As travel reopens around the globe, health and hygiene habits may be forever changed as a result of COVID-19. While airlines, hotels, and other members of the travel industry are increasing their cleaning and disinfecting procedures, travellers should still remain diligent when it comes to their own health and hygiene practices.
Here are a few essential travel health tips to consider:
- Start by staying up-to-date with travel health issues and disease outbreaks by researching your travel destination before departing. Always make sure you check government travel advisories at smarttraveller.gov.au.
- If you have recently been sick or find yourself coming down with any cold or flu symptoms close to your travel date, you may want to check with your doctor as to whether you should travel. Also, talk to your doctor about specific travel health recommendations and vaccinations.
- Consider packing these items in case they are not available for purchase while en route or at your destination:
- Alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol and complies with airlines' bottle size and liquid limits
- Disinfecting wipes
- Disposable gloves
- Portable hand soap sheets
- Digital thermometer
- Over-the-counter medicines for pain and fever reduction
Additional steps to consider that may help lower the risk of infection while traveling include:
- Wear a fabric, surgical or N95 mask while in public places.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands. Wearing a mask helps to avoid doing so.
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after sneezing or coughing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for severe disease.
Such individuals may wish to seek advice from a doctor regarding travel.1
- Practice social distancing (approximately 1.5 meters) from others when possible.
- When using public bathrooms, after washing hands, use a paper towel or tissue to touch the door handle when exiting.
Research your transportation options; whether you use taxi, car service, shuttle service, public transportation, car rental or ridesharing services, be prepared to get around in a healthy way. If you take a road trip in your personal vehicle or a rental car be vigilant with practicing hand hygiene when making petrol/rest stops by using disposable gloves when pumping petrol and frequently wiping down your car door handles, steering wheel and frequently touched surfaces (e.g., seatbelt, console, dashboard, buttons).