Thanksgiving Travel: Tips to Help Ensure a Safe Journey

Thanksgiving Travel

Even with COVID-19 cases on the rise and high pandemic-related unemployment, 50 million Americans still plan to travel this Thanksgiving, down 5M from the previous year. For many, it’s a balance between their mental health (seeing and spending time with loved ones) and reducing their risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19. While it has been a tough year, and many of us haven’t seen friends and family for some time now, the CDC urges Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with people you live with. As an alternative to in-person gatherings, some Americans are opting for virtual Thanksgiving celebrations this year instead.

That said, holiday travel is still very much a personal decision and this will most likely be the busiest travel day of the year. For those who are still planning on heading out for the busiest travel day of the year, understanding risks and how to keep yourself and others safe will go a long way. 

The CDC recommends these general tips:

  1. Check for travel restrictions before leaving for your trip. Get important information from the cities and states you plan to travel to through the CDC’s website. For example, those planning to travel to California would likely need to know the state is now under a new limited stay at home order requiring non-essential activities to stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Chicago, Hawaii and New York also have notable travel restrictions in place for visitors from other states.

  2. Get a flu shot before traveling. The CDC recommends getting a flu shot at least two weeks before traveling to allow immunity to develop.

  3. Masks are a must. The CDC recommends always wearing a mask in public settings, while using public transportation and being around people who do not live with you.

  4. Don’t forget the basics of social distancing. Social distancing means staying at least six feet away from people who are not in your immediate household. Staying physically distant from others should occur both indoors and outdoors and is most effective when combined with mask wearing.

  5. Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands often with soap and water; be sure to have plenty of hand sanitizer available for when you don’t have access to soap and water.

  6. Refrain from touching your mask, nose, mouth or eyes.

  7. Have back up supplies. Be sure to pack plenty of extra masks and hand sanitizer.

  8. Be okay with delaying or canceling your travel plans. According to the CDC, here’s when to stay home:

    1. You have COVID-19 symptoms, including a fever, cough or others.
    2. You recently tested positive for COVID-19.
    3. You have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
    4. You are still waiting for COVID-19 test results.

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Road Trip Safety Tips

This year, most Americans who are traveling will go shorter distances and for fewer days, making traveling by car the go-to method. According to AAA, 47.8M Americans will hit the road, 2.4M will head to the airport and 353,000 are expected to take a bus, train or cruise.

Transportation Analyst Bob Pishue with INRIX expects travel congestion for road trippers to peak Wednesday afternoon. According to Pishue, “Though fewer people will be traveling this Thanksgiving, we expect more holiday drivers than we had over the last few holidays during COVID-19. Drivers should plan alternate routes and departure times to avoid traffic jams.”

In addition to planning your departure time to avoid the rush, consider these tips:

  1. Be sure your vehicle is road trip ready. Inspect your tires, belts and battery in advance. Additionally, check and top off your fluids, replace filters and ensure headlights and turn signals are working properly. AAA alone expects to rescue more than 413,000 Americans on the side of the road this Thanksgiving.

  2. Minimize stops. Pack a cooler with meals, snacks and plenty of water to minimize stops and exposure to COVID-19.

  3. Don’t skimp on sanitizer products. In addition to hand sanitizer, pack sanitizing wipes to cleanse surfaces, hand soap and disposable gloves.

  4. Take precautions at the pump. Be extra cautious at busy roadside filling stations. Use disposable gloves at the gas pump and then discard outdoors in a trash can. If no trash can is available, seal the gloves in a disposable plastic bag. In the absence of gloves, be sure to sanitize thoroughly. When it comes to paying, using a credit card at the pump will provide less contact with people than going inside and paying with cash.

From all of us at Axcet HR Solutions, we wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday, wherever your travels may take you. 

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Written by Randy Clayton

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