Learn About Airline, Hotel & Vacation Rental Coronavirus Precautions
See our COVID-19 Travel Insurance Guide
Travelers deserve to know that the people providing the transportation and lodgings are doing everything they can to make their travel safe these days. For the most part, travel companies are getting serious about their Coronavirus pandemic precautions and highlighting those features.
Here are some of the precautions hotels, airlines and vacation rentals are taking to help their customers stay safe during the pandemic.
Note: Our travel insurance plans do provide coverage if you, a family member, or a traveling companion become ill with COVID-19 before or during your trip and plan requirements are met.
Expert Talk: Our Medical Team Discusses the State of the Pandemic
Regular deep cleanings seem to be the new norm for transportation and lodgings. However, it appears that every vertical goes about cleaning a little differently, based on the nature of their business.
“Safety became sexy. Clean was cool,” Scott McCoy, Marriott's VP of operations and guest experience for the Americas, told Conde Nast Traveler – and he’s right. Nothing is more appealing right now than a disinfected hair dryer or mini-fridge.
When it comes to cleanliness, the keys for hotels are:
- Regular and frequent sanitation of public areas
- Fewer in-room cleanings for longer stays
- Deep cleanings between stays
- Minimizing back-to-back room occupancies
There are a couple of ideas at work here.
- Public areas like lobbies and pools get the most traffic of any areas at the hotel. As a result, they need to be sanitized most frequently. While some hotels have closed their pools, spas, and workout areas for the duration, others have opted to keep them open, but with a combination of shorter hours and more frequent sanitation.
- Keeping cleaning people out of rooms that are currently being occupied reduces their potential exposure. Not changing sheets and towels every day is also better for the environment.
- Deep-cleaning rooms between stays ensures that new guests have a sanitized room ready for them. This reduces anxiety and builds goodwill.
- Ensuring there’s a day or two between room usages gives staff time to do deep cleanings and gives the deep cleanings time to “take.”
Not every hotel goes about this the same way, so check with your hotel to see what tactics they use to ensure guests have clean rooms.
Also read: Hotel or Vacation Rental - Which is Right for You?
Vacation rentals are geared towards longer stays, and since most don’t offer maid service, the issue of whether to clean the room on a daily basis is moot.
Also, most vacation rentals don’t have public areas, so that issue is off the table as well.
What’s important with vacation rentals is what goes on between rentals. Is the rental completely cleaned between guests – not just clean towels and sheets, but all hard surfaces sanitized, bathrooms completely cleaned and sanitized, and all rooms cleaned and (ideally) aired out?
Not all rentals list their cleaning policies in print, so if you don’t see information on cleaning protocols, ask before you rent.
Airplanes and Other Modes of Transportation
Without thorough cleaning protocols, planes could be nothing but an airborne test tube of virus. Airlines are looking to defeat that idea (and the virus) through between-flight deep cleanings using equipment that looks like it came straight out of Ghostbusters.
It’s not just the equipment that crews are using that’s impressive. It’s the depth of cleaning.
Cleaning and sanitizing isn’t just restricted to the plane. Basically, from the moment you arrive in an airport you’re confronted with hand-sanitizing stations, but you may want to take things a step further and carry your own hand sanitizer and/or sanitizing wipes to clean airport seats and other frequently contacted surfaces.
Amtrak teaming up with Lysol on sanitizing wipes is its big talking point – but Amtrak has an ace in the hole the airlines can’t match: private rooms. Outside of your own vehicle and anything it may be towing, there’s no safer way to cross the country – and few other ways more relaxing.
Also read: How Travel Insurance Can Help When You Fly
What You Should Do
Before traveling anywhere, do your homework. Learn about the cleaning procedures your transportation and lodgings may be following. If the information isn’t readily available, ask before you book. In addition, bring your own sanitizing materials – wipes and hand sanitizer. Use them liberally. There really is no such thing as too much sanitation.
Get tools to discover where you can travel with Coronavirus travel restrictions
Finally, buy travel insurance to help protect your travels from certain unexpected cancellations and interruptions. Our plans do provide coverage if you, a family member, or a traveling companion become ill with COVID-19 before or during your trip and plan requirements are met. Learn more about why it’s a good idea, pandemic or not.
More than ever - travel safe!