November is typically when we start planning holiday gatherings, road trips to see family, and what we’re going to buy for everyone on our gift list.
However, since we’re currently living in uncertain times, things will be a lot different this season. If you do plan on traveling to see friends and family, make sure you’re vigilant — after all, the best gift of all is good health.
So, here are a few tips for staying safe while traveling this holiday season.
Thanksgiving is the kick-off to the holiday season, one that’s filled with an abundance of tasty food, football, and typically, a lot of people.
Have a serious conversation with your family about what makes sense this year. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. Some families may have more elderly folks, and others may live in a high-risk area — there are so many variables. If you plan on celebrating turkey day (or any holiday this season, for that matter), keep the following tips in mind.
- Quarantine: If possible, have everyone quarantine for two weeks beforehand. If not, it would be a good idea if everyone got tested before getting together.
- Keep it small: Follow your state’s regulations for the number of people allowed for personal gatherings — it’s typically no more than ten people.
- Social distance: Keep a distance of six feet apart, including at the dinner table.
- Seat strategically: Seat people based on factors such as whether or not they live in a high-risk area, placing the kids at a separate table, etc. Sit outdoors, if possible.
- Serve smart: Family style isn’t a safe option because everyone will be touching the same implements. Instead, appoint one person to take orders and fill each plate individually. While it won’t be as fancy as grandma’s china, opt for disposable plates, utensils, and cups for optimum sanitation purposes. Bonus points for not having to do the dishes!
- Sanitize: Implement a sanitation routine for before, during, and after guests come. While having guests stay over is undoubtedly a risk, think of how you’re going to keep common places like the bathroom, living room, or kitchen regularly sanitized.
- Consider rescheduling: If you or your loved ones live in a high-risk area where there are many COVID-19 cases, consider rescheduling. It’s not the news anyone wants to hear, but better safe than sorry.
Rethink Your Road Trip
You may have taken 100 road trips in your lifetime, but there are a few additional considerations to make when you’re on the road amid a global pandemic.
- Rent a larger car: Being packed like sardines in a can makes it impossible to distance yourself from others — especially if you’re traveling with kids who tend to get antsy in the car. Temporarily trade your wheels in for a more spacious vehicle, such as an SUV. Virus aside, you can find comfort in knowing the car is up to snuff in terms of safety, and you’ll be able to handle the roads better if it’s snowing.
- Create a Covid safety kit: Don’t get so caught up packing presents and road nosh that you forget to pack essential items such as extra sanitizer and face masks, a thermometer, and disinfectant and isopropyl alcohol wipes (clean that phone!). Of course, don’t forget standard road trip safety items such as a spare cell phone charger, jumper cables, a blanket, first-aid kit, and flashlight.
- Regularly sanitize: Follow the CDC’s guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing. Doing this regularly (especially in areas that are frequently touched) can reduce potential infection risk.
Take Care of Your Health
The holidays are undoubtedly one of the craziest times of the year, but now more than ever, it’s crucial that you’re taking care of your health. Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season!
- Get enough sleep: When you’re rundown, you’re more apt to get sick because your immune system is compromised. Don’t let the busy holiday season rob you of your much-needed 7-8 hours of snooze time.
- Eat healthy: Sure, the next few months are all about imbibing a little bit here and there, but make sure you’re eating healthy, clean meals in between those swigs of egg nog and scoops of mashed potatoes. The same goes for alcohol consumption—everything in moderation.
- Make time for exercise: Not only is physical activity a major mood booster, but it also helps keep your immune system boosted and the number on the scale in check.
- Find time for yourself: Carve out regular time for yourself to implement a little self-care. This can be anything from taking a bubble bath, reading a good book, or binging on a new Netflix series. Whatever gives you peace.
- Limit contact: Opt to do your holiday shopping online this year, but don’t forget to support smaller, local retailers too!
- Sanitize surfaces: Even if you’re not having guests over, it’s important to sanitize surfaces within your home regularly. Don’t forget about little things like door handles (even the fridge), faucets, places where you eat, and your electronics.
- Sneeze smarts: Cough or sneeze into your arm and immediately wash your hands after blowing your nose.
- Hands-off: Whether you’re headed to the grocery store or are off to do a little holiday shopping, limit the number of things you touch, such as handrails, seating, store merchandise, door handles, etc. When you do come into contact with a surface, immediately wash your hands and sanitize them afterward.
Use Common Sense
No matter how badly you want to see your loved ones, deciding whether or not to get together, it all comes down to common sense. Ask yourself:
- Is COVID-19 currently spreading at my destination? Are the cases on the rise or not showing any signs of real improvement?
- Am I or is someone I will be in contact with at an increased risk for the virus due to being older or having a particular medical condition?
- Do I live with someone who is at an increased risk that my traveling could compromise their health?
- Am I really feeling okay?