Bon Voyage-19

Traveling Safely during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Katie Maraldo , Staff Writer

With the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, many people are skeptical about traveling. That being said, a lot of people have decided to travel safely during these times.
Kate Beardslee ‘21 traveled to North Carolina this past summer for her sister’s wedding by car and said her family took many safety precautions.
“ Before we left, we all got covid tests,” Beardslee said. “Then, as we traveled on the road, we made sure to take less stops and wear masks/social distance when we did need to stop. We also did not stay at a hotel.”
Bridget Backer ‘22also traveled during the pandemic, but this time by airplane to visit her brother in the Orlando area of Florida. She said that the plane ride felt very safe due to the extensive precautions the airline took.
“I flew on Delta Airlines and the precautions that they took were that everyone has to have masks on over their noses, each row is either your own row or if you live with the person next to you, there’s on seat separating you,” Backer said. “If you do not know the person next to you, then you have the row to yourself and people are seated every other row for safe social distancing.”
Shyam, travel agent of ASAP Tickets, has been working throughout this entire pandemic. According to him, most people traveling on flights are doing so safely.
“I’ve mostly seen people traveling to visit their families or for emergencies throughout this pandemic, and all of the airlines I’ve worked with are taking proper safety precautions for what is needed in each country,” Shyam said.
On the contrary, Beardslee said that she experienced some unsafe situations when traveling through other states by car.
“The gas stations/rest stops that we stopped at in different states were less sanitary because in some states we went to, people weren’t wearing masks,” Beardslee said. “I definitely felt less safe because of that, but I did not confront any people.”
According to Backer, her experience within her travel were very pleasant, seeing that Disney World took very safe precautions.
“I stayed at the Contemporary Hotel at Walt Disney World and to stay safe during this pandemic, they came to your room frequently to clean everything, put in guidelines that you have to have a mask on at all times unless you’re eating or in your hotel room and you have to keep your mask on during the rides and in line,” Backer said. Also, the spacing for social distancing was over six feet to insure safety.”
When it comes to safety when traveling internationally, Shyam says that the actual precautions are similar, but the numbers of people who travel from different countries are very different.
“It is quite similar when comparing people I talk to traveling within the United States and people I talk to traveling within other countries like India, but it’s different because people traveling from the US and Europe are traveling more in large numbers while the people from India are traveling in smaller numbers,” Shyam said. “This could possibly be because of different restrictions in different places, but there is a bit of a difference.”
According to Beardslee, safety precautions need to be taken both during and after traveling.
“The types of precautions we took at my sister’s wedding were that we had a limited number of people that could come to the wedding, we had it outside and we all had to wear masks when we were moving around,” Beardslee said. “My entire family quarantined for four days and got COVID tests after we got home.”
While it was a pleasant experience for Backer to travel when she did, she expressed that she would not travel right now, but she would later on.
“Now that cases are up, the only time I would recommend traveling is in case of emergency,” Backer said. “I think that once the numbers are down again, I would feel safe traveling on a Delta flight again because of the proper precautions they took, but not right now.”
As an international travel agent, according to Shyam, he has experienced a realm of issues with the pandemic, but he still does not recommend traveling unless it is for an emergency.
“We should understand the seriousness of the situation and we shouldn’t underestimate the Coronavirus,” Shyam said. “Being a travel agent, I know my business is down and even though I would like it to be up, I argue people to travel as least as possible so we will be on the safer side.”