Every year, more than 54 million Americans travel by air or road to visit friends and relatives during Thanksgiving. This year, that number is going to look a little different. With the pandemic growing worse in many parts of the country, many Americans are planning to limit their holiday travelling, and many will host smaller celebrations in their own homes. If you are planning to travel though, it’s important to keep safety in mind. To help, here are our top Thanksgiving travel tips to help keep you and your family safe this year. 

If you’re traveling by car…

By far the safest way to travel (in terms of COVID-19) transmission is by car. The risk in terms of car travel mainly stems from the stops people often make along the route, such as rest stops and going inside gas stations. To avoid having to make as many of those stops, it’s important to plan ahead. Stash snacks in the car, and bring along hand sanitizer and wipes in case you do have to make a pit stop. 

Before heading out, also make sure your vehicle is in top shape for travel. And, if you do end up with something like a flat tire, here’s how you can manage that while social distancing

If you’re traveling by air…

Of course, we recommend avoiding air travel if possible, but understand that for some, it may be unavoidable. 

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In that case, know that the airplane itself is likely safe. Studies have shown that in-flight ventilation in airplanes is safe – it’s the air you might be breathing in before or after the flight that raises your risk of infection. To cut down on that risk, avoid using airport shuttles, and try to limit the number of people you come in close contact with in the airport itself. 

Throughout your trip, you should be wearing a mask at minimum. However, if you can get your hands on a face shield, or goggles, that can help further reduce risk of transmission and infection.

It’s also a good idea to not head directly to your destination after your flight. Some doctors and health experts are recommending travelers quarantine in a hotel room for up to 72 hours before you pull into anyone’s driveway. 

General Thanksgiving travel tips to consider

As cases continue to rise, it’s important to get tested if you are considering travel. Before your trip (or before you expect visitors to arrive), quarantine in your house for three days, then get tested. 

Also understand that your perception of safety may not match reality. Always keep your guard up, and if you find yourself in a situation that may be unsafe, leave. 

While these Thanksgiving travel tips aren’t by any means comprehensive, they’re a helpful starting point if you are planning to visit friends and family this year. Stay safe, and have a great holiday season!

Claire Biggerstaff
Claire Biggerstaff is a freelance writer and photographer from Charlotte, NC. Her curiosity leads her to write about a wide variety of topics. On her off days, she enjoys reading Polygon articles, and curling up to a good YouTube playlist.

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    1. be careful out there !

    2. This is extremely helpful! I will be taking extra precautions this year for anyone visiting me.

    3. This year’s Thanksgiving is going to be very different for many people. But many should take this opportunity to understand what’s important. We are never promised anything in life, even traditions aren’t safe from change.

    4. I just can’t believe Thanksgiving is coming so soon. I was surprised also that you no longer need to get a Covid test to fly. That is a bit concerning.

    5. Thanksgiving will not be the same this year! Stay safe!

    6. Good tips, Be safe

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