By Jenna Merony
March 22, 2021
To travel or not to travel? This is the question on the mind of many a stir-crazy person a year into the pandemic. Some students and workers are returning to in-person activities, including air travel, while many others continue working and learning remotely.
According to NBC News, air travel in December rose to “levels last seen before the pandemic.” The rates from then on continued to increase, slowly but steadily as spring break season began. The holiday travel seemed to give people a false sense of security with TSA being prepared for the holiday rush, “requiring employees to wear face shields, installing acrylic barriers and putting more officers on duty to decrease wait times.”
These days, conversations of travel and safety go hand-in-hand as a necessity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on the matter, “Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated.”
If you must travel, the CDC recommends the following precautions to protect yourself and others:
- Get fully vaccinated, if eligible
- Get a viral test one to three days prior to travelling
- Wear a (proper) mask over your mouth and nose when in public
- Avoid crowds and maintain six-feet social distance from those not in your party
- Quarantine upon returning and get tested in three to five days. Self-quarantine a full seven days even with a negative test result. If you don’t get tested, stay home and quarantine for ten days.
- Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.
Newly required precautions, like the ones the CDC states, are constantly being updated. A few people go even further than the CDC list and create their own to-do lists for before, during and after their travel to ensure complete safety and reassurance for those around them. These lists include packing the necessities, like hand sanitizer, gloves and masks; creating plans to avoid crowds and stress; and isolating upon their return, making sure everything is washed and staying away from others for at least 14 days.
Amanda Young, a senior studying human development and family studies at Michigan State University, recently took a trip to Florida to visit her older sister. She had not seen her sister in a year because of the pandemic. But with her mother being vaccinated and herself waiting for her appointment, they decided to go visit and have the family be together for her mother’s birthday.
Before leaving for Florida, Young made sure to quarantine, take her vitamins to help boost her immune system and pack enough masks and sanitizer for the trip. Once she arrived, she continued to sanitize and take the precautions needed to stay safe.
“I was constantly washing my hands, using sanitizers, wearing a mask and keeping my distance when we went out,” Young said.
Once she returned from her trip, she quickly made sure to unpack, sanitize her suitcase and wash her clothes. She also got tested and stayed isolated until receiving her results. Upon getting a negative test result, she still continued to isolate for a week to be careful.
Young took these precautions while traveling during a pandemic, and many more are doing the same.
To fly or not to fly is a personal decision of how much one concerns themselves with their own safety and that of others. With the increase of vaccine distributions, one can only hope that soon the idea of travel no longer brings on the feeling of fear.
Jenna Merony is a senior pursuing a double major in professional writing and English with a concentration in creative writing. Her plans after graduation involve graduate school to get a M.A. in creative writing and possibly write a poetry book during that time. After graduate school she hopes to work for a publishing industry as an editor. In her free time she likes to read, run and write poetry.