As borders begin reopening, happy reunions have been taking place in airports across America. Vaccinated travelers can once again slake their wanderlust, and those overseas for too long can return home.
However, the pandemic hasn’t ended, even as life begins resembling something closer to normal. It’s critical to continue to take precautions. Here are five wellness tips for international travel in the age of COVID-19.
1. Get Vaccinated
If you haven’t yet gotten vaccinated, please consider doing so before your trip. Doing so won’t guarantee you won’t get sick or sicken others, but it can drastically reduce your risk of hospitalization, severe illness, and death.
You might have to do so, depending on where you plan to travel. For example, while most European nations allow vaccinated American travelers, member countries have the right to set rules restricting entry. The United States no longer appears on every country’s safe list — travelers should check with the State Department before departure for current rules.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises unvaccinated travelers to avoid nonessential international travel. In many cases, those who remain unvaccinated must produce proof of a negative COVID-19 test, sometimes within 24 hours of departure.
2. Wear a Mask
Travelers to American airports will need to abide by mask mandates at least until January of 2022. Additionally, many airlines set rules on what types of face coverings are permissible — some will not accept items like scarves, bandanas, or face shields.
Individual destinations vary in whether they have laws governing face coverings for travelers and citizens alike. Some countries, like Japan, don’t mandate them by law but strongly recommend them in all public areas. Others, like France and Germany, require them in public areas like offices, city centers, and public transportation.
Regardless of laws and guidelines, it pays to cover your nose and mouth — even if you’re fully vaccinated. Vaccinated individuals can unwittingly pass the virus to others, but that isn’t the only reason. Although they are not a failsafe, masks offer some protection to the wearer. Travel already puts stress on your immune system — taking extra precautions only makes sense.
3. Carry Wipes
Fortunately, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) doesn’t count wet wipes as a liquid, so please stock your carry-on with plenty. These come in handy for everything from cleaning your hands when you don’t have a sink to sanitizing surfaces others have touched.
Pay attention when you board the plane. Many airlines now distribute wipes in addition to improving overall sanitation procedures. Pay particular attention to places like the touchscreen entertainment system and your seat belt buckle.
4. Get Tested
The CDC recommends postponing your trip if any of the following conditions apply:
- You are sick with any of the symptoms of COVID-19: This rule applies even if you are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months.
- You have a suspected or diagnosed case of COVID-19: This rule applies even if you don’t have symptoms.
- You have been around someone with suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 in the past 14 days: This rule applies unless you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months and are symptom-free.
How can you know if it’s COVID-19 or another virus, including allergies? The only way to know is to get tested. Many airports now offer express testing — so call ahead to find out for sure.
5. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Finally, the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants aren’t the only bugs to beware of when traveling internationally. It pays to keep your immune system running on all cylinders by following these wellness tips at home and on the road:
- Eat a nutritious diet: A diet rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients provides your body with the building blocks for a healthy immune system. Stick to plant-based meals and lean proteins, going sparingly on processed ingredients.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise boosts immune health through various mechanisms. It acts as a mild fever, helping burn up germs. It also increases respiration, moving bacteria and viruses out of your lungs more quickly. Fitness apps like DailyBurn provide workouts you can do in your hotel room if you hesitate to sweat alongside strangers.
- Manage your stress: There’s an undeniable link between mental and physical health. Too much tension spikes cortisol levels, and too much of this hormone creates a ripple effect throughout your body. Practice techniques like deep breathing and yoga to maintain your calm.
Wellness Tips for International Travel
As borders reopen, you might be excited to hit the road Please follow a few thoughtful wellness tips for international travel during the age of COVID-19.0