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HEALTH Matters

5 Essential Pandemic Travel Tips

Dr. Michael Zuckman, Internal Medicine

May 10, 2021

5 Essential Pandemic Travel Tips

Taking the right precautions before you embark on public transportation can help you have a safe and healthy trip.


The weather is getting warmer and thoughts are turning to summer travel. Many people are starting to feel more confident about taking public transportation once again. According to the Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker, 43% of people feel comfortable traveling on a plane, and that number is steadily rising. While the CDC reports that viruses do not spread easily on flights because of the air filtering systems, the risk is still there and you should weigh the risks of traveling carefully.

Whether you will be getting there by bus, train, or plane, it’s important to make sure you take all the steps necessary to protect yourself against COVID-19.

  • First and foremost, weigh the risks for traveling at all. Make sure it is at least two weeks after your completed COVID-19 vaccination series should you decide to do so. Masks are still a must, whether you are vaccinated or not. While we know the vaccines are effective, it may still be possible to transmit the virus to others. As we know from our mostly non-existent flu season last year, masks are the best way we can all protect each other from many respiratory infections, not just COVID-19. Masks should be surgical or tightly woven cloth masks with two or more layers. Be sure to replace surgical masks daily and wash your cloth masks if they become wet or soiled.
  • Avoid touching your face during the trip. This is difficult at any time, but especially on planes where you may be fiddling with sleep masks and trying to adjust your neck pillow. It is important to resist the temptation, since the virus can enter the body through the nose and even through the eyes. It may seem obvious, but a recent study showed that wearing glasses can help to prevent COVID – so you may want to consider foregoing your contact lenses for the journey.
  • More airlines are returning to in-flight snacks and meals. If it’s a short trip and you are surrounded by a lot of people, try to eat and drink before you travel so you don’t have to be without a mask on for a period of time.
  • Keep your bottle of hand sanitizer by your side and use it often. Use a solution of at least 60% alcohol.
  • Travel with your trusted Pod. Surround yourself with family and friends that you know are vaccinated and take safety seriously!

In this time of heightened concern about our health, it’s always a good idea to check with your physician to make sure you are up to date on other routine vaccinations before you travel, especially to a foreign country. Vaccinations are a simple way to ensure you have a safe and healthy trip.

5 Essential Pandemic Travel Tips

Dr. Michael R. Zuckman is an internal medicine specialist, practicing at White Plains Hospital Medical & Wellness in Armonk. Call 914-849-7900 to schedule an appointment.

Similar Topics: social distancing , airplane travel