It can be a very intimidating time to fly. But if you are still planning on taking a vacation or need to travel for business, then there are lots of different things you can do to reduce your risk of infection or getting sick when you fly.

Not only are airlines all over the world instituting protocols and requirements to help fliers stay safe. But there several other ways that individual travelers can protect themselves during a pandemic. So by following some simple steps, you can help ensure you and others stay healthy.

Book to Fly When It’s Least Busy and Not Crowded

Flying when the airport and airlines are most likely to be at their slowest helps limit the number of people you encounter, so book your cheap round trip flights carefully. Flights leaving between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. often have the fewest passengers. Flights earlier than that often are filled with those trying to get the best deals. Airports are usually the busiest between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Avoid even more people by flying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as they are traditionally the airlines’ slowest days.

Don’t Fly If You Might Be Sick

Your immune system is weaker when you are sick. Even if you just have a little under-the-weather feeling, you are putting yourself at higher risk to catch other illnesses. If tests are available for diseases that make people ill in your area or the area you are going to, then get tested before you start traveling. After all, ruining a trip by being sick is no fun at all.

Remember to Bring Supplies

Prepare to keep yourself healthier by bringing some supplies with you in your carry-on bag. You can bring up to three ounces of hand sanitizer. Choose an option that has at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol. You should also bring a mask to wear on the plane. Wearing gloves helps you avoid contact with contaminated surfaces. You will also want to pack along a small container of disinfecting wipes to wipe down your seat, video screen, buttons, seat belt and other surfaces that you might touch during the flight

Use Contactless Check-in at the Airport and Everywhere Else

Talking to as few employees as possible helps you limit your contact with people who may be ill, including those who are asymptomatic. When you arrive at the airport, start by using self-checks to drop off your luggage. Then, use your smartphone to check into your flight. Most airlines allow you to show them your boarding pass on your phone. If technology is not your best friend, then print off your boarding pass before leaving home. Know the current guidelines at your arrival and departure airports and any airports you may have to layover during your flight.

RELATED: Contactless Check-In: Here’s What You Need to Know to Travel Safely

Keep Social Distance at the Airport and on the Plane

You will want to keep at least six feet distance between yourself and other passengers whenever possible. Always keep your mask on and consider wearing a face shield. If you have a longer layover, think about renting an airport pod, if available, to limit the number of people you encounter. Once you get on the plane and have sanitized your space, then sit down and do not leave your seat during the flight.

Follow Proper Hygiene Rules and Protocol

In addition to social distancing, there are several other steps that you can do to lower your risk of getting infected while visiting an airport or flying, including:
Wash your hands with soap frequently for at least 30 seconds while making sure that you scrub all areas well.
– Keep the mask over both your mouth and nose.
– Avoid touching your eyes or mouth.
– Wear gloves during your flight and wipe down all surfaces that you will touch with alcohol-based wipes.
– Choose a window seat and stay in your seat throughout the flight.
– Bring your own blanket and snacks.

When you use common sense and follow these simple steps, then you significantly reduce the risk of getting sick from an infection while flying.

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