Covid-19 threw a giant wrench in the travel plans for many thousands of people all over the world in 2020. Now that we’ve adjusted somewhat to this temporary situation, people are slowly getting back to their travel plans. Here are a few of CheapAir.com’s top tips to help you travel smarter.
1. Do your research when booking flights. Right now, your in-flight experience isn’t going to look massively different from Economy to Premium Economy on most flights, for example. Of course you still get a more generous baggage allowance, more leg room and comfier seats in a better class of service. We like to do a cost/benefits analysis to work out how long of a flight warrants a roomier seat – we definitely think a cross country flight is worth the extra space.The Qtrip flight search breaks down all of your options in an easy-to-compare results page.
2. The big, somewhat obvious suggestion is to minimize your own need to have too much contact. Check in to your flight the night before on your smartphone; try to not open bags once you’re in the airport; keep your hand sanitizer nearby.
3. We’ve seen a positive shift in boarding procedures across many airlines, which we think is a vast improvement over the “before” times. Instead of the usual group boarding processes that encourage crowding at the gate, most airlines are now boarding in smaller groups from the back of the plane to the front.You can help the whole process by social distancing in the boarding area and staying seated until your small group is called.
4. All airlines pretty much have a mask mandare at this point, but the degree to which mask wearing is enforced is still quite variable. You can be a good neighbor and promote good health by masking up while you’re in the air, except when you’re eating or drinking.
5. We highly recommend downloading a meditation app to your personal device to combat flight anxiety and stress. American Airlines provides the app “Calm” for free. This can help you manage any discomfort and focus yourself on the things you can control.
6. Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize! While most airlines have implemented EPA-approved “fogging” cleanings overnight and sometimes between flights, it’s always a good idea to wipe down the arm rests and tray table at your seat as soon as you get on the plane
7. Don’t forget to check the quarantine protocols for your destination as well as any restrictions for your state on your return. Parents may have an additional layer of policies to review, as some school districts now require self-quarantining before kids can return to school even if the state itself does not. Most states have an honor-system, with scary-sounding fines rarely enforced, but try to stay on the right side of the law so you don’t run afoul of the authorities.
8. A lot of car rental companies now have contact-free procedures, so make sure you take advantage of the much speedier processes in place. For example, you can usually enter your driver’s license details at the point of purchase online, which means when you show up to get your car there’s no waiting and you can head straight to your vehicle.
9. Hotels are also getting into the act, and the larger chains offer no-contact or minimal contact check-in procedures. Choose one of our Covid Clean designated properties, so you can be sure that enhanced cleaning procedures are verified.
10. It’s a good idea to reach out to the concierge or front desk before arrival to suss out the special policies and procedures that could affect your stay. For example, some hotel gyms now require an appointment so guests can socially distance. A quick call can assure you have a comfortable stay.
As companies continue to innovate in the face of these challenging times, travel will only become more safe in the next few months. We’ll keep you updated as we learn about new protocols aimed to keep you safe, and ways you can advocate for your own health in a proactive way.