 60, as they have weaker immune systems and are therefore less likely to be able to fight off the virus should they be infected.
Can We Travel Safely on an Airplane?
Airlines have been hit hard this year. The idea of getting on an airplane with a bunch of strangers is an idea that doesn’t sit well with most people right now. As a result, Airlines have been hit hard with far fewer people willing to risk exposure to COVID-19.
According to a study just released by the US Department of Defense, the fear of traveling safely on an airplane may be misplaced.
The study showed that transmission of the virus through the air was reduced 99.7% thanks to high air exchange rates, HEPA-filtered recirculation and downward ventilation found on modern jets.
How Travel is Being Made Safer During the Pandemic
Airports, airlines and cruise providers were quick to respond to the pandemic – and they’ve stepped up their efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus in recent months.
Travel related businesses around the world are requiring masks and social distancing, with revised seating arrangements and one-way systems to try to spread out travelers as much as possible. The wearing of a face mask is also mandatory on airplanes and in airports.
Furthermore, many airlines, airports and hotels are switching to a completely contactless process, as they try to minimize the scope for coronavirus to be transmitted from one person to another.
Track and trace apps are also increasingly important, as they allow people to swiftly report symptoms of coronavirus and in turn make it easier for the authorities to reach out to people who may have come into contact with that person and therefore may also have been infected.
Not every country is utilizing such technology, but if you decide to travel abroad you should check beforehand, as many nations require tourists to download the app before arriving.
Finally, another effective measure which many countries have adopted is mandatory self-isolation periods – usually between 7 to 14 days.
Some governments were reluctant to implement this rule, as it makes traveling there much more expensive for tourists and will put many would-be visitors off, but most have given in and now require tourists from high-risk countries to self-isolate upon their arrival.
Alternatively, some nations are conducting PCR tests at their airports or relying on proof of a negative coronavirus test result from tourists to bypass the aforementioned requirement.
A Quick Summary
- It remains possible to travel abroad despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but recreational travel is not advisable for Boomers, as they are especially vulnerable to coronavirus.
- Instead, Americans over the age of 60 should consider staycations and RV holidays, as they don’t put you at an increased risk of contracting the virus.
- Hotels, airports and airlines have implemented measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.
- These include one-way systems, social distancing and stepped up disinfection and cleaning regimes.