How to NOT catch the Coronavirus while traveling

How to protect yourself when traveling against the coronavirus.

Alright friends, this virus is all over the news right now. The China Coronavirus, now named Covid-19. Let’s chat about how we can protect ourselves and stop the spread of this deadly virus, and how to not catch the coronavirus while traveling.

As of this week, The Who does not want to declare this a pandemic. They are warning every country in the world to be prepared. This virus is extremely contagious and spreading throughout the world like wildfire. Now it is throughout Asia and Europe.

If you have clicked on this page, you probably already know what the coronavirus is but let’s take a quick look at what it is and how it started.

Then we will dive into how to protect yourself, especially if you are traveling. I currently live in Southeast Asia, and this is something that I am currently having to face close to home and have had to face it for almost 2 months now.

Disclaimer: This is from the point of view of a mother of 3 kids, with an education and work history in Hospital Administration and Public health. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Please always double-check with your doctor if you have any questions. I have lived in multiple countries and currently reside in Southeast Asia.

This page does include affiliate links, we will receive a small commission if you make any purchases from these links. This comes at no extra cost for you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

What is the coronavirus (Covid-19)?

What is the coronavirus? How to NOT catch the Coronavirus while traveling.

The coronavirus is actually a group of viruses including the MERS and SARS viruses that we have heard about in the past. The current Coronavirus is being called the 2019-n-Coronavirus (not a very fun name to say).

As of February 12, 2020, the Coronavirus is now officially named Covid-19. It causes respiratory symptoms which result in difficulty breathing and even death.

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This virus is extremely sneaky which is why it’s so scary. Patients can be contagious for 14 days BEFORE they even know they are sick. Sometimes the symptoms of the virus won’t show until after the 14 days. So, people are spreading this disease like crazy.

How does the coronavirus (Covid-19) spread?

According to the CDC, the coronavirus is spread mostly from person to person through water droplets. The main ways the coronavirus is spread is:

The WHO's emergency meeting concerning the China Coronavirus.
  • The air through coughing and sneezing
  • Contact with someone who has it (touching the person)
  • Touching something with the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Very rare, but it also contagious through fecal matter

Coronavirus Symptoms specific to Covid-19

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing (shortness of breath)

Coronavirus Diagnosis

The coronavirus (2019-n-coronavirus) is diagnosed just like any other virus. The doctors will perform a nose and throat swab than test the cultures. They may do a blood test to confirm that it is the Coronavirus.

New cases of the Coronavirus worldwide comparison.

The number of positive cases is rapidly increasing and changes every day. One of the problems with the coronavirus is it could be misdiagnosed as just another cold and many patients may not even go to the doctor if they recover quickly. The number of cases is much much higher now but this early graph shows how rampant coronavirus has become.

If you suspect that you have the coronavirus, go to the doctor so they can report it to the proper channels. If you have been in contact or think you have been in close contact with someone who has recently been to mainland China, please take proper precautions. Also, you will need to be in quarantine until they are sure that you are no longer contagious.

Coronavirus Treatment

Treatment for the coronavirus is much the same as any other virus. Patients need to rest, stay hydrated, and seek medical attention if their symptoms get worse.

If you have a fever, use fever-reducing medications. This will also help with body aches that come with a fever. You can learn more about coronavirus treatment on the CDC’s website.

So how do we protect ourselves from the coronavirus when we are traveling?

How to NOT catch the Coronavirus while traveling, checking temperatures.

Now that you know a little more about the coronavirus, let’s talk about how to not catch the coronavirus while traveling. If you have saved for a big trip and counted down the days. Please weigh all the concerns when deciding if you are still going on your trip.

The good news is most airlines have canceled flights in and out of China, to help stop the spread of the virus. This is helpful because airplanes carry so many germs.

Why airplanes carry so many germs

So you could be on a flight from Amsterdam to New York but the airplane was in China the day before. Now the plane could be covered in coronavirus germs and you could easily catch it even though you didn’t go through China yourself.

Flying has come to an almost standstill world wide. Airlines are doing this for our protection. However, if you are one of the few to fly right now, you do need to take extra precautions.

What to buy to prepare for your trip

In your carry on bag, you should have a few things to help keep yourself healthy. You need to have a good alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is easily accessible at all times.

Consider buying a hand sanitizer that has a clip so you can clip it on the outside of your bag for easy access.

How to NOT catch the Coronavirus while traveling with kids.

I also suggest having a few packs of good sanitizing wipes. We will talk about how and where to use them later. Make sure the wipes kill all viruses, including influenza. I suggest this brand from Amazon.

