As the holidays approach, you may be making travel plans to visit family near and far. This holiday season will definitely look different for a variety of reasons, as fewer travelers fly and even drive to see loved ones than years before due to Covid 19.

The holidays are a special time of togetherness and for your family it may be a significant priority to be together, even in the midst of a pandemic. There are many ways to reduce your risk while traveling to lower the risks to you and the ones you love.

Whether flying, driving, staying in a hotel or with family members in a shared home, there are certain precautions you’ll want to take to prevent the spread of Covid 19 as you go. Avoiding close contact with others inside airports, gas stations and restaurants, wearing masks whenever distance cannot be maintained and taking steps to avoid exposure before you even travel will go a long way to help you and your loved ones rest easy as you gather together this year.

We know spending time with the ones you love is a priority this and every holiday season. Here are simple holiday tips to help you travel more safely this holiday season.

Air Travel
While many have feared air travel due to the confined, indoor seating, studies are showing that the recycled air you breathe on an airplane is well ventilated. This means that the biggest risks come from those who are seated right next to you, or while waiting in lines at TSA, to board the plane, to purchase food or coffee, etc. If you are traveling by plane this holiday season, be sure to wear a mask with at least two layers, and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others whenever you are able. You can call your airline before you travel to inquire about their seating regulations, request a window seat with an empty middle seat or simply to determine how close you’ll be seated to your fellow passengers.

Car Travel
Car travel comes with fewer risks than air travel, but there are risks in stopping for gas, at restaurants, for bathroom breaks, etc., and these follow the same rules as those with air travel. You’ll need to ensure that you wear a mask when you cannot be outdoors and at a distance of at least 6 feet from those around you. If you must go indoors for a meal or to use a bathroom, maintain distance and try to be in and out quickly to avoid prolonged exposure.

Hotels are proving to be generally safe during Covid 19, and most have made adjustments to their procedures that go the extra mile to ensure your safety. Housekeeping generally won’t service your room during your stay, most hotels have touchless check in and some hotel rooms have separate entrances that prevent you from crossing paths with too many individuals in hallways. When you do enter a hallway or shared space during your hotel stay, follow that same rule of mask compliance and distancing 6 feet apart.

Family Gatherings
Before you plan to spend time indoors and in close contact with loved ones, assess the risks to yourself and to your family members. Grandparents and those ages 60 and up may need to maintain significant distance, and hugs and touching may be completely off the table. If some family members have engaged in higher risk activities, are front line workers or work in the service industry, it may be better to avoid being together indoors for prolonged periods of time and only while masked. If you know you want to be close to your family and spend true quality time this holiday season, consider asking your family members to quarantine for 14 days before visits begin. When the holidays arrive, continue to wash hands frequently and use masks whenever indoors in public spaces to maintain that lower risk commitment to your family members.