Travel may look better these days than they were last year. With a host of vaccines available to counter the virus advance, you should breathe a sigh of relief after all this time. That goes without saying that you should be fully vaccinated by now. If you plan to pursue your wanderlust like never before, then it’s wise of you to get inoculated.
Whether you like it or not, however, you’re bound to end up in a hotel somewhere to satisfy your travel bug. The concept of a hotel, of accommodating another human, carries with it a noble act. The very first hotels to exist on the planet that is still standing today, such as the Nishiyama Omshen Keiunkan, echo that act of service.
But all this can be bad news to you. While being fully vaccinated amounts to greater protection from the virus, it is not 100% protection that ensures you won’t be infected.
The sad reality is that many who did are still getting infected with COVID-19. While the effect may not be as dramatic had you not been vaccinated, you can still endanger people you love. They can get the virus because of you.
The good news is hotels need not be a bane for your traveling lifestyle. With proven-and-tested measures, you should be able to protect yourself inside while taking a needed respite and enjoying the service. Listed below are key takeaways to do just that.
It’s best not to assume. Or you could be in for one unpleasant surprise. At a time when infections and deaths are piling up, being informed is not an option; it’s a must. Note that hotel health protocols are static and could change at any minute. So, call the hotel beforehand or stay in the loop via its online presence, social media, and website.
Specifically, inquire about the hotel’s new procedures on disinfecting and cleaning. It should be stellar to fight the virus. Also, know if all staff is mandated to wear masks.
A lot of hotels have maintained far lesser staff as food and beverage and housekeeping have been limited to lessen the impact of the virus. Also, ask what are the changes the management has made to facilitate less contact? Some things you may want to avail yourself are:
- Contactless check-in/check-out (online)
- Contactless payment
- Mobile room keys
It’s important you inquire about ventilation. Many half-truths and fake news have been making the rounds on social media and online regarding the dangers of being inside an air-conditioned room. Know the protocol to maintain ventilation quality. Are there window fans? How about opening windows to ventilate the room?
Know if the hotel operates high-efficiency particulate air filtration or HEPA systems with their ventilation systems. What’s more, know how often the repair and maintenance of the air conditioning units are done. HVAC plays a huge role in controlling what goes around in rooms. AC air filters must be in good order to capture various specks of dirt and debris that could harbor the virus. Additionally, a portable air cleaner can be a welcome bonus to reduce air pollutants indoors.
Ventilation should be a factor to know when is the best time the next occupant of a hotel room is allowed to stay. If the hotel is using mechanical ventilation, a mere 15 minutes space between two occupants may not be enough.
During Your Stay
You really can’t be in a hotel without having to pass through common areas such as the elevators. The rule of thumb is to protect yourself at all times with a mask in spaces you share with other people. This includes indoor bars and the hotel lobby. As per CDC guidelines, the virus can travel through the air via fine droplets so mask protection is paramount.
It’s best you stay away from recreational spaces where you will be in proximity with strangers. If you have to use lounging areas and hot tubs to a bare minimum. If possible, use only the bathroom inside your room and not a public facility inside the hotel.
An extra measure of protection is to carry handy disinfectants or disinfectant wipes. Cleaning objects such as the TV remote in your room before and after you use them should be wise. These disinfectants also are spot-on when you go around. You’ll never know what you may encounter and want to hold.
Be wary about dining. Choose to dine outdoors rather than the hotel’s indoor restaurant. Or you can have food delivered by ordering online or getting room service. Just remember to always be 6 feet apart and masked when the delivery guy/room service arrives.
As always, it’s best to err on the side of safety. When you do, you stay as healthy as ever as more adventure lies ahead.