How to Travel (more) Safely with Omicron and Covid-19
If you’re like most Americans, chances are that you’ve been bitten by the travel bug over the past year. Air travel is back in full force as airlines are filling seats and hotels are filling hotel rooms. With that said, the Omicron variant of Covid-19 virus is running rampant through the United States and all around the world.
What can you do to travel with a little more peace of mind during this unprecedented public health event? Here’s some tips that we’ve compiled to hopefully get you through your next trip Covid-19 free.
Guidelines from the CDC
The science is evolving every day as we keep learning more about his the virus is affecting our lives.
Here are a few questions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to consider as you’re creating your itinerary.
- Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re headed?
- Is COVID-19 spreading in your community?
- Will you or the people who you are traveling with be within six feet of others during or after your trip?
- Are the people who are traveling with you at high risk for COVID-19?
- Do you live with someone who is at high risk?
- Will the state or local government where you live or at your destination require you to stay home for 14 days after traveling?
- If you get sick with COVID-19, will you have to miss work or other obligations?
Depending on your answer to these questions, you have to decide if travel is right for you. Luckily, with proper masking, social distancing, and common sense practices, you don’t have to avoid the airport.
This time last year, N95 masks were in short supply and, depending on where you live in the United States, you might still have issues finding N95 masks. Health officials point out that cloth masks, especially loose fitting ones without proper nose coverage, aren’t going to cut it.
Some airlines, such as Air France, are requiring surgical masks or better (KN95, N95) in order to board the aircraft.
We’ve used CTBiotech for the past 18 months to secure our N95 masks. You can get the standard ear loop masks OR the ones that I like, the ones that have neckbands to not destroy your ears after a long flight.
A box of 50 costs only $29.95, so you’re getting a box of high quality masks for less than a movie and popcorn.
They also sell regular surgical masks as well, but I find these to be easy to pick up at your local pharmacy or even office supply store.
We secured a deal with CTBiotech as well. If you use the code NoMasCoach you’ll save 10% on your order. Shipping is really fast as well.
Covid-19 Antigen Tests
At home testing is an important part of a prevention mechanism, especially as Omicron cases surge. Finding a Covid test at home, however, has been a bit of a challenge. We went to 9 pharmacies here in Seattle and couldn’t find any.
We DID however find a great option on Amazon. The On/Go Covid-19 Antigen Test is an inexpensive option for you to test at home. It’s currently $24.88 for two tests, and you can get the results in as quickly as 15 minutes. Snag a few sets of these for yourself to keep at home AND to take with you on international trips.
But, if you’re traveling back to the USA, how can you use the test to get home?
FDA Emergency Use Authorized at-home rapid antigen tests can now be used by travelers to meet the COVID-19 testing requirements to enter the United States
At home antigen test results are now accepted by the CDC from travelers who are returning to the United States. Only tests that have received an Emergency Use Authorization such as the On/Go COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test can be used for this purpose.
On/GO partnered with a Telehealth provider, AZOVA, to get results you can use to come home. You must take your test under video observation with ID verification and receive a validated result. AZOVA will provide you with these services, and for only $20. That’s a steal.
From the comfort of your hotel room overseas, you can get a Telehealth visit for $20 and two tests for $24.88. Considering the difficulty in getting tests overseas, utilize these tests to make sure you’re not stranded abroad.
Airport Security and CLEAR
The security lines at airports are super long, and let’s be honest, you’re probably not keeping 6 feet between you and the person in front of you.
Using CLEAR allows you to skip the line, keep your ID in your pocket, and use your eyes as your “eye-D.”
You’ll find CLEAR currently in the over 50 cities from Atlanta to Los Angeles and all places in between.
If you don’t have Clear, you can sign up here (our referral link) and get a couple free months to try it out. Membership costs $179/year, but there are options to get it for free OR at a discounted price.
The American Express Platinum, both Personal and Business, offer a $179 credit each year towards membership.
Diamond Medallion members with Delta get free access, as do United 1K and Global Services members.
Fly in Business or First Class if Possible
Yes, I know that not EVERYONE can fly in Business or First Class, but that’s why we’re earning miles and points, right? If you’re able to sit up front, you’re naturally getting more social distancing than if you were sitting in the back.
On domestic flights, most aircraft have a 2/2 configuration, so if you’re traveling with a partner, you don’t have anyone next to you.
On international flights, social distancing is the norm, as many airlines now offer suite doors, flat beds, and at least 6 feet between you and the person in front of you.
Economy’s the only option?
That’s ok! Just be smart about the airline, route, and destination if you can. Depending on where you’re flying to, you might find that the coach class is almost empty. One flight back from London to Seattle that we recently took had only 5 people in the ENTIRE ECONOMY CABIN.
On flights like this, no neighbor, no problem. You’ll be aisles away from the nearest person to you.
Share Your Tips Below
Traveling can happen during Covid, as long as you’re taking the right steps to protect yourself as best you can. What are some common sense things you’re doing to help protect you and your family when traveling during Covid? Share below!
January 5, 2022
Great information here, especially on the masks and Covid19 tests. Thanks.
January 11, 2022
Would you recommend CLEAR if I already have TSA Pre Check? Thanks for the great information!
February 6, 2022
I rarely see 2-2 seating in domestic economy