Unfortunately, sanitizing wipes have become hard to find. But you can still get this sanitizing spray from Amazon. It will work perfectly on the airplane.

Masks to protect against coronavirus

If you are going to Asia or Europe. Or if you are going to be in close quarters with others, I would suggest taking masks with you.

Please note, masks alone are not going to protect you from the virus. You need to wash your hands. Masks protect you from water droplets when others sneeze or cough and must be worn properly.

The Who has recently changed their opinions on which types of masks are acceptable at preventing the spread of this disease. They now suggest people use an N95 mask with a respirator for the best protection.

N95 are currently being saved for healthcare workers. The Who recommends adding a filter to your mask so that you have 3 layers of protection between you and other people. If you have an N95, use it. If you do not, please save them for the healthcare workers.

Masks are not effective if you do not wear them properly and if they do not fit properly.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you put the mask on properly. Watch the video below for instructions.

There are a few important things to remember about masks. You need to make sure the mask fits tightly around your face and do not leave any gaps for droplets to sneak in.

Keep your hands clean, the masks only protect you from someone else’s water droplets.

Masks to protect your kids from the coronavirus

As I have mentioned above, the masks need to fit snug across your face. If the mask doesn’t fit right, it won’t do you any good. So your kids need their own masks if you are planning to be in close quarters.

The best mask for kids is a mask that your kids will like and will wear. I like these on Amazon because they have cute designs, they are adjustable to get the right fit, and they also come with replaceable filters.

I know getting your kids to wear the masks will be hard. Masks are hot and uncomfortable. Remind your kids they only need to wear them for a short time.

Try showing your kids this video that does a great job at explaining the coronavirus. Kids will be more willing to wear a mask and wash their hands if they understand why they are doing it.

What precautions to take while traveling

Before your trip

It is important to be healthy when you leave for your trip. Even if you don’t encounter the Coronavirus, you will come in contact with lots of new germs.

Before you even leave for your trip, make sure you are practicing good hand hygiene. That means washing your hands with soap and water for at LEAST 20 SECONDS. My kids sing happy birthday to themselves 2 times while they wash their hands.

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to help protect yourself against the coronavirus

Make sure you are washing your hands (or using hand sanitizer) after touching public surfaces. Such as door handles, grocery carts, tabletops, etc.

If you are eating at the airport you might want to consider wiping down the eating utensils that you will be using. In many places, they are in a common area where anyone can grab them.

Take vitamins to boost your immune system before your trip. I love this brand from Amazon and I really notice a difference when I am taking them on a regular basis. I love this brand of gummy vitamins for my kids and they love the taste of it!

Get good restful sleep before your trip, sleep is incredibly important to help you fight diseases. Rest up before your trip so you can have play nonstop once you go!

The day before your trip, stay well hydrated. Drink lots of water, don’t forget, this is important!


Don’t catch coronavirus on the plane (Covid-19)

Okay friends, you made it on the plane and it’s go time. It is time to set up your awareness to all the germs around you. As soon as you sit in your seat, it’s time to sanitize everything!

Pull out your wipes and wipe or your airplane sanitizing spray clean EVERYTHING. If there is an entertainment center, wipe that down top to bottom.

A mom and three children in the airport with masks and two large suitcases.
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times

Wipe down the front of the tray table, wipe down the lever and open the tray table. Wipe it down thoroughly. Grab a new wipe, and wipe down the seat belt and buckle. Buckle it.

Wipe down both armrests around you. Even wipe down the magazines and safety cards (or just avoid touching them). Who knows who has touched them or sneezed on them!

How to NOT catch the Coronavirus while traveling, use a mask.

If you are in the window seat, wipe it down the window from bottom to top. Be thorough!

Once you are done wiping everything, use your hand sanitizer to sanitize your hands.

If you have a mask pull it out and put it on. Remember this is to protect you from water droplets if others around you are sneezing or coughing.

Make sure you have your mask on as people are boarding.

For more tips on how to avoid getting the coronavirus while on a plane, visit our coronavirus survival guide here.

I know this may sound like overkill, but you have to be diligent and take care of yourself.

Other tips to not getting the coronavirus while traveling

Every time you use the bathroom, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Then use paper towels to open the bathroom door as you exit.

If you eat a meal on the plane, use hand sanitizer before you eat. You may want to think about wiping down all outside surfaces before opening them.

