How To Travel Safely During Omicron?
As business travel recovers slowly after two years, employees would want to factor in on how COVID will impact their business travel itinerary, especially with the Delta and Omicron variant surging across the globe. Any travel – business or personal – requires a more cautious approach with proper risk management. In this blog, we will share with you how your employees can approach business travel right now. These tips can help them stay safe while traveling, especially if they are flying. Read on!
What To Consider When Planning Your Trip
Here are a few questions that you should consider when planning your business travel itinerary:
- Is Omicron spreading in the destination area?
- Is Omicron spreading in your country?
- Are your employees traveling in a group? Is there anyone with a high risk of COVID 19 or Omicron?
- Do travelers require proof of COVID-19 testing before they travel and post-landing?
- If any employee gets sick, will she have to miss work or other obligations?
- Will your employees have to stay home or be quarantined for 14 days post-traveling?
As long as you take everyday precautions like wearing a mask and sanitizing your hands while traveling, risks can be minimized significantly.
How To Fly Safe During Omicron
Here are some “dos” if your employee has decided to go on a business trip. Generally, flying to a destination is a low-risk option than taking a train or by car because of how air is filtered and circulated on airplanes that prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
However, traveling by air does not mean just wearing masks, they will also have to contend with security and COVID-19 checks. Here are some tips on how your employees can stay safe and arrive well at their destination:
- Make sure you are fully vaccinated – First things first. Get yourself vaccinated with both the doses as well as the booster dose as early as possible. Many countries are not even allowing travelers to enter without a booster dose.
- Be aware of the travel guidelines – Omicron has again forced governments of countries around the world to introduce new travel guidelines, for both domestic and international travel. While a COVID test has been made mandatory in almost all countries, quarantine rules have also been implemented in many. Therefore, it is essential to know the COVID-related travel guidelines of the home country/state and well as the destination.
- Cover up with a medical-grade mask – Perhaps the easiest and most effective precaution we all can take is to cover your mouth and nose, at the airport and onboard. Wear medical-grade masks such as N95 0r KN94 instead of a normal cloth mask. Studies found that the risk of infection declines by 73% if everyone on board has a “high efficiency” mask and by 32% if everyone has a “low efficiency” mask. You can check this travel packing checklist so that you do not miss out on any essential item.
- Practice good hygiene – For many of us, the increased level of care for cleanliness has already become a norm. However, while traveling, avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth, and nose frequently as viruses enter your body through these routes. Also, remember to wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in it. You can also carry antibacterial gel or wipes for your trip to clean the armrest, tray table, seat touch screen, etc. for your own satisfaction.
- Get yourself a travel insurance policy – Most travel insurance companies exclude cover for pandemics and epidemics if you go through the terms and conditions. Therefore, it is best to contact the insurance company directly or ask your travel manager if COVID-19 related health issues are covered. Get yourself a travel insurance that includes any treatment cost or medical expenses related to the pandemic apart from covering flight delays and cancellations.
- Upgrade to business class or economy plus window seat – Upgrade to business class or economy plus window seat if your travel and expense policy allows. The more private a space you can create, the better. It will help you avoid contact with other passengers.
- Stay clear of people with cough or cold – Experts define exposure as being within 6 feet of an infected person for 10 minutes or more. While many airlines took the initiative of leaving the middle row seats empty, passengers do walk around, go to the restroom, and touch many surfaces. If you feel that a passenger sitting next to you is sick with a cough or cold, maintain distance from him/her. Get your seat changed, if possible.
- Keep emergency contact details handy – At times like this, having emergency contact details handy is essential. Should you be quarantined or denied entry to a country, you can immediately contact your travel manager or the helpline number to get immediate assistance with accommodation, flight bookings, etc. Also, download your company’s T&E management software app to stay up-to-date with travel alerts and notifications.
- Check-in online and print or use electronic bag tags – You can check and fill all the required forms such as contact and health declaration, as per local guidelines, online. Also, if possible, check in online with your airline to avoid the long queues at the airport. While the airport authorities would still want to check your forms, temperature, etc. before you board the flight, wait till the time the crowd eases. You can also print electronic bag tags so that you limit touching any surfaces with viruses or bacteria present on them. Also, don’t forget to check with the airline for a good time to arrive at the airport.
- Try to remain seated through the entire flight – Crowded flights can make social distancing difficult. And travelers are at risk from people immediately around them. Therefore, it is important that travelers remain seated throughout the flight and limit contact with anyone (unknown), especially when boarding or leaving the aircraft.
- Eat and drink carefully – We would advise you to not eat anything at all at the airport. And after you board the plane, try and keep the mask on during the entire flight, except when the snacks and drinks are served. Lower your mask to take a sip or a bite and then wear it again – don’t keep your masks off during the entire meal. If the flights are shorter, refrain from eating or drinking, especially when others around you are doing so.
Plan Business Trip Better With ITILITE
Your employees may get anxious about traveling again for business. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make sure that they are well-informed, empowered, and supported before they go on a business trip. A simple way of doing this could be by implementing integrated travel and expense management software.
At ITILITE, we support your travel needs as well as help you in minimizing risk for your travelers with cutting-edge digital capabilities and 24*7 customer support. To know more, get in touch with our product expert today.