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Travel Tips for a Safe Summer Getaway

After being cooped up for months with COVID-19 concerns, many people are still cautiously venturing out of town this summer for vacation. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. If you must go, here are some tips to make sure you’re well-prepared for your trip.

Driving is best
The CDC claims we don’t know if one type of travel is safer than others; however, airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.

This suggests it may be a good time for a new vehicle for your travels. Dr. Allison Agwu, an infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told viewers on the TODAY show that driving will be safer than flying because “you have more control in your own personal space.”

You’ll need to assess the risks before visiting family, including whether your destination is in a hot spot and whether the accommodations permit social distancing. If taking a road trip, follow these precautions recommended by CNBC.

Consider state and local travel restrictions
Do your homework before you venture out. You’ll want to know what the rules are for the state or city you’ll be in as they are changing regularly. Check the state or local health department at your planned destination and also along your route. While you are traveling, it is possible a state or local government may put into place travel restrictions, such as stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantines upon arrival, or even state border closures. Keep checking for updates as you travel.

Hotel/motel reservations

  • Check the hotel’s COVID-19 prevention practices before you go.
  • Use options for online reservation and check-in, mobile room key, and contactless payment.
  • Ask if the hotel has updated policies about cleaning and disinfecting or removing frequently touched surfaces and items (such as pens, room keys, remote controls, phones, etc.).
  • Wear a cloth face covering in the lobby or other common areas.
  • Minimize use of areas that may lead to close contact (within 6 feet) with other people as much as possible, like fitness centers, outside patios, game rooms, etc.

Visiting parks and recreational facilities
Theme parks and recreational facilities can adhere to health precautions, but it is important that you take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Learn what you can do to stay safe when visiting parks and recreational facilities.

Anticipate health and security needs

  • Bring enough of your medicine to last you for the entire trip plus some extra in case you are delayed at your destination.
  • Pack enough alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wipes (at least 60% alcohol)
  • Bring a cloth face covering or mask to wear in public places.
  • Prepare food and water for your trip. Pack non-perishable food in case restaurants and stores are closed. If you are staying in a hotel, consider ordering from Amazon or one of the big box stores and have essentials delivered to your hotel or vacation spot.
  • Wear a cloth face covering in the lobby or other common areas.

Protect yourself and others when you travel away your community
For more information about safely planning travel during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit CDC’s Considerations for Travel in the US. Other helpful sites for travelers:

U.S. Department of State
U.S. Passport Agency
Transportation Security Administration

Let Us Know Before You Go

Let Tower know your travel plans before you go so we can help protect your Tower debit and credit cards against theft or unauthorized card use. Tower monitors your card activity 24 hours a day. If we notice suspicious activity on one of your cards, we’ll need a way to contact you while you’re on the road—just to confirm if the activity is authorized. You can also set up alerts in Home Banking and Tower’s Mobile App.

Complete a Travel Notification Form. The form is located in Home Banking under Additional Services. You can also call the Member Service Center at 301-497-7000 or 866-56-TOWER. On your trip, if you receive a message from a Tower representative about possible unauthorized card use, please respond to our phone call as soon as possible. For security reasons, we may place a temporary hold on your card if we do not hear from you. If you find that your card has been temporarily suspended, simply call us to remove the hold.

Resources: Today.com, CNBC LLC., USA Today; CDC.gov; Bettermoneyhabits.com; Business Insider, ABC, Inc.