Travel Tips for a COVID World
Over the last quarter of a century my roles as the CEO of an Employee Workforce & Benefits company with a national footprint, as well as President of a Chamber of Commerce, have kept me moving throughout the country, ether visiting with clients, at meetings, or attending one of the many conferences that chamber folks are so fond of.
Of course, I, like almost everyone else in the universe was grounded last March due to COVID.
As the 14-day “slow the curve” turned into 14 months, I felt a certain nostalgia for the dreadful hotel breakfast buffets and endless airport delays that I had grown accustomed to, so when the opportunity came to attend a meeting this week out of state, I loaded up my hand sanitizer, grabbed my mask and headed for the airport.
I will say that I did not know what to expect and was more than a little nervous about the thought of so many people being packed into an airplane close together for hours. I also had concerns about how problematic the new protocols would be. Fast forward with TSA pre-check ticket in hand, I headed off to TPA and was not only surprised, but delighted in how well everything worked.
I arrived safe and sound and am happy to share with you a few tips that will put your mind at ease should you be considering travel for work or pleasure.
Tip 1: Check travel restrictions for your destination. Most of the United States is open, but a few places as of today, September 28 – California, Hawaii, Kansas and Puerto Rico – may require visitors to quarantine or fill out entry forms. If you are planning international travel, please check the state department’s website for the most up-to-date travel advisories.
Tip 2: Bring a comfortable mask. You will be wearing it all day. This is not a political statement, it’s the law. Federal law requires everyone to wear a mask in every U.S. airport and throughout every flight that starts and ends in the United States. Also remember mask ordinances differ state to state, and city to city, please don’t blame a cashier or waiter if they simply remind you of the local laws.
Tip 3: Bring antibacterial wipes (They’re approved by TSA). Wipe down the seat in the airport and the plane – don’t forget the tray table. I know it may sound like overkill as airlines are taking extra sanitizing precautions already, but I’m a subscriber to the motto “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” If you don’t have antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer with a 70% or better alcohol content on a napkin will do the trick. Also note that the TSA is currently allowing liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, versus the typical three ounces in carry-on bags until further notice. Oh, and wash your hands often.
Tip 4: Supply-chain disruptions are significant and widespread, so if you need it, bring it. Don’t count on the local stores to have your brand of toothpaste, or worse yet, a pharmacy having a prescription you may need. Additionally, many employers are facing a labor shortage, so be patient and polite to those who are doing their best to help you.
Stay safe and if you’re comfortable traveling, I recommend doing so. Just be smart, easy-going and always err on the side of caution and you will be just fine. Please be kind to one another, here or wherever the road takes you.
– Barry Rubin
Treasure Island & Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce