The coronavirus outbreak of last year has significantly changed all of our lives. With worries of new variants and travel restrictions constantly evolving, knowing how to travel safely can be challenging.

Although vaccines are rolling out rapidly, there is still a risk of being infected, especially if you are travelling internationally. If you plan to travel with an elderly family member post-COVID, it’s essential that you take all necessary safety precautions.

Follow the tips and advice below to ensure you travel safely with your elderly loved one.

Have they been vaccinated?

As travel restrictions are lifted with more people being vaccinated, it is easy to assume that your loved one will be safe during your travels. However, there is still a genuine chance of being infected.

Before going on your trip, ensure your loved one has been vaccinated. Individuals over 65 are the most likely demographic to die from the coronavirus.

The best thing you can do to protect them is to convince them to get vaccinated. The data shows that vaccines are working and the CDC says that, once fully vaccinated, you are safe to travel.

Besides safety, getting a vaccine also makes it easier to travel nationally and internationally. Most governments and airlines have less strict policies for those who are vaccinated.

Consider where you’re going

When choosing a potential vacation destination, it is important to ask the following questions:

Is this location an outbreak hotspot? Look at local statistics to see how many new COVID infections there are. If this place has many new infections or a low percentage of vaccinated people, it may be unsafe for your loved one.

What are local restrictions like? Local, state, and international governments are constantly considering and reconsidering their COVID policies. This results in many quick changes. Continue to check on these restrictions in the weeks before your trip to ensure nothing changes that will affect your ability to travel to and enjoy that location.

How burned is the healthcare system? The 95% effectiveness of vaccines means your loved one will likely not need to go to the hospital. However, other accidents can happen. If they become sick or suffer from a fall, you’ll need the assurance that you can get them medical help. Check with the local healthcare system to see how available they are to new patients.

Navigating public transportation

The safest mode of transportation is to go private. However, if you are flying, this possibility is probably out of reach.

Although flying is risky, the airlines are taking initiative to reduce the spread. This includes keeping the middle seats open, which has been found to decrease exposure by as much as half! They also exchange air in the planes every 2-3 minutes.

Although these initiatives do help, no system is perfect when you are within 6 feet of others for extended periods of time. Reducing the duration of being around others is key to keeping your loved ones safe.

Consider upgrading to business class to minimize the amount of people your family is exposed to.

If you are driving, take as few stops as possible. Take a baggie of snacks so that you don’t have to eat out or stop at any gas stations for food. If you do end up stopping, regularly use hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to keep your loved one safe.

If you rely on Uber or Lyft while at your vacation spot, wear a mask at all times, wipe everything down before you enter the car, and use hand sanitizer as often as possible.

Your Stay

If you plan on staying in a hotel, do research into what each hotel is doing to prevent Covid-19 infections. Before reserving a room, ask what preventative measures the hotel is taking. Try to get a hotel that offers online check-in as well as digital keys to minimize contact with others.

During your stay, wipe down all high-touch surfaces, such as door knobs before your loved one enters the room.

You might also consider staying in a vacation rental. Vacation rental companies like Airbnb have established new cleaning protocols, meaning these spaces will be thoroughly cleaned before you stay.

Conclusion

When traveling with an elderly family member, the most effective way to ensure they stay safe is to get vaccinated, social distance, wear masks, and sanitize everything.

Remember that just because others are getting vaccinated, doesn’t mean traveling is risk-free. Be cautious but don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your time together!

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