Air & Train Travel Precautions For Your Health and Safety
Travelling today is not as easy as it once was. But that is no deterrence to the will to travel itself. The world is again picking the pieces and moving on, taking trains, boarding planes, driving across lands. The only difference; now there is a very acute sense of hygiene within every human being. Precautions are taken, meticulous planning is put in place, things are pre-arranged before a trip; so that the health and safety of you and those around you is maintained.
Listed here are the precautions that you must take when planning travel by air or train.
Get a Travel Insurance
To be honest, a travel insurance is must. Even if the world isn’t in the grip of a deadly virus.
But for years and decades, travellers have been in the habit of ignoring it. For the simple reason that they find it hardly of any use. Maybe that’s true, because most journeys are smooth. But the moment there is an accident, an irretrievable loss of baggage, theft, missed flight or train — one is realised of the true importance of travel insurance. So as the very first precaution to travel by air or rail, get a travel insurance for yourself. Medical care abroad is very expensive, and even so for foreigners. Hazards of Coronavirus aside, you wouldn’t want to be caught in any illness in another land or on your flight or train, without adequate financial cover to deal with it.
Update your Vaccines
Do not get on a plane or board a train without taking a trip to the doctor’s and getting ahead on all your vaccines. According to the place you are travelling to, take the vaccines required. Refresh those that need a booster. Make sure to do this at least a month to month-and-a-half in advance of your day of travel. While COVID19 vaccine is not available yet, taking other flu, influenza and virus shots will ensure your respiratory health. Also take your doctor’s prescription for the medicines and medical kit that you’ll need to carry.
Keep Travel & Medical History Up to Date
You will again need your doctor’s signature on your travel and medical history. If you have been to any places that have epidemics or corona hotspots, make sure they reflect on your history. Do not hide anything. Complete transparency will help you as well as the authorities of your home country and destination country in the long run. Most airports and railway stations are now bound to up their travel history and medical checks, so it is in your favour to have all papers in order.
Pack a Health/ Sanitation Kit
Most plane and train journeys are long, some even overnight. In such a scenario, you will definitely require a generous supply of sanitation products like gloves, masks, sanitiser etc, along with medicines. So make sure to pack your kit in advance, and cross check before you leave home. Keep extra masks and gloves, even if they are washable or reusable. You never know when emergency arises.
Keep your nasal Passages Humid
Most planes have the High Efficiency Particle Arrester or HEPA filters to purify the air inside the aircraft. This filter works to get rid of 99.999% bacteria, viruses, dust particles and other airborne contaminants from the space. However, sometimes the filter and air conditioner also dries out the air, leaving you gasping for humidity. With a lack in humidity, the mucous lining of your eyes, mouth, nose etc is bound to dry out and make it easy for any contaminant to enter. So make sure you use nasal sprays. They clean your nose and moisturise it too. To aid those efforts, drink more warm water.
The same applies for air-con trains, where again the lack of humidity makes it easy for bacteria and viruses to pass through your mouth and nose.
Stay up-to-date with Travel Advice
Yes, this is the one that most travellers forget to do. Just before leaving and for a few days before that, keep checking about the status of your destination. One can never be too sure in this tumultuous time. Even after coronavirus is a distant memory. If you are travelling internationally, check reputed sites like the WHO and the official tourism website of the place. For local travel, keep abreast of the news of the area. Your travel agent will also guide you about the same and keep you updated.
Upgrade to a Better Class
If you are game for it and it suits your budget, it is advised that you upgrade to a better class. Go for Business Class in a flight and at least a 3-tier or 2-tier AC if not First class in a train. These little changes, though heavy on your pocket, will ensure you get cleaner, more looked after seats/compartments and extra space between you and the next passenger. Of course, with social distancing norms and new guidelines, distancing will be practised everywhere. But it is always better to be safe when it comes to personal space.
Carry your own Personal Items
Gone are those days when you could carelessly wrap yourself in the airline supplied blanket or sleep soundly on the Indian Railways pillow. With the higher risks of infection and airborne and surface viruses, we recommend you pack your own shawl, neck pillow, inflatable pillow, sheets etc. Because even though the linens are well washed in trains and planes, you never know…
Carrying your own toiletries and hygiene kit for an overnight journey is also advised now, over the one supplied on the plane or train.
Plan and Pack your Food, Water, Medicines
This is the most important precaution of air and train travel. Pack your meals, beverages, water, medicines… basically everything you will need for your journey. Do not buy food from railway station stalls or carts. Order online if you are planning to eat outside food in trains. Most stations seem to deliver. Authorised food suppliers of IRCTC may still be of better quality and sanitary standards. And yet, it is always safer to carry cooked, hot food along with you. Even on a plane, swap the served food trays for your home-made food.
About planning the meals you will carry from home, try and avoid raw items like fruits, nuts etc and make meals that are easily eaten by cutlery. Pre-sterilise and pack your cutlery. This will ensure least contact of your hands with food.