Why travel may be risky this holiday season

Health

Air travelers line up to go through a a security checkpoint at Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City. Data from roadways and airports shows millions could not resist the urge to gather on Thanksgiving, even during a pandemic. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(CLEVELAND CLINIC) — If your family is planning to travel for the holidays, you may want to think twice.

Doctors say there’s a lot of uncertainty right now with the pandemic, which is why they’re encouraging people to stay closer to home.

“I think a lot of people really need to decide what they feel is an acceptable risk for their family,” said Dr. Frank Esper, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “Not just whether or not to travel, but how to travel, where to travel and what happens when you come back. You have to think about who you have in the household that may be at risk.”

Dr. Esper said you’ll want to consider travel plans carefully if you have an older relative living in your home, or someone who is immune-compromised.

He adds even if they’re not coming on the trip with you, they could still become exposed when you get home.

There are also financial risks to consider as well, like hotels, airlines or venues canceling reservations at the last minute, or a state deciding to implement a travel ban or require a 14 day quarantine upon arrival.

“We can’t give a blanket answer. What may be right for one family may not necessarily be right for another,” said Dr. Esper. “It’s best to talk to everybody involved before the trip. You need to talk to your parents and you need to talk to your children. You need to explain what is going on and what you feel is the best thing for everybody to do.”

Dr. Esper said small gatherings have been a source of COVID-19 spread in the community, so that’s something else to keep in mind.

However, if you’re still planning to travel, he said be sure to do your research and find out if your state, or the one you’re going to, has any new restrictions in place.

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