The travel industry has come to a standstill as the novel coronavirus is still having a great impact on the world. The CDC recommends staying home as much as possible except for essential purposes. If you have a job that is considered an essential service, then business travel may still be required. Limit your exposure to the virus by practicing social distancing and appropriate hygiene measures if you must travel. Corporate travelers need to know the following things when traveling during the coronavirus crisis.
The HEPA filters used by airplanes reduce the spread of viruses and germs throughout the aircraft, according to the CDC. However, there are still some precautions to take while traveling by plane. When you sit down, immediately wipe down the armrests, tray table, and seatback display. Choose a window seat in order to give yourself the most distance between you and other passengers. Use the bathroom before you board the flight and try to avoid the airplane bathrooms because many passengers will use them throughout the flight.
While traveling through the airport, there are myriad opportunities to come into contact with a potentially infected person or surface. Check-in online and save your boarding pass on your phone that way you do not need to touch the machine to print a boarding pass at the airport. Bring your own food and water bottle to avoid the airport cafeteria. In the security line, fit your items into as few bins as possible to minimize contact with germs. Stay clear of the airport shops because many travelers have touched the displays and products.
Many airports have closed some of their parking structures in order to reduce the number of staff on site. Before you depart for the airport, consult the airport website to check the status of the parking lots and garages. Many airports are also offering free or reduced rate parking during the pandemic so you might be able to take advantage of premium parking spaces.
Business travelers should call the hotel before their arrival to confirm their reservation. Although many major hotel chains remain open, some hotels have closed due to the coronavirus. Upon arrival, immediately disinfect all common surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, phones, remote controls, toilets, and faucets. Use gloves during cleaning to prevent contact with any potentially infected surfaces. Tell the hotel to cancel housekeeping services for your room in order to limit the number of people who enter your room during your stay.
Traveling by Car
While traveling by car is better than air travel in terms of exposure to the virus, it is still not 100% safe. The bathroom, food, and rest stops along the way still put travelers at risk of contracting the virus. Reduce the number of stops along the way by bringing food and water with you. It’s also important to check the route in advance to ensure gas stations and stores will be open.
Always Practice Good Hygiene
This has been repeated hundreds of times, but it cannot be stated enough: wash your hands frequently and do not touch your face. Wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm soapy water. Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you at all times. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer especially after the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing or sneezing. If you cannot wash your hands or use hand sanitizer, then be very careful about not touching your face. Just coming into contact with an infected surface will not make you sick, but touching the surface and then touching your face will greatly increase the chance of infection.
Of course, always stay up to date with the latest news from the CDC to protect your employees during business travel. Encourage business travelers to wear masks to reduce the chance of transmitting the virus. Above all else, weigh the risks and avoid any discretionary travel until the immediate crisis has passed. Find more information on the CDC Travel Frequently Asked Questions.
Taylor Randolph is the USA Online Marketer for ParkFellows, a comparison and booking site to help travelers find secure, reliable, and affordable airport parking.