The Current State of Travel During COVID

The Current State of Travel During COVID

May 12, 2020 | By Marie Cyprien

When can we start traveling again?  The question that’s on every wanderluster’s mind. The quick answer is “we don’t know”.  What we do know is that things are changing daily, here in the US, and internationally. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get back to some version of normal soon. In the meantime, here’s information on the current state of travel.

Travel in the United States

Parts of the USA are reopening, some with measures in place to limit the number of new coronavirus infections. As of May 1st Texas has decided to allow retail stores to open and make curbside sales, Michigan is allowing businesses such as bike shops and landscapers to get back to work, and Georgia has allowed some nonessential businesses to operate. 

With varying rules for each state, interstate travel can get tricky. The CDC still recommends that Americans avoid nonessential trips to help stop the spread. Airlines, buses, and trains have significantly cut back their departure schedules, even from transportation hubs like NYC, where the pandemic has hit especially hard. 

If you must travel, make sure you’re aware of the travel policies in the place where you are, where you’re going, and wherever you’ll stop along your journey there.  It doesn’t make any sense to book a weekend in Florida if you’ll be quarantined once you get off the plane.

International travel 

The CDC, US State Department, and the World Health Organization all advise against international travel. Yes, some countries are starting to pull back restrictions to get their citizens back to work, but that doesn’t automatically mean they’re ready for tourism.  Many European countries have allowed certain types of businesses to open, but public spaces, bars, and restaurants remain closed for dining/drinking in. With these types of restrictions in place, it’s pretty clear that vacation activities will be limited for the time being.

Many countries in Africa had or still have travel bans in place as they mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on their citizens’ health. While some countries on the continent are loosening up restrictions to allow for basic forms of work, tourism is not yet up and running. 

Airlines

Airlines are taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 starting with seating arrangements. Delta Air Lines has blocked certain seats and is reducing the total number of passengers per flight by 50{64dae39ad4db638b63cd68b16c9094ba83b25ba6b2851c2058408b6a90338b9a} – 60{64dae39ad4db638b63cd68b16c9094ba83b25ba6b2851c2058408b6a90338b9a} to allow for social distancing. United Airlines is limiting the number of passengers boarding at a particular time to abide by social distancing guidelines. Most airlines have upped their sanitizing efforts in the airport, at the gate, and on the planes.

Foodservice is also being limited to curb the spread of COVID and most lounges are closed.  

Here’s a list of the main US airlines COVID updates centers:

Delta

United 

American

JetBlue

Southwest

Alaska Airlines

Frontier

Spirit

Lodging

Along with airlines, hotels are taking steps to keep their employees and guests safe. They’ve consulted with health experts and are coming up with new cleaning procedures that will start in June. The American Hotel and Lodging Association has a Stay Safe initiative with guidelines that hotels should follow. Some of these include contactless room service, regular cleaning of public spaces, and no buffet dining unless served by employees wearing personal protective equipment.

Airbnb is also joining the effort to stop the spread by establishing an Enhanced Cleaning Initiative for its hosts, beginning in June. While hosts aren’t mandated to follow these new guidelines, guests will be able to see, at the time of booking, if a host has committed to the new initiative. 

For specifics on change and cancellation travel policies for current or future travel check out this article

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