Even with the airports, hotels, and tour companies slowly opening their doors to travelers, most people are still reluctant to take the risk. Truth be told: the virus is still here, and it will continue to stay for nobody knows how long. However, a lot has happened since 2020 and looking back, we’re more informed now than ever.
While staying at home is still the key to safeguarding you and your family from COVID-19, it’s impossible to stay like this forever. There’ll be instances when you’ll have to travel for work or reward yourself with a vacation for your mental well-being. Luckily, there are ways to enjoy the outdoors while prioritizing safety amidst the pandemic.
Let’s start with hotels. Are they safe? What are the extra precautions you can take once you’re there? Is it necessary to disinfect your hotel room? Under what conditions could you risk exposure? To answer these questions, read on to learn about the ways to ensure a COVID-19-free hotel stay.
1. Treat paranoia with facts
Just when you thought COVID-19 is alarming enough, the spread of fake or outdated information about the virus, fueling the fear, makes it worse. So let’s debunk some myths with facts (Source: WHO, May 2021):
- It’s a lot safer to sanitize your hands frequently than wearing gloves.
- Don’t hesitate to use the communal bottle of sanitizer. Once you’ve disinfected your hands, any virus that’s in the bottle won’t be able to infect you.
- COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, not a fecal-oral one. There’s no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food (unless the packaging is contaminated and inhaled).
- The virus doesn’t transmit via water while swimming. However, it can spread through the air when you have close contact with an infected person. Your concern should be the people around you and proximity in that scenario.
- The WHO does NOT recommend exercising with masks on. With this, you’re better off avoiding the cramped gym and opt to exercise in an open space far away from other people.
2. Choose a hotel chain with solid safety measures
The pandemic has drastically changed the way we travel — and that includes our hotel accommodation criteria. Instead of getting captivated by cheap rates, exclusive promos, and luxurious amenities, pay attention to the hotel chain’s response to COVID-19.
Make sure your hotel follows enhanced safety protocols. Look for a clear COVID-19 policy on their website wherein they list down the measures they’re taking to protect guests and employees. These include stepping up sanitation and hygiene measures, enforcing mask-wearing and social distancing, having contactless check-ins, and the likes.
Other hotels, like this hotel in Carlow, even have a certificate that indicates the place has been disinfected and has complied with the COVID-19 prevention standards.
3. Smart (and not hard) cleaning is the key
Should you disinfect your hotel room and everything you see?
Earlier articles about the pandemic suggested that intensely disinfecting surfaces seemed like the best way to prevent infection. Today, health experts have finally understood how the virus spreads. And while it’s still possible for you to get COVID-19 by touching a contaminated area, it is not the most common way coronavirus spreads.
So the answer to the previous question is a yes and no.
Yes, you should wipe down commonly-touched surfaces, and no, you don’t need to be a complete germaphobe, wiping down everything. It’s not necessary to stress over scrubbing the toilet or wiping down each piece of furniture. Instead, focus your energy on high-touch areas like light switches, doorknobs, and remote controls.
4. Normalize being okay with staying away from people
Know where the real risk lies: other people
Scientists and health experts assert that the virus spreads primarily through person-to-person. It can occur when an infected person speaks, coughs, and sneezes. It will let out those minuscule respiratory droplets, which will then be inhaled by another person.
And with the virus known to spread among asymptomatic people too, you have to assume that anyone you encounter outside of your household could be potentially infectious. The closer you are to someone infectious, and the longer your interaction is, the more likely you are to get infected.
Prevention is simple: mask + distance. The power combo of keeping your masks on and maintaining a safe distance of 6 feet (2 meters) between you and others can significantly reduce your risk of infection.
5. Sanitize your hands
Next to wearing masks and keeping a safe distance, be mindful of your hands and the things they touch. After touching high-touch surfaces, like elevator buttons, handrails, counters, pens, and other items that aren’t yours, make it a habit to sanitize. Use alcohol-based sanitizers or wash your hands with antibacterial soaps, whenever possible.
6. Open the windows
If your hotel room has windows or a balcony door, open them to bring in the fresh air. Airing out your hotel room or vacation rental is probably the best way to clean the space. Leave them open for a few minutes when you first enter.
Just remember that not all hotels have windows that can be opened. Before booking a hotel, make sure they have the features you’re looking for. You can also request a room that’s unoccupied for a day or two before your check-in.
7. Skip housekeeping
If you’re staying only for a few days, you may forgo this service to limit interaction. You can easily tell a hotel is clean and safe by checking the key areas and seeing if they’re free of dust and dirt.
8. Avoid confined public spaces
Ask for a room on the lower floor so you can choose to take the stairs over the elevator. Need to exercise? Skip the gym and ask the concierge for a jogging route map instead. Want to dine and wine? See if the hotel has al-fresco dining options. You can also have your food delivered to your room, if possible.
Just because vaccines are being rolled out doesn’t mean it’s okay to let your guard down. If you follow our tips, you can keep yourself, your family, and other people safe while having a rewarding trip on cruxair.com.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a passionate travel blogger who loves street photography, food trips, and writing articles about travel, food, and lifestyle. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Woodford Dolmen Hotel Carlow.