Travelling has never been completely risk-free and COVID adds a layer of complexity most people have never dealt with before. If you’re planning an event that will require guests to travel and stay in accommodations that aren’t their own home, here are some things for both you and your guests to consider!
Travelling long distances for an event used to be the norm, whether it was for business or leisure. Regardless of why you’re venturing away from home, it’s important to know the requirements of the places to which you’re travelling, especially if it’s outside of your home country. Before booking your trip, look up the restrictions and requirements for the country the event you’re attending is in – do they require proof of a negative COVID tests before entering? Do they require a quarantine period? If so, is the quarantine in a particular spot, like a designated airport hotel? Asking these questions will allow you to be as prepared as possible.
After you’ve done this research, how are you getting to your destination?
One mode of travel that many of us haven’t embarked upon in a long time is air travel. If you are flying – or asking your guests to fly – to an event, it’s important to know the rules of the airlines ahead of time, such as when and where to wear your mask, on top of the aforementioned requirements for the countries you are travelling to and from. Some airports have additional screening, so lines may be longer. It’s never been more important to arrive early for your flight, whether you’re flying internationally of within Canada.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that, when booking your flights, to book a route with as few stops and layovers as possible to reduce the number of people and places you’re exposed to. They also recommend avoiding eating and drinking as much as possible so that you’re able to keep your mask on at the airport and on the planes themselves, regardless of what each airline’s regulations may be.
For shorter distances (or for people with more time), driving to an event may be the preferred option. By driving in a car, it’s more likely that you’ll be travelling alone, or with people you live with or know well. Regardless, this decreases your over-all exposure.
Making stops along the way can put you at close contact with other people. It’s hard to avoid things like bathroom breaks, so practice physical distancing, handwashing, and make sure to mask up when you’re going inside at rest stations. A great way to avoid extra stops or spending more time inside waiting in lines is to pack your own food so you can eat in safety and also in style on your long drive!
Once you’ve reached your destination, you settle in to your accommodations. But where are you staying? Visiting friends and rooming with them is similar to car travel in that it is safer because you’re exposed to fewer people. Airbnb accommodations also allow you to stay relatively secluded from other people. But if you’re travelling for an event, there’s a likelihood that you’ll be staying in a hotel. While for some this may feel like a shock to the system, there are safe ways to navigating hotel stays!
The best thing you can do for yourself when preparing to stay in a hotel is to research what to expect. Whether it’s on the hotel website or entails calling ahead, it’s worth it to know what you’re walking into. Are masks mandatory in common areas? How is the hotel handling contact tracing, and what happens if you become ill while you’re staying there? How often are private rooms and common spaces being cleaned? All of these are good questions to have answered ahead of time.
While at the hotel, give the same courtesy to those around you that you would in any other public space. Maintain your distance and follow directional arrows, and in general do your best to reduce the amount of contact you’re making with others. If you’re an event planner who is asking guests to stay at a particular hotel, consider putting together a welcome package for guests that explains the rules of the hotel. This will put your guests at ease and make for a more positive event experience.