Traveling during the holidays is a great way to make special memories with your loved ones. Many people are looking forward to traveling again this year after staying home for the past two years due to COVID-19.
In most cases, traveling is a safe way to see new places or visit family members who live far away. However, there are safety concerns that can arise any time you travel.
Fortunately, whether you’re planning to fly or drive somewhere this holiday season, there are steps you can take to keep your travel party safe. Before your trip, review these tips to make sure everyone is practicing safe travel behavior and that they’re aware of what to do in case of an emergency.
Is travel safe?
Generally, travel is safe. Millions of people get on an airplane to fly somewhere every single day — and the likelihood of dying in a plane crash for the average American is 1 in 11 million. Even road travel, which is slightly more dangerous than flying, is typically safe as long as you follow safe driving practices.
One of the biggest concerns since 2020 is the spread of COVID-19 during travel, especially flying. From walking through a crowded airport to sitting with hundreds of people on a full plane, it can be easy to contract the virus when traveling.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, do not travel. Follow recommendations for isolation and reschedule your trip if possible. If you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, get tested at least five days after you’ve been exposed, and do not travel until you’ve taken a negative test.
Should you travel for the holidays?
Holiday travel gets a bad rap for being overly stressful and exhausting. While it is true that more people travel during major holidays, there are ways you can minimize stress and enjoy the opportunity to get away. If you’re planning to travel this year, don’t let the fear of crowded airports or long road trips keep you from enjoying some quality time with loved ones.
Tips for flying during the holidays
Flying is the most efficient way to travel by far. You can typically get somewhere in just a few hours instead of driving for nearly three or four times the amount of time. While flying is relatively safe for most people, there are certain things you can do to help reduce the stress of travel and make sure you’re staying safe.
Book flights strategically
To avoid the large crowds that tend to flood the airport around the holidays, try to schedule your flights for off-peak days and times. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after are always high-traffic days. For Christmas, the Friday prior and the Monday after tend to be the busiest.
Be prepared beforehand
One of the best things you can do when taking a trip anywhere is to come prepared with a printed boarding pass, relevant travel apps, charges for your electronics, and any travel documents you might need. Being prepared will allow you to handle unexpected surprises with ease and minimize potential stress.
Watch the safety briefing
Most people are too busy or distracted during the safety briefing to pay attention (or they assume they won’t need the information), but the instructions can be crucial during turbulence or other emergency issues on the flight.
Wear a mask during the flight
Now that more and more people have become vaccinated against COVID-19 or they have the antibodies to stay protected, fewer people are wearing a mask. However, it’s a good idea to wear a mask both in the airport and during the flight to keep you protected against the virus.
Road trip safety tips
While driving to your destination can be an affordable way to travel and allow you to make several stops at spots along the way, there are also a number of unforeseen accidents that can occur. Although you can’t predict what might happen during a road trip, there are things you can do to prepare yourself so you can keep yourself and your family safe.
Always wear your seatbelt
This isn’t only applicable when traveling. Any time you’re in a car, whether you’re driving or a passenger, you should always buckle up. By wearing a seatbelt, you can reduce your risk of being injured or killed in a car accident by 50%. If you have young children, wearing your seatbelt will also set an example for them so they know the importance of doing this even when you’re not in the car with them.
Take your car in for a once-over
Even for short trips, it’s a good idea to get your car checked out by a professional. Make sure they look at your tire pressure, oil levels, tire tread, fluid levels, and wiper blades. If you haven’t had your oil changed in a while, get one done before you leave. This is not the time to assume a sound is normal — if something seems funky, get it checked!
Don’t be a hero — get some rest
It can be tempting to drive through the night or attempt a long stretch of driving while everyone else in the car is asleep. You may think the peace and quiet are worth giving up a few hours of rest, but drowsy drivers are responsible for more than 6,400 fatal car accidents each year. If there’s someone else in the car who can trade off driving with you, allow them to take over while you rest, or pull over so you can take a break.
Pack a first aid kit
It’s a good idea to always have an emergency kit in your car in case you get stranded or have a medical issue of some sort while on the road. Make sure you’ve got essential items like bandaids, aspirin, scissors, water bottles, antibiotic ointment, road flares, and anything else that is applicable to you.
Travel is a great way to enjoy time with family and friends during the holiday season; however, it’s important that you follow safety best practices. Plan your trip beforehand so you know exactly what you need to bring and prepare for anything outside of the plan.
If something unexpected does happen and you need medical attention, consider visiting CareNow®. We’ve got more than 175 locations throughout the country and we’re open after hours and on the weekend.
We welcome walk-ins and offer a Web Check-In® feature so you can wait from anywhere! To find the location nearest you, visit our website.
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