Spring Break vacations deemed risky

How to protect yourself while traveling


Anya Panday

Spring Break offers many students a chance to destress and relax after countless five-day long weeks. Like many students, I enjoy traveling during my Spring Break, but COVID-19 poses new challenges to many students’ traditional Spring Break routines. With so many COVID-19 variations, traveling has become risky and even limited. Since there’s so much anxiety over COVID-19 and its impacts, many wonder how they can be safe traveling over Spring Break.

Numerous statistics are showing COVID-19 spikes during and after high travel periods, including the New York Times overviewing the winter holidays and Our World In Data, where COVID-19 spikes can be seen overtime — including before and after Spring Break. The New York Times graph detailed the major concerns around traveling during break, and the Our World In Data graph reaffirmed those fears. Traveling can increase your risk of getting COVID-19 due to an increased exposure to people, but there are things you can do to keep yourself safe while traveling.

First and foremost, you should follow basic COVID-19 procedures. To stay safe while traveling, you should opt to wear a mask, as the TSA announced a mask mandate in Jan 2021. This mandate ensures traveling is done as safely as possible. Make sure your mask is covering your nose, mouth and chin to ensure you’re maximizing its efficiency. Any mask is better than none, but a CDC study shows that N95s are more effective than your average cloth or surgical mask. It’s also important to wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer on you, avoid touching your mouth or face, stay six feet away from others when possible and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. The CDC also recommends vaccination to decrease your chances of severe COVID-19 cases significantly.

There are also more travel-specific things you can do to protect yourself and others. If you’re traveling internationally, you’re required to get tested for COVID-19, though specifics on what kinds of tests and when you must get them may vary from country to country. If you’re traveling domestically, however, you are not required to get tested. Either way, testing as close to departure as you can is recommended, as well as testing when you get back. While airplanes are routinely disinfected, you should avoid physical contact with easily contaminated surfaces. Instead of handing passports to TSA workers, place them directly on the scanner. Place personal items such as keys, phones and wallets in carry-on bags instead of bins to decrease the time other people will be handling them. 

Though traveling during COVID-19 can be risky, there are actions you can take to protect yourself and those around you. While traveling during COVID-19 can be scary and have great risks, taking proper precautions to avoid getting sick will make your vacation well worth it. When traveling this Spring Break, mask up, wash your hands and enjoy your time off from school.