Mostly empty airplane flight with COVID-19 Q&A text overlaid

At the University of Maryland Medical Center, we know many people have questions about the novel coronavirus virus (COVID-19) and how to stay safe while traveling.

Our experts have some answers for you.

Is it safe to stay in a hotel?

Hotels have many common areas that staff and other guests regularly use. Remote controls, elevators, furniture and other objects are shared and reused by many people and not always wiped down after each use.

Some tips for making your hotel stay safer include:

  • Use sanitizing wipes on high-touch surfaces such as phones, remote controls, light switches, door handles, faucets, toilet handles and flat surfaces.
  • Practice social distancing and masking while in shared spaces (lobbies, restaurants etc.).
  • Ask the hotel for current cleaning protocols.
  • If possible, request a room that has been vacant for a day or two.

Is it safe to stay at a vacation house?

Vacation houses may be safer than staying in a hotel given the probability of less contact with others.

To minimize the risk:

  • Use sanitizing wipes on high-touch surfaces such as phones, remote controls, light switches, door handles, faucets, toilet handles and flat surfaces.
  • Observe social distancing and masking while in shared spaces.
  • Ask the host about current cleaning protocols.
  • If possible, request that the property has been vacant for a day or two.

If you have to fly on an airplane, what precautions should you take?

  • Bring a mask or face covering to wear in public places.
  • Pack enough alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60 percent alcohol), and keep it within easy to reach.
  • Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose and mouth).
  • Bring your own sanitizing wipes to wipe down your tray tables, knobs, armrests and the side wall if you have a window seat.

Is it safe to use a rental car?

When you're in a rental car, the car itself is less of a risk than the people riding in it because it is an enclosed space that doesn't allow for social distancing.

Some additional precautions you can take:

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as the steering wheel, gear shift, door handles and surfaces, seat belts (buckles and belts) and controls for the windows, radio and temperature.
  • Consider limiting the number of passengers in the vehicle to only those necessary.
  • Improve the ventilation inside the vehicle by open the windows or turning off recirculation in the air ventilation system so that it pulls air from outside the car.

More on the Coronavirus

picture of coronavirus
University of Maryland Medical System brings you up-to-date information about symptoms, treatment and prevention plus strategies for navigating life in a pandemic. 
Learn More