COVID-19 has changed everything. From how we work to what we eat to where our children go to school, the world is different these days.
We've put together some traveling tips for those who need to fly during this crisis for business, family reasons, or pleasure. Stay safe and mobile with our COVID traveling advice.
Information is power. When the details about the coronavirus seem to change every day - sometimes every hour - it can seem overwhelming. But staying informed is essential. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regularly post online updates about their response to the crisis and recommendations for travelers. International travelers especially should read up on self-quarantine requirements upon return to the U.S. Check in at these sites before you travel and during your trip for new details or guidelines. Consider it an extension of checking your ETD and gate assignment.
Get the Right ID
You need proper ID to pass security. If your driver's license expired during the lockdown, you may still be able to fly in the U.S. The Transportation Safety Administration recognizes that most state DMVs closed, so they'll accept driver's licenses and state-issued ID cards up to a year after expiration for travelers boarding domestic flights right now. International travelers still need a passport.
If you didn't get your REAL ID the last time you renewed your driver's license, you've got time. The Department of Homeland Security had set October 1, 2020, as the deadline for requiring this enhanced form of identification for passengers boarding domestic flights. That deadline has now been extended to October 2021. But you might not want to wait that long, as these ID cards are delivered through U.S. mail.
Anticipate Travel Needs with F1 Products
Being self-sufficient is smarter than ever right now. With many businesses still closed and others limiting hours or offerings, finding necessities on the go can be a challenge. Pack smart with organizers that keep everything you need within easy reach and separate soiled laundry from clean clothes. Include a couple 3-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer in your TSA-approved clear quart bag. Bring your own collapsible water bottle and a few snacks in case there are limited food options at the airport or hotel. Make sure you've got enough medications, including over-the-counter meds, for your entire trip. A bit of careful packing helps limit the contact you need to have with others as you travel.
Wash your hands before and immediately after the security screening at the airport, as well as after touching any surfaces. If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Don't touch your face. Stay six feet away from others whenever possible. Wear a cloth facemask in the airport, on the plane, and in other public spaces. If you're feeling unwell, stay home. These guidelines may seem like a bummer, but they'll help keep you healthy so you can enjoy your trip. And think of the cool masked selfies you'll look back on in years to come!
Be Patient, Kind, and Optimistic
From delays to route changes, traveling is always up in the air. You've no doubt experienced disruptions to your flights in the past. Look at updates to the pandemic response the same way you would gate changes or layovers: a necessary part of the whole travel package. The best way to navigate these uncertainties is with patience, kindness, and a sense of humor. It's still okay to joke with your fellow passengers or compliment a stranger on their artistic mask choice. If you need the solitude, escape into music or a show with noise-cancelling headphones. Just remember that this will all pass, and your journey continues.