There are people for whom a vacation is not a vacation if it does not involve a trip abroad. Whether it's because it's the only time of the year when they can get their whole family together on a trip abroad, or because it's the time when they have the most days available to get to know another territory. Of course, this year there are plenty of calls to travel within the country, but each person will know how they want to spend their summer. The important thing is that you live it with the proper precautions. To this end, LUXIMOS has prepared a small instruction manual, exclusively based on official information, with everything you need to know before taking off. The idea is not to dissuade you, but to protect you.
There is no escaping the current circumstances, and they impose some restrictions on travelling to other countries, but they do not effectively prohibit it. Travel is permitted as long as the correct procedures and recommendations are followed. So even if you can't now take that vacation you've been dreaming of all year, you can still fulfill your wish to travel during your vacation. And fly. There are several official recommendations, precautions and suggestions for behaviour to take into consideration.
Have you chosen your destination? If so, before you buy the ticket, find out about the situation of Covid-19 in the chosen country. Start by checking the current development of the pandemic in that country through the websites of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control or the World Health Organization. Next, confirm if there is an official alert. You can do this, for example, on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In some countries there are restrictions and border controls, which can be seen on the website of the Immigration and Borders Service. In cases where they do not exist, the Ministry of Health warns that travelling to countries with Covid-19 infections is not prohibited but recalls that "it is to be avoided".
As suggested by Turismo de Portugal, if you travel within Europe, please visit the European Union website, which has up-to-date information on each country's borders, available means of transport, travel restrictions, health and public safety measures, as well as other practical information for travellers, such as physical distance or the wearing of masks. Finally, you can check the International Air Transport Association website (IATA) about the current flight restrictions for all countries in the world.
Save all of these websites before and during your trip (there are lists updated daily) and pay attention to the following 5 points:
The use of face protection is not only recommended but mandatory on all airlines. Take new masks for the trip, preferably disposable. You should also carry alcohol-based disinfectant on board, in containers up to 100 ml. Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes. If you have a cough, cover your mouth with your arm, preferably the inside of your elbow. You should remain seated (the window seats are the most protected), avoiding circulation on board. For your safety, but also out of respect for other passengers. Apart from the mask and disinfectant, prepare your own food and water according to the duration of the journey.
The airlines have adopted specific rules for passengers, which are available on their websites. This is particularly important with regard to, for example, hand and hold luggage. One concrete example: on a trip to Germany only one suitcase is allowed.
Travelling means getting through a few queues at the airport before getting on the plane. Respect the safety distance and go some time in advance to the airport. Check the rules adopted at the airports of departure and arrival, available on their websites. In Portuguese airports, the rules implemented since June 5th are available in the ANA Airports website. These rules relate to travellers, but also to the obligations airports have to meet to make you feel safe. If you read them, you will know, for example, that there is a camera system that measures the temperature of passengers without embarrassing them. And an isolation room for any abnormal cases.
The risk of contagion can never be ignored, but it is the Ministry of Health itself that quotes the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, to say that "the risk of being infected on a plane in which a suspect case travels cannot be excluded, but is currently low". According to the assurance given by some companies, like Airbus, filters and air renewal are effective, and the fact that the air circulates from the top down pushes the passengers' droplets to the ground instead of firing them at other passengers. In any case, if a sick person is found to be on board, 'the health authorities will contact all those considered close'.
The safety distance on board an aircraft is not subjective and is not left to one's own good judgment. It is clearly defined by the Ministry of Health. Therefore, "all passengers who are under the following conditions are considered close contacts":
- Two seats to the left and right of the patient;
- Two seats in two consecutive rows to the front and back of the patient;
- The travelling companions of the patient;
- People who have provided direct care to the patient;
- The crew members on board who served the patient's room.
All the care is needed and it doesn't take that much work. Therefore, be sure to disinfect the bags after the trip, using the products that have been widely recommended. Most household disinfectants are effective. If the suitcase is dirty, clean it with water and soap or detergent before disinfecting it. Wear disposable gloves throughout the process and wash your hands after throwing them away.