Home for the Holidays: How Can You Travel Safely This Year?
It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year — although let’s be honest, the rest of the year hasn’t been much competition. Now as the year comes to a close, and the holidays are fast approaching, the hope to see our loved ones fills most of our minds.
But how can we do this without compromising on safety? Although travelling this year is not without risks, here are 5 simple guidelines that can help you reduce your chances of contracting or spreading the virus this holiday season.
1. Know When to Delay Your Trip
Of course, if you are feeling any of the symptoms related to COVID-19, you absolutely should not travel. The last thing you would want to do is infect your loved ones with such a terrible disease.
Instead, you’ll want to self-quarantine for at least 14 days before considering any sort of travel. But with that said, why should the fact you can’t travel cancel the holidays? Reschedule! The holidays can wait, you and your loved one’s health cannot.
Try talking to your boss about taking a holiday at a different time. There’s a good chance that they’ll be understanding, so it’s worth a shot to ask.
If you can’t reschedule your Christmas plans, try meeting with your family online through video conferencing. Though it’s not the same as seeing your family in person, the best thing you can do for them is to keep your distance until you know with complete certainty that you are healthy. Simply put, seeing your family and loved ones isn’t worth the risk, especially for the older individuals in your family.
2. Traveling by Air? Get Travel Insurance!
One of the most important things you can do to limit the spread of the virus is to practice social distancing, but when it comes to air travel, this is easier said than done. Although most airlines have made an effort to ensure their passengers are seated away from one another, there is still a risk.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to always wear a face mask while on board a plane. Face masks have been proven to reduce your chances of infecting others.
Additionally, don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after contacting commonly touched surfaces and before touching your face. Look into the safety protocols of the airline you book, as many have been updated to allow passengers to bring hand sanitizer as part of their carry-ons.
Another great thing to consider when booking your flight: travel insurance. In the unfortunate case that you need to cancel your trip, you’ll be thankful not to have to pay any cancellation fees.
If you don’t want to risk flying, consider travelling by road or rail.
3. Pack the Right Stuff
Alongside that ugly Christmas sweater your grandma sewed for you (and insists you wear), make sure to pack a safety kit. At the minimum, it should include:
- Multiple face masks
- Hand sanitizer (Make sure it’s at least 60% alcohol)
- Disposable disinfectant wipes
- Disposable gloves
- Water bottles and snacks
- A good book (To entertain yourself while social distancing)
Additionally, make sure you bring proper winter gear such as a warm coat, snow pants, boots, a hat, scarf, and gloves. This year, since transmission of the virus is far less outdoors, you’ll want to consider spending a lot more time outside than in.
Look into fun winter activities for the family such as snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Just remember, even though transmission is lower outdoors, it’s not risk free, and still very important to keep gatherings small and remain socially distanced even when outside.
4. Limit Your Gatherings to Only Close Family
The holidays are a time when your entire family reunites and catches up with one another, but this year, try to keep the amount of people gathering to a minimum. A good rule of thumb is to limit indoor gatherings to no more than 6 people, and outdoors to no more than 15. All the while, remember to wash your hands regularly and remain socially distanced.
A few good tips, instead of gathering around a large table for Christmas dinner, try breaking your family into smaller groups to dine around multiple tables. Better yet, try having your dinner outside — yes, there are ways to comfortably dine outside, even in the cold months!
If eating outdoors is not an option, encourage fresh air circulation by getting the fire going and opening up a few windows. Furthermore, consider wearing a face mask any time you are indoors. Match your ugly Christmas sweater to one of these ugly Christmas face masks. After all, being safe doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the festive spirit!
Another popular trend this year, gather over a video call. We’re already used to meeting our colleagues through teleconferencing, why not try having dinner with our families as well?
With a little creativity, you can catch up with your extended family in a fun fulfilling way even when socially distancing.
5. Consider a Short Term Rental
As stated many times throughout this article, socially distancing is one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of the virus. As such, rather than bunking with your family in your childhood bedroom, consider a short term rental apartment instead.
Unlike a hotel room, short term rental suites come with all the amenities of a home such as fully equipped kitchens and high speed wifi. This means you’ll be spending a lot less time coming into contact with other people while dining out or seeking entertainment.
Of course, at OBASA / Six Suites, we have many wonderful fully furnished suites to choose from across Canada so you can stay both comfortable and safe during your holiday vacation back home.
No matter who you make your reservations with, things to consider when booking temporary housing include:
- How is the site cleaned?
- How is the air circulated?
- How much time is the room left vacant between occupants?
- What amenities are provided to stay entertained while social distancing?
For more information on why you should be asking these questions, check out our last blog on the questions you should be asking your accommodation.
While it’s certainly true that the pandemic will reshape the way we celebrate the holidays this year, by staying informed, following safety guidelines, and being open to change, you can reduce the risks of travelling home for the holidays to be with those that you love most.
This Holiday, Social Distancing Doesn’t Have to Mean Sacrificing the Comforts of Home at a Hotel
Our executive suites are like homes away from home. Fully-furnished apartments and houses that are both spacious and clean, staying in one of our suites will help to keep you and your family safe without sacrificing that much needed R&R.