Travel Safety: Two Sides of the Argument

February 1, 2021

In this side-by-side opinion series, staff writers Julia Raymond and Isabelle Poole look into traveling in the age of coronavirus to consider whether it’s acceptable to do right now or not.

Opinion: Traveling is okay

Obviously, traveling isn’t exactly ideal right now, but if your family decides it’s what you want to do, make sure you adhere to the necessary precautions. These precautions can severely limit the chance of spreading COVID-19 and can ensure that others around you are safe. Safety is always a top priority in times like these.

Consider getting tested one to three days prior to your trip and after your trip. Even though your test may come back negative, you should still quarantine for seven days prior to returning to your normal activities. If you do not take a test, extend your quarantine to a ten-day period rather than a seven-day period.

Bring a lot of extra masks. It’s important to always have a mask handy even if you are in a place where masks are not mandatory. Along with masks, always have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. It’s crucial to have these, especially if you are in areas where there are many people, like a plane.

Wherever you are traveling, look at the restrictions that the state, local or federal government officials have in place. They may require you to get a test, quarantine or not come at all. For more information, check out the state and local health department guidelines to see what you need to do before traveling. Some cities are hotspots while others aren’t, so this website can help determine what type of zone your destination is in. If it’s red, consider delaying your trip.

It’s crucial to bring extra food and snacks in case restaurants or stores shut down in the area. Cases are rising across the country, so this wouldn’t be all that surprising. Be prepared for the absolute worst.

Don’t let others guilt you about your trip. Everyone has different reasons for traveling, some more valid than others, but don’t let others judge your decision. Someone could be visiting their sick grandma who lives in another state to say their last goodbyes, so traveling is necessary here for the sake of their family. You never know what the situation could be, so keep your opinions to yourself.

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Opinion: Traveling is not okay

If there’s one thing you should do during a global pandemic, it’s to avoid large gatherings the best you can. Social distancing plays a huge part in stopping the spread of COVID-19. As sad as it may be to go months without seeing friends and family, it’s for the best.

Family means a lot to most people, and it’s hard to be away from them for so long, but what if you were asymptomatic? What would happen if the grandmother you waited months to see got COVID-19 because of you and became sick? How would the rest of your family feel? How would you feel? The pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon, so you should at least play your part in staying away and staying safe.

Other than the elephant in the room regarding travel, consider this: would you really be comfortable on a plane? Would you really be comfortable with hundreds of other people in a closed space with recycled air for a couple of hours? Airline companies do their best to enforce the rules, sure, but how many people actually listen? Back in November, my dad went to take care of his sick father, and he complained about the plane ride both times. Kids and some teens who were tired of wearing the mask simply decided to not wear one. “I mean, what can they actually do? Throw them off the plane?” my dad said after returning. He noted how people in airports would wear their masks incorrectly as well.

Yes, there are travel restrictions in place, but the issue is that not enough people are following them. If people did follow proper COVID-19 guidelines and health regulations, we could likely start traveling again and seeing the ones we care about. However, thanks to the people who think COVID-19 rules don’t apply to them, that won’t be happening anytime soon.

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