The lockdowns are easing up across India and some public transport services are also restarting. Inter-district buses and train services are being reintroduced and selected inter-state routes are also being reopened under strict social distancing norms. The government is mandating a 15 day-home quarantine for travellers who are planning to travel between states. While international flights are still not permitted, national flight operations are slowly resuming with caps on the number of passengers. While we would not recommend traveling during these uncertain times, we know there are certain scenarios like family emergencies or urgent business deals that would require national travel. If you find yourself in a predicament where you need to travel, we recommend that you carry four particular items to reduce the risk of any infections.
In a span of barely a few months, masks have gone from being an optional “accessory” to a necessity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) firmly states that face mask usage significantly reduces your risk of COVID-19 infection. In India, many travel authorities have made mask usage compulsory for travellers and you may not be allowed to board a bus, train or flight if you are not wearing one. Even with the reduced number of passengers, bus stations, airports, and railway stations are going to be crowded with a higher risk of infection, so it is always a good idea to wear a mask to protect yourself.
You can get a good quality mask online for less than Rs. 300. Since face masks are going to see frequent use in the near future, it is a good idea to look at options to save money when you are buying masks. By going for top online shopping credit card, you can make some major savings on online purchases. For instance, Kotak Mahindra Essentia Platinum Card gives you 10% reward points for purchases of INR 1500 and above.
Hand sanitizer has come to the forefront in our fight against the coronavirus. While the humble soap and water is still the best way to disinfect your hands, you may not always have a sink nearby. Having a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you will help you stay clean when there is no water or soap around. While the market is flooded with many brands of hand sanitizer, you should opt for ones that have an alcohol content of at least 60%. This is because hand sanitizers with alcohol content between 60-95% are the most effective for killing germs and viruses.
From what we know about COVID, the quickest way for the virus to spread is from person to person. However, it is possible that the virus can be spread off of contaminated surfaces as well.
Unfortunately, buses, trains, and flights are areas of risk due to the great number of people that pass through and the surfaces that are constantly being touched by passengers. This being said, it is best to wipe down surfaces that you are going to be having direct contact with. For instance, do not go and wipe down an entire bus, just wipe down your own armrest and table in front of you. Disinfecting wipes provide a quick and easy way to reduce the risk of COVID transmission. Before taking your seat, you can quickly wipe down any hard surface including the seat itself, armrests and anything you may end up touching. Wipes are fairly affordable to get—a pack of 30 wipes will cost you approximately Rs. 300.
Flight bags or pouches are not very common travel accessories in India. However, using them offers you an additional layer of protection. We typically use seat pockets on trains, buses and flights to store items like glasses, earphones, books, kids’ toys, snacks, etc. However, many passengers also put trash like old food wrappers, used tissues or even disposable coffee cups in seat pockets. In many intercity buses, they are not cleaned all that well between trips. This makes them prime breeding grounds for pathogens of all kinds. You can protect yourself from this risk by using a small flight bag or pouch to store your knick-knacks. This provides an additional layer of protection to you.
Things to Keep in Mind
Even though travel restrictions are slowly being lifted, there are still risks associated with travel. Keeping this in mind, the government is strictly regulating all public transport. Mask usage is compulsory and temperature scans are done at entry points of bus stations, railways stations and airports. These added safety measures may require you to make some adjustments. For instance, you should plan to reach your starting point with sufficient time to spare. Lastly, if you feel that you have to travel, it may be beneficial to apply for a top travel credit card, so you can make some major savings on train and air travel. For instance, if you tend to travel by train, the IRCTC SBI Platinum Card is the best railway option as it gives you 4%-10% cashback on ticket spending.