After 6 long months of being quarantined for our own safety, the world is slowly opening up again. We’re now winning the battle against COVID 19. The number of infected and COVID-related deaths has drastically reduced. We’ve read encouraging reports about businesses reopening. Best of all, several vaccines in development have now entered Phases 3 or even done on limited tests.
This is great news for us, adventurers and travelers. If you’ve noticed lately, passenger aircraft have started to soar again, and marine vessels are starting to ply our seas. Buses are now coasting along our highways. Hotels and restaurants have reopened their doors. Some tourist spots and attractions have even started to accept visitors.
However, you need to remember there’s still a pandemic, and the invisible enemy—the SARS COV 2 virus—is still lurking by. To reduce your chances of being infected while traveling, you need to follow some simple guidelines.
Things to bring
1. Whatever you do, ALWAYS WEAR a face mask AND a transparent face shield wherever you go. The face shield doubles your protection.
2. Bring liquid soap with you. Yes, good old ordinary liquid soap. Soap is the most effective and most powerful virus killer. Why? Soap tears the virus apart! Just be sure to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.
Wash your hands as often as you can—in bus stops, airplane lavatories, restaurants, and more. Who knew that simple handwashing is our best weapon against the virus!
3. Bring a bottle of rubbing alcohol with at least 70% alcohol if you think water will be hard to come by. Rubbing alcohol works similarly to soap. Preferably, use an alcohol-based gel sanitizer. The gel stays on your hand longer, allowing you to rub your hands for 20 seconds. Soap is preferred though.
4. Bring a tube of disinfecting wipes. Note that these are different from sanitary wipes that you use on your skin. Disinfecting wipes are used to sanitize and disinfect surfaces.
5. Bring an ID and a medical certificate that shows you’re in good health. Some LGUs might even require you to present the result of a swab test before you can enter their city.
1. Consciously stay at least 6 feet away from other people, especially those who are sick.
2. Stay away from indoor places with poor ventilation or with a lot of people. Examples of these are offices, indoor cafes, churches, and co-working spaces. Recent studies have shown that the virus spreads easily in these places.
3. As much as possible, avoid getting in contact with frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, keypads, handrails, and similar places. The SARS COV 2 virus can remain active on these surfaces.
Try to find a way to limit touching. For example, use a scrap of paper between your finger and the keypad of an ATM machine. Or push a door using your elbow or elbow.
4. Grocery stores, wet markets, supermarkets, offices, and other establishments often have foot markers. Follow them.
5. Many places have their own health protocols in place. Always follow them no matter how strange or inconvenient they may seem.
1. We all love staying in homestays. But as of now, it’s safer to stay in hotels. Hotels implement various safety protocols, including regular sanitizing and disinfecting. In homestays, you won’t really know if they’re diligently following some sort of safety protocol.
2. Always abide by the hotel’s health protocols, no matter how inconvenient they may be. These are for your safety. Do not stay in a hotel if you think they have inadequate or don’t have safety protocols.
3. Disinfect your luggage by wiping them with disinfectant wipes or a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.
4. After entering your hotel room from your sojourn, before anything else, drop your clothes and stuff, head directly to the shower, and take a shower. Rub soap all over your body to destroy any virus on your skin.
5. Put your clothes in a plastic bag and have them laundered. Don’t forget to wash your hands after doing so.
1. For now, avoid eating in full buffets or salad bars. A study in Japan showed the coronavirus spreads easily in buffets and salad bars via cross-contamination. Cross-contamination refers to the physical transfer of pathogens from one object to another.
If an infected person touches a buffet utensil such as a serving spoon, those pathogens can transfer to everyone touching that serving spoon.
2. If you have to eat in a buffet, make sure you’re eating in an establishment that’s doing “assisted buffet.” You’ll just go to the counter, indicate the food you want to eat, then the staff will serve you the dish. In that way, you don’t have to touch anything.
4. Before using restaurant utensils, disinfect them with a treatment of alcohol wipes.
5. Better yet, bring your own disinfected utensils.
6. For now, avoid eating exotic food, no matter how adventurous you are. Remember that the SARS 2 COV virus originated from the Wuhan wet market, a place known for selling wild animals for human consumption.
1. Always follow safety protocols as mandated by airlines and shipping lines. If the airline requires you to have a mandatory swab test, then have yourself tested.
2. We love riding jeepneys, mini-buses, and buses while going from place to place (or eavesdrop on fellow passengers). But while the threat of COVID 19 persists, it’s often preferable to ride solo. This is one of those times when paying for an entire tricycle or taking a rental car or taxi is more practical. Yes, you may have to spend extra money, but that’s a small price to pay for your safety.
3. Better yet, rent a motorcycle or bicycle and explore the destination on your own!
4. If you have to ride on a jeepney or bus, make sure you keep your distance from other passengers. Most jeepney operators have some sort of barrier to separate each passenger from another. Bus operators limit their seating capacities to ensure there’s a lot of space between passengers.
5. If possible, ride a non-airconditioned public transportation. Or open the windows of taxis and renteed cars. Studies suggested that poorly maintained air-conditioner units may help spread the SARS 2-Cov virus. Fresh air, on the other hand, blows away aerosols and droplets that may harbor the virus. And as the vehicle moves, fresh air continuously flows through the vehicle.
Compare that to possibly infected air that is constantly circulated in a closed air-conditioned vehicle.
6. Before sitting down on a public vehicle, wipe the seat, armrests, and other surfaces with a disinfectant wipe or a cloth dampened with alcohol. Avoid getting in physical contact with frequently touched parts of the vehicle such as handrails, handles, and such.
7. Disinfect or wash your hands upon disembarking.
Attractions and Activities
1. Avoid popular attractions, tourist spots, and destinations that are crowded with people. Or visit them at a day or time when there are fewer people around.
2. Go for activities and adventures that don’t require you to join a large group. This is your chance to explore new things! Rock climbing, trekking with just a couple of friends, caving, visiting less popular attractions, whitewater kayaking—these are just some examples of activities that you can safely do without being with a lot of people.
3. Don’t travel with a lot of friends. Solo or duo travel is safer and more practical for now.
Most Important Tips
1. We can’t stress this enough! Always wash your hands with soap and water whenever you can. Heck, here at home, we wash hands every hour!
2. We can’t stress this enough as well! Always wear a good-quality face mask. Wearing a mask alone gives you around 90% protection against the virus.
3. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t issued a definite answer on the level of protection a face shield provides, it’s highly advisable that you wear a face shield as another layer of protection.
Pretty soon, we’ll be back to our normal lives, and the COVID 19 pandemic will be another chapter of history. When that happens, we’ll travel and adventure like never before! We know that you, dear readers, are itching to explore beautiful places and kick that adrenaline level a notch or two.
Until then, we have to acknowledge the existence of the coronavirus. And the good thing is that adapting is extremely easy through regular disinfecting, practicing good hygiene, and diligently adhering to safety protocols.