Traveling During a Pandemic: Just Don’t!

Traveling During a Pandemic:  Just Don't!

Grace McClung, Journalist

For most, staying at home for months on end is not an easy thing to do. After weeks of being cooped in what feels like a suffocating bubble, it is understandable to crave a much needed vacation somewhere far away. But that doesn’t mean we should all buy plane tickets. The pandemic is still raging no matter what strides with the vaccine we have made and because of this, it is crucial that we save our beach trips for a few months down the road when we won’t put so many people at risk. 

Recently, several officials, influencers, and celebrities have been criticized for their hypocritical behavior in not following the advice they have given. A day before Thanksgiving, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock urged people in Denver to stay in their households instead of traveling over the holiday. That very same day, he boarded a plane to see his family in Mississippi. Tik Tok star Charli D’Amelio explained in a video to her fans how important it was to stay home and protect others, and then she and a group of her friends were spotted vacationing in the Bahamas, over 2,000 miles away from her LA home. The mayor of Austin, Texas posted a video on Facebook declaring that “this is not the time to relax” as he sat in Mexico. The hypocrisy is endless. It is also one of the reasons we continue to be battered by this pandemic. These people have a duty to exhibit exemplary behavior because of their wide range of influence, and yet, they have shown their fans, followers, and citizens that they are somehow entitled to life’s normalicies and it is not their responsibility to stop the spread. 

Their behavior is disrespectful and shameful. Gayana Chuklansev, a nurse in an intensive care unit in LA begged people to “stop being careless” in December, saying that “Patients are dying like flies…[and] we physically cannot help them.” Frontline workers face the worst effects of this pandemic head on, and they are only asking us to do an easy thing: stay home. Don’t go partying, don’t fly to another country, don’t risk the health and safety of others for your own fun. When you travel, not only are you putting yourself at risk, but you are risking every single person you come into contact with during the trip and for many days after. Illness and death is not worth a quick getaway or a visit you’ve been planning for months. 

Simply put, traveling is not a luxury any of us can enjoy right now. Nobody is immune, not even those with private jets. Nobody gets a pass and nobody gets an excuse. Instead, reserve your vacations for another year, or even this summer when traveling will be much more fun anyway. Give up tickets for those who actually need them: traveling nurses, members of the military, and others. 

Vacation desperation is at an all-time high as we are approaching the one-year mark of this pandemic. But it is important to remember that we all have a responsibility to protect each other. We are all part of the solution whether we like it or not. And in the end, the faster we abide by the rules and follow our own advice, the faster we can get back out into the world.