GratGuide to travel and safety before you go: PANDEMIC special

Isn’t travel still risky now that COVID-19 vaccines are changing the course of the pandemic?

This is one question that troubles most travel enthusiasts. So yes, it is definitely less risky! But precaution is better than cure isn’t it? Especially with this deadly virus!

Not vaccinated yet? Experts consider driving to be the safest way to travel.

With growing numbers of Indians getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and infection rates dropping around the country, travel is feeling a lot safer than it did last year.

Someone who is fully vaccinated, is not taking much of a risk if they travel now.They still need to take some precautions, but will still be hugely different than it was in the past.

But for people who are not fully immunised or are taking a trip with others who aren’t — such as children who are currently ineligible for a COVID-19 vaccine— AVOID TRAVELLING or at least take precautions!

The following 10 tips will help ensure that everyone in your traveling party remains healthy and no one brings home any unwanted souvenirs.

1. Know the COVID-19 Rate Where You Live

Even if you’re vaccinated, it’s still important to assess COVID-19 levels in your community. If they’re high, you are at greater risk of developing COVID-19,

“Vaccination is excellent in protecting people, but it is not perfect and we do see a small number of vaccinated persons developing a breakthrough infection. Thankfully, these infections tend to be less severe,” says an infectious diseases specialist at Yale Medicine and associate professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

If you’re traveling by plane, train, or bus from a place where a lot of people have COVID-19, the odds will be higher that a passenger near you or your group could have the disease, says experts.

Of course, this is especially worrisome if not everyone in your traveling party is vaccinated.

You can check for the latest COVID data updates by clicking on this link.

2. Assess COVID-19 Rates at Your Destination

The infection rate at your destination is also a important factor to consider. If you’re heading to a location that’s red-hot with COVID-19, your chances of becoming ill there do rise, even if you’ve been vaccinated.

You can find an area’s test positivity rate (a key measure of virus circulation levels) on the website of its local public health department. Or search for the color-coded risk level at

For trips outside India, you must check the particular country/state department website to determine what the virus rates are and what entry restrictions apply. This may vary by vaccination status. For instance, countries like UAE,Spain and UK recently agreed to allow vaccinated Indians to visit, lifting certain restrictions.

3. Consider Your (and Your Host’s) Vaccination Status and Health Situation

A key question to think about is how risky would traveling be for YOU. Everything with COVID-19 needs to be individualised. You need to view everything through your personal perspective

Are you unvaccinated? Do you have any underlying health conditions? Are you at a high risk for severe COVID-19 consequences? And what about the people you’re traveling with or visiting? Is it possible that they have a compromised immune system and remain vulnerable to COVID-19 even if they’ve been vaccinated.

In these cases, flying on a plane or going to a crowded place with many other vacationers may be risky. But driving to an isolated vacation spot could be okay.

4. Think About Testing Around Your Trip

If you or those you’re traveling with have not been vaccinated, you should take some time out to take a COVID-19 test in the days before you leave. Getting a negative result will reduce the odds you’ll unknowingly bring the virus to your destination.

Even if the state rules don't oblige you to take a test, it’s always good to be responsible! Isn't it?

5. Decide on Your Mode of Travel

For anyone who wishes to travel in these times, experts consider driving OR any private mode of transportation to be the safest form of transportation, especially if the destination can be reached within a day, because this substantially limits interactions with other people.

Flying can also be relatively safe. As of now, airlines continue to require all passengers to wear masks onboard. If you have not been vaccinated, be sure to remain in your seat as much as possible during the flight and keep your mask on nearly all the time, especially when other passengers nearby remove theirs to eat or drink.

Traveling by bus likely requires extra vigilance for unvaccinated people, as the ventilation systems (an important way that microbes are removed from the air) may not be as good as those on planes.

6. Don’t Obsess, But Do Clean Your Accommodation.

You can vacation pretty much as usual if you have been vaccinated, says a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.This means you can stay in a regular homestay room if you prefer, rather than limiting yourself only to isolated rental homes as many did last year..

Even so, it’s smart to continue some safety habits, such as using antibacterial wipes to disinfect hotel room light switches, doorknobs, the TV remote, and other high-touch objects over and above the sanitisation done by the housekeeping team without being obsessive about cleaning everything. While the risk of contracting COVID-19 from a surface is minimal, basic cleaning can protect against other germs too.

7. Choose Takeouts over Dine ins.

Till recently, it was strongly recommended by experts that it was not safe to eat inside a restaurant, so they suggested that people get takeout if they had to.. That advice still holds for people who have not been immunised.

Those who have gotten their vaccine, however, could feel comfortable dining maskless indoors, according to the CDC (assuming that’s allowed by the local government and the business). This will make vacationing both easier and more fun. But considering the vaccination rate in India, it's better if you avoid dining in at restaurants and cafes.

8. Be Smart About Your Activities

Rates of COVID-19 in India are expected to keep falling as more people become protected from the virus.But in a country like India where vaccination rates remain low and where new and potentially extra-contagious variants of the virus are constantly arising.

Bars, karaoke cafes, theme parks with inside rides, and other crowded indoor activities may carry some COVID-19 risk, hence its best to skip them for now.

9. If You’re Not Fully Vaccinated, Stay Vigilant

While you’re on vacation it’s easy to feel like the limitations of your regular life don’t apply. But if you aren’t fully vaccinated there are no magical protections that keep the virus at bay just because you’re having the best time with yourself or your relatives in ages.For those at risk, it’s important to follow general CDC guidance at all times, including washing hands regularly, keeping six (or ideally more) feet of distance between yourself and others, avoiding poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and, crucially, wearing a mask in all public settings.

10. Have a Good Time! You Deserve It

For all of us, the stress of these pandemic years means we need a vacation more than ever. For most of us, it’s been ages since we’ve taken a trip or hung out with our loved ones.

While you’re away, it may take a while to fully relax, to feel comfortable going without a mask and touring sites with strangers. That’s okay.

But if you’ve been vaccinated, and have been following guidelines, give yourself permission to enjoy your travels.

After more than a year of staying home, it’s time — still being smart and careful — to start satisfying that wanderlust again.


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