13 Tips to Travel Safely In the Era of Coronaviruses

Tips to Traveling Safely During Coronaviruses

The world has come to a standstill over COVID-19. Many feel like the world is about to end. Others are staying home terrorized with complete fear. But no matter what happens with the COVID-19 we will never be the same.

Coronaviruses like COVID-19 will continue; that is our new reality. But we can learn ways to travel and live in this new reality. One of the most important things we can do is wash our hands and not touch our mouth, eyes, nose, and other parts of our face, and keep good hygiene. Disinfect places you are traveling and clean them as much as possible.

COVID-19 and Other Viruses Are Our Future

Despite all the rumors that continue to float around, COVID-19 and other viruses similar to COVID-19 is a new reality. Many public health officials feel like these kinds of viruses will happen again sometime in the future. It is not a matter of if, but when.

This is a very good Ted Ex talk called the Coronavirus Is Our Future by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna Shaikh is a Global Health Expert who has studied about epidemics and has written a book entitled What’s Killing Us: A Practical Guide to Understanding Our Biggest Global Health Problems.

I believe everyone should watch her video. You can watch it by clicking on the link below:

What I learned from this talk is that these kinds of viruses as COVID-19 will be our future and a large part of this is how we as humans are treating our planet.

Though many may be tempted to spend the rest of their lives in self-imposed quarantine that is really not the answer for most of us. And for those of you who like to travel, as I do, will find their feet itching to go out and travel and see something new.

We must find ways to adjust to this new reality especially as we travel around the globe. As humans, we want to travel, see other places and explore the world we live in, so we should not allow the virus to stop us but we should adjust some of the ways that we do things to remain healthy.

A Note and Disclaimer About Using Bleach

I admit that I am a fan of bleach. I just like to know that something is clean and I figure bleach does the job. Whenever I clean a bathroom I always prefer to use bleach.

Some people have said that soap and water work just fine to combat the Coronaviruses or at least the COVID-19 virus. The truth is what works today to kill one virus may not work to kill another.

Here is an interesting article from the National Geographics called Why soap is preferable to bleach in the fight against coronavirus. You can read the article by clicking here.

So when I speak of using bleach or rubbing alcohol, you can decide what is best for you. If using soap and water if preferred by you then, by all means, use it. After all, at the end of the day the decision is yours and what works for you may not work for me and vice versa.

Here are some of my tips for ways to stay safe during a virus outbreak:

Tip 1 – Wash Your Hands

How many times has this been said WASH YOUR HANDS! Washing our hands and making this a habit, is the number one thing we can do to stay safe from these kinds of viruses.

Health experts are telling us to wash our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When you wash them, make sure you wash all parts of your hands including between each finger and your thumbs.

When the COVID-19 Virus broke out the Vietnamese Government produced a song to remind people to wash these hands and to stay safe during the virus. Here is the song they have written:

Wash your hands before you eat anything. In most parts of Asia, the restaurants will give you a towelette to clean your hands before you eat. In places like America, this is not yet a habit or something the restaurants do. This is a very good habit to get into. Make sure you wash and disinfect your hands even before you eat any snack food.

Tip 2 – Disinfect Your Phone and Other Electronics

Sometimes we wash our hands we may think that is enough but what about the other items we are using every day as our phone, iPad, and computer? Why is it that we think about disinfecting our hands and never the technology devices we use or even share with others?

When I am traveling, there are many times when I have been in a taxi trying to get somewhere and so I handed my phone over to a taxi driver to get some needed directions. I never thought much about disinfecting my phone after that. But the new reality is that we need to think about these things when we are traveling and take the necessary steps to protect ourselves.

We need to also think about disinfecting our computers, computer keyboards, and other technical devices. Viruses can stay and harbor on these surfaces unless we disinfect them properly. We must be careful to clean them properly so that we will not get damaged. You can find out more about how to properly clean and disinfect your computer and electronics by clicking here.

Tip 3 – Disinfect Your Area On the Plane, Train or Bus

If you are traveling, especially doing a budget journey, you need to be sure to wipe down your area on the plane, train or bus. This is just common sense though few people actually do this. Yes, people do clean the airplanes but if you want to make sure it is really clean you should do it yourself. Below is a clean list of ways you can disinfect and protect yourself while traveling.

Disinfecting On the Plane. Trains or Bus Checklist:

  • Disinfect the tray, arm handles, and TV screen. I like to use Clorox Wipes to Go. If you cannot find any Clorox wipes or something similar, can take a paper towel, some bleach, and water or rubbing alcohol and put it in a plastic bag to keep it wet until you are ready to use it. You can find those supplies almost anywhere in the world. The main thing is that you disinfect the area and you make sure it is clean.
  • Wipe Other Electronics – Some planes, trains or buses have a small remote control or other electronics. You can wipe those with a very damp cloth. I sometimes use a partly dried Clorox wipe.
  • Disinfect the Toilets – When I am on a flight I will always disinfect the toilets when I use them. I carry with me small size Lysol spray, and Clorox to Go along with Wet Ones everywhere I travel. If you can not find these or something similar to these items then make your own with bleach and water or rubbing alcohol on a paper towel in a small plastic bag.
  • Clean Seats – I have been known to take a Wet One and to quickly wipe over my seat and headrest. I just find I feel like it is cleaner and I feel better about sitting in the seat especially for a long haul flight.

