People are set to travel for the holidays; experts offer tips to do it safely

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It may not even be the travel that is the risky behavior, doctors say


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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In the next few days and weeks, people will be traveling, despite the governor repeatedly asking Ohioans to stay within their household for holiday celebrations.

AAA expects 2.1 million Ohioans to travel by car this Thanksgiving week. It sounds like a lot, but that’s about a 10 percent drop from last year.

“We’re expecting the biggest drop in Thanksgiving travel we’ve seen since the Great Recession of 2008 at AAA,” said AAA spokesperson Jim Garrity.

More people are staying home, but those hitting the road have some added steps to put on their list before they leave.

“You are going to want to know not only what are the regulations and requirements where you are going but along the way, not to mention where you are,” Garrity said.

That means knowing hotel policies, making sure you have enough face masks for the family and cutting back on fuel stops and bathroom breaks.

“Maybe consider how you can limit the amount of stops you make along the way thereby limiting the touchpoints along the way,” Garrity said.

Are there safer ways to travel than others? Are cars safer than planes?

“There are risks for both,” said Mercy Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Kravec. “You are stopping more when you are driving. You are exposing yourself to different rest stops, for example, or places to get food or gas. In the airplane, it’s a little different place, but it’s a longer period of time.”

As for testing, Kravec says doing so before and after isn’t in the algorithm of what we should be doing. The biggest concern may not even be the travel itself, it’s the family get togethers once you’re there that could cause spreading.

“You just have to mindful all the time. Just because you are somewhere else, COVID-19 hasn’t gone away,” Kravec said. “We just need to not let our guard down and to double down on our efforts now that it’s cold and people have come back indoors.”

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