If you are with a lift Service like Lyft or Uber for any part of your trip (e.g. to and from the airport or train station), wear your mask and try to open the car window for ventilation to reduce the risk.

Look at a separate accommodation

The longer you spend in close proximity with someone, the greater the risk of spreading the virus. Staying outside the family home can help. “We know that for the first two or three hours of a family gathering, people respect all precautions,” says Hijano. “But after that people get complacent. If you stay over there at the end of the first day, everyone will be without masks and just talking like it’s a normal life. You want to see someone, you want to hug and touch them. “

Book a hotel or a Holiday apartment (or rent a motorhome) to limit the time you spend together. Another option? Meet at an external hotel or resort throughout your vacation. “The industry has put in place a tremendous amount of protection and you are much safer when you do [outside] from home, in a resort or hotel, where everyone can be in separate rooms, rooms are properly cleaned, restaurants are detached, and everything is organized, ”said John Niser, director of the International School of Hospitality and Tourism at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.

Get tested

You may be wondering if everyone in your family should be tested for COVID-19 right before you meet up. The short answer is yes: if you test positive, you can immediately cancel your plans and self-isolate to prevent further spread in your own community, among your family members, and in the community of your target (this also helps with contact tracking) . If your family has self-isolated and they have all tested negative, it can make you feel more secure while you visit them.

However, a negative test result is neither a free ticket for your family to skip the other COVID-19 precautions nor a guarantee that you will not spread the virus. In fact, getting negative test results can make your family more forgiving and complacent when it comes to social distancing, masking, and hand washing. “If I get a test today, I just learn that I don’t have a virus today,” says Hijano. “It is not proof that I am not infected because I could have caught the virus yesterday and it is too early to tell, no matter how good a test you are using. It doesn’t mean you won’t have it tomorrow. It’s just a window of time. “

Timing your COVID-19 test before you travel can also be tricky. You want to be tested as close to your departure date as possible, but there is also the risk that you may not get the results back in time or that you may not get a test at all (some testing sites prioritize people with symptoms or high risk). Even if you are tested, isolate yourself and make your travels more flexible so that you can make last minute changes based on when the results were found.

Also, if you can, get tested once you arrive at your destination, as this can help capture the exposure you have experienced during your trip (again, this is not a guarantee).

Time factor for self-isolation

The CDC recommends self-isolating for two weeks before attending a meeting. Doing this can greatly reduce the risk of the virus spreading. However, as with testing, it is not a guarantee or an excuse to override other COVID-19 precautions.

Even if you strictly self-isolate, you can still be exposed in your travels and may not show symptoms for up to a week – after already spending time with family. (Some people show no symptoms at all.)

When you return home, make sure to self-isolate again for 14 days to prevent further transmission in your community. All in all, you want to book your trip with 14 days on either side – 28 days of isolation total – which can make you rethink travel altogether.

If at any time during these 14 days after your trip you show symptoms or get a positive test result, you must immediately call anyone you interacted with during the trip. Encourage everyone else in your family to do the same. The sooner you can share information, the better for everyone involved and their communities.

We report daily on how COVID-19 is affecting travel. Here you can find all information about coronavirus and travel resources.