This Is the Riskiest Part of Your Vacation
The psychological reason vacations are great is also why they can be dangerous
Five months into the pandemic, you’re probably familiar with the potential risks that come with traveling. Being on public transit like buses, trains, and airplanes, which don’t always allow proper social distancing, can potentially expose you to the novel coronavirus. Even road trips aren’t a guarantee of safety. (Chances are, you’ll have to make a pit stop or two.)
But no matter how you travel, you’re definitely not off the hook when you arrive at your final destination. In fact, experts say the riskiest part of traveling during a pandemic isn’t necessarily the journey but the place you’re visiting and the choices you make while you’re on vacation.
There’s no guarantee you’ll be safe around friends and family
Normally, vacation is a good time to let your guard down, take a break from the normal routines of your daily life, and have a little fun. But this time is far from normal, and letting loose during a pandemic could come with significant risks, says Cassandra Pierre, MD, an infectious disease doctor at Boston Medical Center.
Even when you visit family and close friends you trust, there’s no guarantee you’re not putting yourself at a higher risk for contracting Covid-19. Pierre says people frequently underestimate risk factors when visiting loved ones. “Family members we deem safe may actually pose a higher risk of transmission because of their jobs, where they live, or the fact that they may not physically distance or mask,” she says.
Pierre shares the example of a colleague with several health conditions that put her at higher risk for severe illness from Covid-19. In Massachusetts, her home state, she was vigilant about her health, even to the point of staying home from her medical job for months. Then, she decided to go visit her family out of state. Even though she drove to lower her exposure risk, she tested positive for Covid-19 when she got back.
That’s one difficult part of visiting loved ones during the pandemic: You’re supposed to be able to let your guard down around your family. But it’s important to remember that…