Thanksgiving travel and hotel safety tips during the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s always a good idea to consider cleanliness and safety when traveling, especially around the holidays.

But with COVID-19 cases spiking across the country, these concerns should be top of mind for anyone going anywhere for Thanksgiving.

Sheryl Kline, professor of hospitality business management at the University of Delaware, offers a list of tips and tricks for staying safe and following guidelines while navigating the restrictions of the pandemic. She is also available for interviews to answer questions regarding holiday travel and hotel safety.

Check the destination before you travel. Before traveling check the CDC’s website for health notices before your travel and especially if your plans take you abroad. This includes COVID-19 hot spots. The CDC also has tool kits available depending on your mode of travel.

Find out if there are any restrictions in place due to the pandemic. Contact the local Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to see what is open for tourists and what limitations are in place as far as restaurants, beaches and other attractions.

Things to consider when selecting a hotel. Visit the hotel’s website or contact the hotel and find out what they are doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ask if they’re following CDC recommendations or the American Hotel and Lodging Association Safe Stay practices. Also: Are they practicing social distancing? Are there Plexiglas screens at the front desk? Do they offer you no-contact services such as automated check in and check out? Do they offer you the option of no housekeeping service so no one will enter your room during your stay? 

What is the hotel’s refund policy due to COVID-19 affecting your plans? If your plans change due to the virus will you get a refund and or do you need to reschedule? Ask about the cancellation policy. You want to know what happens if you are sick or if you choose not to travel due to an increase in COVID-19 cases at the destination.

Be a partner in stopping the spread. Follow the rules: Wear a mask when in public and especially indoors, and wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Do not touch your face and practice social distancing. Don’t gather in public indoor spaces and avoid large crowds. While traveling bring extra facemasks so that you have an adequate supply throughout your trip. The CDC has a list of the symptoms to look for in case you think you have the virus.

Things to consider doing or not doing to reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus while staying in the hotel. Ask for a room that has been previously vacant for at least a day or better yet up to three days. Ask for a room where you do not need to use the elevator and or where you can limit your use of an elevator – an enclosed space where you travel with people close together that can increase the risk of spread. If you are concerned about cleanliness when traveling you can take the extra step and disinfect the guest room before you use it. Bring your own cleaning supplies and sanitizing products and re-disinfect those areas that are high touch areas.

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