Other Things To Bring On Planes, Trains or Buses

If you are going on a long haul flight, bus or train here are also some things I always travel with:

  • Clean Pillowcase – I just do not trust pillowcases that most planes give you. I usually bring my own pillow and have my own pillowcase that I know is clean. Once I am off that plane I will clean that pillowcase for my next trip. If I have a neck pillow that has been hanging on my suitcase as I walked through the airport I will always put my pillowcase over it when I am on the plane. So I usually travel with my own pillow (I have a down pillow so that it will pack very small in my suitcase) and an extra pillowcase for my neck pillow.
  • Blanket – I always bring my own blanket on a plane for a long haul journey. I have a MIcrofiber Travel Blanket that folds down very small called Mission Ready. It is a lightweight and washes well. But I have also gone to IKEA and purchased one of their cheaper blankets and used those. Many of IKEA’s blankets work great for travel.

If you are traveling with not much luggage. you may worry about bringing these extra items with you. I have found that if you pack correctly they will not take up much space and in the process, they will ensure that you stay healthy during your trip.

Tip 4 – Disinfect Hotel Room Surfaces

No matter if I am staying in a 5-star hotel or a cheaper hotel I will always do a few things when I get into the hotel:

  • Disinfect Headboard – I usually have the travel size Lysol bottles with me and I will spray down my headboard or at least the side I will be sleeping on.
  • Wipe Down Surfaces – I will also wipe down any surfaces I am using as the desk or nightstand and even areas in the bathroom.
  • Wipe Down Remote Controls – One of the major things everyone does when they get into a hotel room is they will turn on the Television to see what is on or use the remote control for the aircon. I will also make sure the remotes are wiped down with a damp cloth so I know they are clean.

I do this kind of disinfection even if I am in a 5-star hotel or if I am in a backpackers hostel. I like to know that the place I am staying or sleeping will be clean. And since I have done this for most of my years of travel it is very rare for me to get sick when I am traveling. I think one reason is that I have taken these extra precautions.

Tip 5 – Carry Travel Size Hand Sanitizers and Other Cleaners.

It just makes sense to travel with small hand sanitizers and other cleaners as Lysol spray, Clorox wipes or Wet Ones. If you cannot find these exact brands find what is available and easy for you to get. If you can not find any of these then consider making your own.

If you want to read about more items you should have to stay safe on your travels read the blog 6 Items I Always Travel With, And Why You Should Also by clicking here.

Tip 6 – Don’t Touch Your Face, Eyes or Nose

Besides washing your hands, the one thing everyone has said to not get a Coronavirus is to not touch your mouth, nose, eyes and your face in general. This is of course very good advice for us all to remember.

Do not use the back of your hand to wipe your nose. If you have a runny nose stay home or stay in your hotel room to get well. And when you need to wipe your nose use a kleenex. If you need to cough or sneeze, please cover your face and nose, preferably with a kleenex.

It would be a good thing to always travel with some travel size kleenex packets. In China, you will find people always have these small kleenex packets with them. Many toilets in China do not have toilet paper, so the Chinese have a habit to always have small kleenex packets with them. If you cannot find a travel size kleenex packet you can put some kleenex tissues in a plastic bag

Tip 7 – Use Good Hygiene

We should not need to talk about good hygiene but with the outbreak of these coronaviruses having good hygiene is now more important than ever. Your hygiene matters not only to you but also to everyone you come in contact with. Having bad hygiene not only hurts you but can also affect those around you.

Here are a few hygiene basics, especially when you are traveling:

  • Take a Shower Every Morning – Take a Shower every morning  Even if you do not like to shower make sure you take one especially when you are traveling. The reason is it will help you to stay clean. In many parts of Asia, people will bathe three times a day. They do this for cleanliness and also because the temperature is so hot it not only cools them down but also keeps them clean.
  • Take A Shower Every Evening – When you are out traveling, take a shower in the evening. This is not a suggestion but should be a requirement especially in the age of Coronaviruses. You do not want to go to sleep and have dirt, dust and who knows what else all over your pillow when you are sleeping.
  • Wash Your Hair – This may seem like common sense but if your hair is dirty and you lay down on the pillow at night, of course, your pillow is also going to get dirty. So make sure to wash your hair frequently. I wash my daily for this very reason.
  • Don’t Wear The Same Clothes Days in A Row – Do not wear the same clothes days in a row. If you have limited clothes with you then wash them in your room or have the hotel wash them or a laundry service.
  • Take Control Of Your Own Cleanliness – If you are a backpacker and will be going on trains or buses or in a lot of small hotels or hostels, then take control of your own cleanliness in these places. Consider adding to your supplies either a large sheet you can fold in half and sleep between, or have your own sleeping bag or buy one of the silk sleeping bags that are sold in many parts of Asia. Make it your priority for you to take control of your own cleanliness and your own health.

