The Dos & Don’ts of Holiday Travel in 2021

November 30, 2021
As our lives slowly return to normalcy, you may be wondering how to safely travel this holiday season to see friends and family. Thankfully, the Center for Disease Control has a regularly updated guide to safe travel and celebrations during the on-going pandemic. Together, we can control the spread of COVID-19 by making safe choices for ourselves and our loved ones. We have compiled some highlights of the dos and don’t from this guide for you to follow during your holiday vacations.


1.Get Vaccinated
Getting vaccinated is the best thing you can do to prevent getting and spreading all variants of the COVID-19 virus. If you are planning to travel to visit friends or family this year, make sure you are fully vaccinated to protect yourself and others. If you have additional questions about getting vaccinated, check out SmartHealth’s COVID-19 coverage information page. If you are not fully vaccinated, it is safest to delay travel until you are. 

In addition to Ascension COVID-19 vaccination requirements for associates, this year Ascension continues its System-wide influenza vaccination program, continuing our work to achieve our goal of 100 percent vaccine adherence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that up to 56 million people got sick during the 2019-2020 influenza season; 740,000 people were hospitalized and up to 62,000 died.

For more information, read the Ascension 2021-2022 Vaccine Resources page.
2.Wear a mask on public transportation
In the United States, masks are required in all indoor public transportation areas including planes, busses, trains, and airports. While you are not required to wear a mask in an outdoor setting, it is recommended that you wear a mask if you are in a crowded area. In addition to wearing a mask, remember to stay at least six feet away from other travelers.
3.Plan an outdoor gathering
By making sure that your gatherings are outdoors, you can reduce the risk of all attendees according to the CDC. This is because being outside allows for the best possible ventilation. If some of the guests at your gathering are not vaccinated, those individuals should follow additional safety precautions.
4. Plan ahead
The best thing you can do to keep your community safe this season is to plan ahead. Make sure your guests are vaccinated, masks are available, and your gathering space is well ventilated. If you plan your celebrations in advance, it will be easier to ensure that the guidelines are followed.


1. Go to a high-risk area
Before you solidify your travel plans, it is important to check the levof risk for COVID-19 in the area. You can check these numbers using maps like the one on Covid ActNow. If an area is considered high risk, it may be unsafe to travel there. You should consider delaying your travel until the risk level has dropped. 
2. Attend an event while sick
One of the easiest ways to avoid spreading any illness is to stay home while you are sick. This is especially true during the current pandemic. If you show any symptoms, it is safest to isolate yourself, get tested, and avoid any gathering. 
3. Go to overly crowded areas
The CDC recommends avoiding crowded areas especially those that are not poorly ventilated or indoors. In some instances, you may not be able to avoid a crowded space. In this case, you should wear a mask and try to follow social distancing guidelines.
4. Wear a mask improperly
A mask only prevents you from spreading or contracting the virus if it is worn properly. That means that masks should be well-fitting and cover both your nose and mouth. Both reusable and disposable masks can be worn as long as they are clean and the right size. If a mask is being worn, but not covering your nose and mouth, it will not be effective. 

By following these simple guidelines, you can make this year’s celebrations safer for everyone. When you plan ahead and make safe decisions for yourself and others, you are giving your community a gift this holiday season.