WASHINGTON, DC, Aug 27 — Travel experts will tell you that September has become the prime time for seniors to schedule their vacations, according to Rebecca Weber, CEO of the 2.4 million-member Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC]. The most popular holiday destinations start to quiet down at summer’s end, making for conditions most seniors favor when getting away — smaller crowds, easier access, and lower prices.
Weber notes that “September of 2020 saw a sharp decline overall in travel due to the coronavirus outbreak. That was then, and this is now. The pandemic was well established by this time last year, and we didn’t have vaccines. It is likely that this year the success of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines — and soon to be available booster shots — may prompt many people to travel than last year.”
But, Weber cautions, while it is true that the vaccines are effective against the coronavirus, including the Delta variant, it’s still a good idea to play it safe. For example, you might want to consult with your doctor. Explain when you plan to leave and where you intend to go, and ask if there are any specific precautions you should take.
Dr. Leana Wen is an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She says, “The most important factor to consider is the medical risk of your household. Specifically, is everyone in your house vaccinated? If everyone is vaccinated and generally healthy, you are very well-protected from getting severely ill from Covid-19. Many people in this circumstance might decide that they could take the risk of mild symptoms if they were to contract coronavirus and proceed with all their original travel plans.”
Making sure you are fully vaccinated is the most important of the precautions you should take before you get on your way. Selecting a safe destination is a close second and how to get there is not far behind as far as your considerations are concerned, says Weber. Obviously, you know whether you’ve had your shots, and so your first decision is to pick where you want to go.
Domestic travel is arguably safer than an overseas trip.
In addition, you can pick a spot that is accessible by getting in your family car, allowing you to avoid public transportation and practice self-distancing en route. Do your research and find vacation venues that offer the amenities and experience you crave that are within a tolerable driving distance from home.
But if you decide to go abroad, do your homework so that you can avoid the destinations that could be particularly dangerous.
You can start by checking out a new addition on the Website of the Centers for Disease Control [CDC], a simple but comprehensive color-coded global map that shows the safest and most dangerous destinations. It’s accessible at this Web address: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html.
Here are some quick tips for vacation travel:
- Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
- Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus). CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance when traveling.
- Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
In addition, you may also wish to consider additional trip protection. In addition to making sure that your health insurance will cover you no matter where you travel in the U.S. and abroad, you might want to purchase travel insurance just in case you need to cancel your trip. It may also be wise to look into purchasing a travel assistance plan as well.
There is a difference. Travel assistance plans help pay for things such as an emergency medical evacuation and travel arrangements, a nurse escort, a traveling companion, and other emergency costs you might encounter if you get sick or hurt while traveling. It can even provide emergency cash advances.
Here are a couple of tips after reentry when you get home:
- Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel.
- Stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel. It’s also a good idea to stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days, even if you test negative.
- If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
- If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
- Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
- Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.