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Answering 5 travel questions: Driving safer than flying? Avoid parts of country? Stay in hotels?

Answering common questions about traveling during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

DETROIT – Summer is traditionally travel season, but the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has many people wondering if they should even consider taking a trip this year.

Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge is answering some of the most common questions from viewers about summer travel.

Is it safe to plan a summer vacation?

First and foremost, is it safe to plan a summer vacation? That comes down to location, location, location.

“It’s safe to plan a summer vacation, but there are a couple of important things to consider,” McGeorge said. “For example, the amount of COVID-19 that’s spreading in the area you’ll be visiting. Areas like Southeast Michigan are much lower risk than Florida, for example. Also, consider the number of people you’ll be exposed to who might have come from other areas with a higher COVID-19 risk -- popular tourist destinations that attract people from all over the work that can import the virus and increase your exposure.”

Is it safer to drive instead of flying?

When traveling, is it safer to drive than it is to fly?

“Driving is definitely a lower exposure risk than flying,” McGeorge said. “If you do fly, be sure to take proper precautions.”

Should I avoid certain parts of the country?

Is it important to avoid certain parts of the country?

“Different areas of the country are experiencing different rates of growth in cases,” McGeorge said. “If you don’t have a need to go to an area with more COVID-19 activity, I’d avoid it. But if you’re visiting relatives that live somewhere specific with increasing case counts, try to limit public exposures and make sure your relatives are healthy, as well.”

Is it safe to stay in a hotel?

Many viewers want to know if hotels are safe.

“I’ve never considered hotels clean, so I wouldn’t say they’re any less safe,” McGeorge said. “Personally, I would clean the room at least superficially myself, and then limit the number of times housekeeping comes in and out. I mean, how many times do you really need your sheets and towels changed?”

Would you take a trip right now?

Several viewers asked Dr. McGeorge if he would personally feel comfortable taking a vacation right now.

“If I had somewhere I needed to go, I would,” McGeorge said. “But the key word is ‘need.' Discretionary or recreational travel -- frankly, it just doesn’t excite me right now.”

McGeorge said no matter where you travel, you can’t take a vacation from the recommended safety precautions. That includes avoiding crowds, maintaining social distance, wearing a mask, cleaning frequently touched surfaces and washing your hands often.


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