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While we’re not encouraging anyone to go on a trip, we understand that we can’t stop it from happening. Travel is a normal part of the holidays so it’s understandable why so many people have their bags packed.
Since COVID-19 hit in March there has been a major decrease in passengers numbers in Austin, while those numbers have increased lately, it is still nearly half of what it was in 2019. The city of Austin does anticipate an increase in travel traffic this holiday seasons, that said –
If you are heading out of Austin this season, here are some travel safety tips to remember to keep you and your family safe.
Know Which Areas You Should Try to Avoid
While most of you are not likely to travel to a city where there’s a high number of COVID-19 cases, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should head to an area where the virus is less prevalent either. No one wants to be the one to carry the virus to another community. If you choose to travel to a city or a heavy tourist area, you should also avoid areas and attraction that attract big groups and therefor make it harder to social distance.
Protect Yourself and Others
Be prepared by packing all the essentials for your trip. Masks or cloth coverings are mandatory. Take along lots of hand sanitizer for when washing your hands with soap isn’t an option. It’s also smart to have a thermometer on hand. Pack paper towels and disinfectant wipes. Wipe down everything including phones and tablets every time you get in and out of the car. Bags are also a great idea for disposing of any contaminated masks.
Choose Your Lodging Wisely
Don’t assume the rental home or hotel is clean. Wipe down all hard, nonporous surfaces regularly. Consider asking for clean sheets and making your own bed. For rental homes, ask your host how much time will pass between you and the previous guest. If possible, delay your stay so there’s a 2-3 day buffer. If that’s not possible, doing your own cleaning is much more important.
Keep Your Space
It’s easier to practice physical distancing in some places more than others. Pick destinations where you can be outdoors and away from others like less crowded beaches, national parks, or trails. Check all parks sites for closures and restrictions before you go.
What To Expect at ABIA
If you decide to fly, here are some things we learned on our first flight out of Austin since the pandemic hit.
- Upon arrival you’ll notice that only covered parking is available but there’s a reduced rate. For the blue lot the reduced rate is $10 a day.
- As expected there’s signage and hand sanitizer everywhere as well as marks on the ground for social distancing and announcement reminders.
- If you somehow happen to forget your supples, some souvenir displays have been swapped out with merchandise like masks, sanitizer, and even headrest and tray covers.
- While every airline is different, Southwest is currently only boarding 10 people at a time. Passengers can easily stand a safe distance from each other while waiting to board. Middle seats are open through the end of November. Also, if you’re a snacker, be sure to bring your own. SWA is currently only offering water and a small snack.
Though we didn’t experience a line at check in nor security, the biggest line we saw was at Starbucks. May we suggest grabbing coffee from Ruta Maya or Austin Java instead?
Oh, and here’s the best news about airport travel – everyone at the airport is masked up, even Ray Benson!
Please plan ahead and take precautions. If you feel sick, or have been exposed to someone who might be sick, please postpone all travel plans. Take the necessary steps to keep both yourself and your fellow citizens safe.
Featured photo courtesy of Pexels
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Or head here for all of our travel related stories!