Whether you’re looking to rest or visit with family, there are plenty of reasons to travel this holiday season. One thing is for certain though: Taking precautions is on top of the priority list. Holiday travel with COVID-19 is tricky, but you can accomplish it if some of the bigger worries are addressed.
Is airline travel safe?
One of the biggest travel worries is airplanes. Airlines realize this and have taken measures to ensure safer trips to every destination. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airplane travel is less of a risk than being hit by lightning. Here’s how they got to that conclusion. From January through July of this year, only 44 cases of coronavirus were found to be transmitted during a flight. This data includes confirmed potential and probable cases.
During this time, there were 1.2 billion passengers worldwide. So if you take into consideration the 44 cases, you get a one in 27 million chance of catching the virus. The chances of being struck by lightning in the United States per year is one in 500,000.
What are the best tips for traveling this holiday season?
Plan in advance: Rather than waiting until the last minute to book your airfare or hotel room, start now. Do some research on different hotels and airlines and see who gets your stamp of approval.
Research airline procedures: Look to see what airlines are blocking middle seats and providing a deep clean between flights. Additionally, review their guidelines on face coverings (mask and shields) and whether they offer complimentary ones to travelers who may have lost theirs. You should also check to see their policies on canceling or changing flights. Other considerations for holiday travel might be the availability of hand sanitizer, both on the plane and in the terminal. You may want to pack your own if you fear there might not be enough from the airline.
Evaluate hotel practices: Hotels have implemented a variety of guidelines regarding social distancing and face coverings to protect against COVID-19. They have adopted cleaning protocols and safety measures that help to ensure a worry-free stay as well. Many hotels have even staffed their breakfast buffets with food servers or put the breakfast buffet on pause to limit contact. For your personal precautions, avoid using and touching chairs, desks, counters, and the like in public areas like the lobby and elevator halls.
How are hotels making it safer for guests?
Some hotels such as Marriott, Hilton, and IHG are working hard to ensure their guests have a safe environment during their stays. These hotel brands have instituted new protocols to provide cleaner environments. They are also partnering with experts such as the Cleveland Clinic to implement these processes. And, of course, they are establishing clean guarantees. Check out what IHG is doing.
Here are a few ways hotels are working to keep their guests healthy:
- Many offer contactless or reduced contact check-in.
- Hotel restaurants are adjusting tables and seating to ensure proper social distance.
- Food options are pre-wrapped and individually portioned to reduce contact.
- Rooms are thoroughly cleaned frequently, placing extra care on surfaces and high contact points like light switches, doorknobs, remote controls, and toilet handles.
- They provide hand sanitizer stations and disinfected room keys.
When is the best time to travel?
According to Travel and Leisure Magazine, the best days to travel for Thanksgiving are on the Monday or Tuesday before for departure and the Saturday or Monday after for return. The heaviest travel days are Wednesday and Sunday of that week.
When it comes to Christmas, you will want to stay away from traveling on the 23, 27 and 28.
Before you decide to travel this holiday season, it’s important to do some research into COVID-19 precautions. Valor Hospitality Partners prioritizes the cleanliness of our hotels to ensure the health and safety of employees and guests alike. To learn more about how we have prepared for the holiday travel season, contact us today.