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Precautions to take if you have to travel this holiday season

Posted at 6:07 AM, Nov 25, 2020

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is usually one of the busiest travel days of the year, and this year, the coronavirus is an extra hassle with nearly 260,000 deaths across the country.

The CDC is recommending people not travel to limit catching or spreading COVID-19, but if you must, Dr. Meilan Han, a pulmonologist at the University of Michigan has three things to keep in mind: Who you're traveling with, how you're traveling, and where you're going.

Air travel has dipped over the last 8 months because of the pandemic, but according to TSA travel data, the holiday season appears to be the exception with a million people flying on Monday.

"Who do you have in your (travel) party? Do you have any individuals that are older with chronic medical conditions that are going to be at increased risk for severe illness should they contract COVID?" Han said. "I think the other thing is to consider is are you traveling by yourself or do you have a large party particular with small children that you have to manage for social distancing and handwashing."

According to Han, data sows that flying itself is actually fairly safe given the increased precautions airlines have taken with ventilation and air filters, but you still have to manage the airport, keeping disntance from other people in lines and traveling with small children.

"If you're heading to DTW, you'll definitely notice signs everywhere reminding you that face coverings are required in our terminals," DTW spokeswoman Erica Donerson said.

If you don't have a mask, DTW has dispensers where you can grab a free one, and she said cleaning is more frequent.

"We also have some signage that reminds you about social distancing, floor markings, basically anything you can think of related to the pandemic," she added.

If the pandemic caused a high COVID-19 case rate at your destination, Han said you may want to re-think traveling there.

"We are near the end of the finish line for this very long haul. Vaccines are hopefully right around the corner and so we don't want to fall apart just as we're getting to the finish line. We need to finish strong and to finish safe," Han said.

According to the TSA, twice as many people traveled this time last year.