Through the COVID-19 pandemic, travel companies have worked hard to make modes of transportation safer for everyone. For example, Amtrak, a commercial train travel company, is doing what many other companies are doing: more deep cleaning, allowing fewer passengers and mandating face coverings during all travel. But just because things are somewhat safer doesn’t mean it’s ethical to use the services.
Think about it: COVID-19 spreads through airborne transmission. Being in one vehicle of transport for hours, even with masks, while you’re surrounded by other people is not an entirely safe bet. I don’t know about anyone else, but breathing everyone else’s airplane air through my mask isn’t ideal. Sure, there’s still social distancing with commercial travel, but that only gets you so far.
Airplanes are considered the safest mode of transportation besides isolated trips in a car. According to the MIT Medical Journal, airplanes are one of the hardest places to catch any virus, not just SARS-CoV-2, because of the levels of air circulation required in commercial planes. But the Center for Disease Control (CDC) warns that even with this air circulation, air travel is only slightly safe if there is the proper level of social distancing among passengers in the plane. When you buy your ticket you can’t do anything but hope that the airline is doing its due diligence and only letting a limited number of passengers onto the plane. Is hope a strong enough thing to get you into an airplane, despite what the CDC warns? No, not for me.
Arriving somewhere is an entirely different concern. You could be bringing the disease back to a town it once ravaged and is in the process of healing. Or, even worse, you could be bringing the disease to a place that had protection rules in place you didn’t even know about. You could absentmindedly walk into a shop that had special hours for the elderly and endanger those most susceptible.
For me, influencers are the scariest when it comes to travel. Influencers across the country have been taking trips to the Bahamas and doing meetups in L.A. Most influencers claim they’re traveling for business opportunities. To me, that’s not good enough. It’s fine to use TikTok financially to your advantage and help your family out during the pandemic, but it’s not appropriate to take trips for fun.
However, Noah Beck, a famous TikToker, talks about travel, specifically his trip to the Bahamas, in a different light. According to Insider.com, Beck claims the trip was taken for mental health reasons. Statements such as “it is what it is” and “you need some time to kind of disconnect for a little” can only get you so far. If your mental health is so bad that you need to endanger other people at will, I think travel is not going to cure you. Therapy is a thing, people. Use it.
Now comes the hardest part: traveling home to family. I understand wanting to be home with family. I’m in a long-distance relationship as well, and not seeing them or even my mom is really hard. I am fortunate enough to be able to drive home to my family in only a matter of about two hours, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Even if I’m alone in my car, I can still bring sickness back to my town without me knowing it.
According to the CDC, traveling is still a way that COVID-19 can be spread quickly through communities that may have been either unaffected or in recovery from the virus. COVID-19 is especially scary when it comes to asymptomatic carriers, or those who can transmit the virus despite not showing symptoms, who have the virus but show no symptoms but can still spread COVID-19. Even if you feel perfectly fine, the CDC warns you are still putting others in danger whether you know it or not.
Listen, you might think it’s worth it to travel home, but it’s honestly not. Family is very important, yes, but keeping your family healthy and alive is even more important. If you really need to go home, please quarantine for two weeks. Don’t forget to quarantine on your way home too.
So many lives have been lost in this pandemic already. Be sure to not add your family or someone else’s names to the list just because you wanted to go home or on a fun trip.