As events slowly shift back to in-person – hybrid or fully live, it remains important to prioritize the safety and well-being of yourself and those around you. It’s still just as critical, as we all continue to work to stop the spread of COVID-19. Planning ahead, utilizing new technologies and heeding the advice of experts will make you physically and mentally travel-ready in no time.
Centrifuge Media has compiled a list of tips to keep in your pocket for that first exciting trip back to an in-person event or meeting. From at-home preparation to hotel room service, we’re covering travel basics while fusing in some important coronavirus safety ideas.
1. Rest Before You Leave (and After You Arrive)
When you get to your destination, will you be on a new timezone? Walking around a lot? Interacting heavily with others? If so, your body will need plenty of rest to adjust to the temporary new situation. Allow yourself ample rest ahead of and after long days of travel through time zones, big airports and new cities. It’ll ensure you’re at your best when chatting with your boss who you haven’t seen in-person since 2019!
2. Skip the Lines (and Germs)!
Most airlines nowadays offer an app for fliers to check-in early and skip the line, choose seats and other upgrades, and have their boarding pass easily accessible right on their phone. If possible, download your airline’s app to eliminate time spent standing in line and limit the numbers of things you are touching at the airport. Plus – it saves paper! Win-win. You also may be able to take advantage of free in-air entertainment and texting/messaging with an airlines’ app.
IN THE AIRPORT
3. Speaking of Not Touching Things…
It’s habit. We casually toss our phones, wallet and passport into those big gray bins before stepping through the TSA metal detector or body scanners. While this feels natural to travelers, the Mayo Clinic now recommends you have a designated place to put these items inside your carry-on luggage or personal item to avoid direct contact with the TSA security bins, which have been touched by hundreds, if not thousands of other passengers before you on any given day.
4. Carry an Empty Water Bottle
After you get through security, fill up the bottle at a ‘touchless’ water fountain. Most airports have these near existing water fountains. There’s several benefits to this tip, the first being: hydration is key when traveling to fight fatigue. Also, using your own water bottle limits the number of people you’ll need to interact with and things you have to touch – like credit card readers, vending machines, etc. – at the airport. Several airlines have limited or zero in-flight beverage services due to COVID-19, so carrying your own bottle guarantees you’ll have plenty of H2O in the air.
IN THE AIR
5. BYOW – Bring Your Own Wipes
Many airlines are providing sanitizing wipes or towelettes as you board, but some are rather small and may not cover as much germy ground as you’d like. Solution: like the water bottle, bring your own! TSA allows you to carry on wet wipes in any quantity, including baby wipes. Wipe down all the ‘high traffic’ areas in your immediate vicinity, and don’t hesitate to bring the wipes along with you to the loo, to wipe down the knobs, seat and handles.
6. Check-In Online or With an App
Much like airlines, hotels now allow you to check-in without contact using their mobile site or app. These services are designed to be utilized throughout your stay as well, to do things like order dinner, chat with hotel staff or have amenities delivered to your door.
7. Swap the Traditional Keycard for Your Phone
Instead of swiping a key card, that same hotelier’s app on your phone will allow you to access your room. It’s another way to avoid interacting with others and touching high contact surfaces at the hotel. This feature is one of Marriott’s many solutions ensuring the safety of their guests, promoted by its Cleanliness Council.
Bonus 8th Tip That’s a ‘Take It or Leave It’
Opt out of housecleaning services to limit the number of people going in and out of your room by putting the ‘do not disturb’ placard on your door knob. This said, hotels have upped their cleaning standards throughout the country and world with initiatives like Marriott’s Cleanliness Council and Four Seasons’ Lead with Care program. Hotel staff will likely be wearing PPE and going the extra mile when cleaning your room. Do what you will with this tip – if the thought of anyone else in your room is more concerning than an unmade bed or day-old towels, then you have your answer.