Tip 8 – Know What Is Acceptable Where You Are Traveling

Where ever you are traveling know what is acceptable or not acceptable. For example now in many parts of Asia everyone is wearing a mask. In places like America, they are telling people that a mask does not help or matter.

If you are traveling to Asia, having a mask is the acceptable thing to do, so get yourself one and wear it. Know what is considered acceptable to where you are traveling to make sure you follow the social norms.

Tip 9 – If You Are Sick Stay In And Self Quarantine

If you are sick, coughing or have a fever then stay in your hotel even if you are traveling. One thing we have all learned from the COVID-19 virus is that we can get others sick if we are not careful.

If you are sick then self-quarantine. Even if you are with a group of people and they are going out to see things you want to see, you still owe it them and everyone else to self-quarantine and get yourself well again.

In many parts of Asia, they are taking everyone’s temperature to get into a Walmart, Shopping Mall or even the airport. So if you are sick there are chances they may not even allow you in or even allow you on a train, bus or plane. In some places, if you have a fever they may even report you and force you to the hospital. So it is best if you try to control this on your own by staying and getting better.

Tip 10 – If You Are Really Sick, Go See A Doctor

If you are really sick, go see a doctor. This is just common sense especially during this time of Coronaviruses. Most places in the world will have medical clinics or hospitals that have at least some western standards. The hard part maybe if you do not know anyone or how to find the information on where to get the proper medical care you need.

If you are not sure where to go to find a qualified doctor this blog on Overseas Medical Emergency, How to Find Qualified Medical Care 101 gives some very good advice on how to find the medical care need you are traveling overseas. You can read the blog by clicking here.

Tip 11 – Travel With Enough Supplies To Stay Safe

Make sure before you travel that you have enough supplies that you need to stay healthy. It is usually easier to bring things with you than to try to find them along the way. So bring with you as much as you can to help you stay healthy and safe.

For example, if you wear contacts, make sure you bring extra contact lenses and solution with you. Finding them during your travels could prove impossible. Read our blog entitled Traveling Southeast Asia with Contact Lenses, What You Need to Know by clicking here.

Tip 12 – Make Health A Priority During Your Travels

If you are planning to travel for a long period of time or long distance then make staying and being healthy a priority. For example, if you will need to be able to walk a lot during your travels, then make sure you are able to walk the distance that is required before you set out on your travel or adventure.

Here are some tips to help you stay healthy during your travels:

  • Start Out Your Travels Healthy – Start out your travels healthy. If you go onto a 15 hours flight with a bad cold, chances are that cold will not get better during your travels and you will give others the same cold in the process. So start out your travels healthy.
  • Build Up Your Immune System – Make sure your immune system is built up before, during and after you travel. Take Vitamin C and other Vitamins to build up your immune system.
  • Get Enough Sleep – Get enough sleep before, during and after your travel. If you have a hard time getting the sleep your need because of jetlag consider taking some medicine to help you sleep.
  • Eat Right – It can be easy when you are traveling to go completely off a healthy diet. This can mean that you are not only eating the wrong foods but also not getting enough fruits, vegetables or water for you to stay healthy. Try to eat right so you can stay healthy. You may want to consider bringing some healthy snacks with you so that you have them if you need them. Many times I travel with a shaker bottle and Whey Protein. I will put the Whey protein serving in small plastic bags so that I can easily use them and mix the Whey protein with water.
  • Exercise – I believe exercise helps to keep your immune system and health in check. When you are traveling take the time to stay healthy by getting in your exercise.

Tip 13 – Don’t Go To A Wild Animal Market or Eat Wild Animals

Most experts feel that COVID -19 started at one of the Wild Animals Markets in Wuhan, China. There is really no reason for you to try to out of your way to eat a monkey or go to a market that is filled with bats, snakes or other wild animals.

After COVID-19 if there is one thing we should have all learned is that common sense tells us that we should all stay away from these kinds of Wild Animal markets especially when we are traveling. If you are traveling and that is on your itinerary then skip that part of the travel. Go find something else to do.

Seeing wild animals in cages ready to be eaten is not something you really need to see or experience and Wild Animal Markets like that should rightfully be outlawed and banned all around the world.

Living and traveling in the age of Coronaviruses is now the new normal. We do not want to all stop living but at the same time, we should all take the steps necessary to stay healthy and safe.

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Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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