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Staying Healthy on your trip

The key to not catching the coronavirus while you are traveling is staying vigilant about cleanliness. If you are traveling, staying healthy is key to not getting sick.

Always carry your hand sanitizer in case you can’t wash your hands properly.

Use hand sanitizer when you touch public surfaces. Use hand sanitizer any time you shake hands or touch others.

Wash your hands with soap and water before you eat.

Try to not touch your face, especially eyes, nose, or mouth while you are out.

Wear your mask anytime you are indoors with people, try to limit your indoor time to under an hour.

Keep at least 6 feet between you and other people.

Don’t take the germs into your hotel

As soon as you enter and when you return to your hotel/Air Bnb/hostel/etc wash your hands with soap and water. Do not bring the germs in with you!

Wipe down your cell phone multiple times throughout the day and when you return back to your hotel.

Get your sleep as best you can. If you are having a hard time sleeping, use a natural sleep aid like melatonin to help you get your rest. I love this brand for adults. I use these anytime I can’t sleep on a trip or at home. My kids love this brand to help them sleep.

This is a serious virus but if you take proper precautions you can still enjoy your vacation and the wonderful experience that travel provides.

Purchase Travel Insurance

I don’t always recommend purchasing travel insurance, but with the way this virus is rapidly spreading, it is a good idea to buy some extra insurance for your trip.

Typically, your normal insurance will have minimal coverage while you are traveling to different countries. This means you will be left with the remaining fees.

If you happen to fall sick while you are traveling, you will want to seek out a private hospital. If you have purchased travel insurance, you will most likely be completely covered and will not have to pay anything out of pocket.

I recommend using Travelex for travel insurance. They have plans for any budget and they cover medical and dental emergencies.

If the virus starts to spread where you are headed, I would suggest canceling your trip. If you do need to cancel, your travel insurance with Travelex will cover the cancellation.

Traveling to Asia

We know that we should not travel to China, but if you happen to be traveling to other parts of Asia, just be extra precautious.

Unfortunately, most countries in Asia still have their borders closed to tourists. But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan your trip for the future.

If you happen to be traveling to Southeast Asia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bali, Singapore, Cambodia, India, etc… We have a comprehensive list of essential items you should bring with you.

This list comes from our years of experience living in this part of the world. Asia has so much culture and beauty to offer and experience, it would be a shame not to visit and experience it.

A locals list of the 13 most essential Things to pack for traveling to Southeast Asia

Wrap up on not catching the Coronavirus while traveling

Overall remember to keep your hands clean and try to enjoy your trip. Use common sense and listen to your gut.

If you are worried that you may have caught the coronavirus, seek proper medical attention as soon as possible.

What to do if you get the coronavirus while traveling


February 1, 2020 at 2:35 pm

Great information. Thank you!

February 1, 2020 at 5:14 pm

Very timely post and important info for all travelers to have right now! Thank you for sharing all your knowledge and tips.

February 2, 2020 at 1:10 am

Great tips, thanks for sharing! It’s reached here in Australia already so will definitely be using some of these tips!

    February 3, 2020 at 5:19 am

    It’s spreading so fast! The world has become a smaller place and it’s so insane how fast this virus is spreading. Thank you for you comments! Stay safe 🙂

February 2, 2020 at 5:58 am

I had no idea about the 14 day incubation period. That’s so scary! Thanks for sharing all this info.

    February 3, 2020 at 5:20 am

    Thank you for your comments, it is scary. I think that’s why it’s spreading so fast, you don’t even know that you are sick and you’re passing it on to others.

February 8, 2020 at 10:34 am

Some great tips, thanks. Gonna be very handy when I travel to Thailand in a couple of weeks…although not sure yet how not to suffocate with the mask on 😉

    February 9, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    I feel the same way about the masks. Don’t feel like you have to wear them all the time, just if you are in close quarters with other people and change your mask often to assure it stays effective. Have a great trip to Thailand and try not to worry too much!

February 8, 2020 at 3:50 pm

It might seem a bit like overkill, but it is great advice and these rules essentially about hygiene go a long way. Germs spread so rapidly especially in places like planes. It is our duty as travelers to try our best not to spread any disease around the world.

    February 9, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    I agree, if we are going to travel around the world, we need to take responsibility for the germs that we may also be spreading. It seems like overkill but at this point, I think overkill is best. Thanks for your comments!

February 9, 2020 at 1:23 am

This is sooo useful. Thanks so much for this essential post!

February 10, 2020 at 3:15 pm

Lots of great info here. Very instructional and informative. Thanks for writing.

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