Safe Travel Tips from Tess

Happy holidays! It’s been quite the year, full of high highs and low lows. As a professional athlete, this year has been incredibly unpredictable with training and competitions constantly up in the air. Luckily, we were able to water ramp all summer in preparation for this winter’s World Cup tour which we weren’t even sure was going to happen.

However, I’m happy to report that the first three World Cups of the season happened successfully amidst the pandemic chaos. We traveled back and forth between Finland and Sweden for 6 weeks ending with three World Cups, the first in Ruka, Finland and the second two in Idre Fjall, Sweden. I brought several new tricks to snow and earned 3 top tens, one of which was a 4th place, so it was a great success. Not to mention, our entire team remained healthy and avoided COVID by acting as a bubble.

It was initially scary traveling during a pandemic, but the right precautions make it entirely possible to travel safely. Here are a few tips that I have for anyone considering traveling right now, because while I understand any reservations you may have, it can be done safely!

  1. Travel with a K95 or N95 mask! I used a K95 mask in all public places including airports, the airplane, other public transportation, and gas stations. A higher quality mask makes a huge difference.
  2. Bring hand sanitizer everywhere. I sanitized before and after every public outing, including grocery stores, no matter how brief it was or even if I didn’t touch anything.
  3. To take tip #2 a step further, buy some “Theraworx” from Amazon. It’s a higher quality hand sanitizer used by clinics that shields your skin from viruses for up to 8 hours. This stuff works wonders!
  4. Have plenty of sanitizing wipes on hand at all times. I used them to sanitize seats in the airport and airplane before I used them - you can never be too careful!
  5. Only hang out with people in your “bubble”. I didn’t see or mingle with anyone outside my team, and I think this made the biggest difference. In situations where it was unavoidable to see others, it would either be 6+ feet apart, with a mask, or outside, and sometimes all three simultaneously!
  6. Avoid eating out for meals; take out is just as good! Find a fun spot outside away from people to eat, or just eat in with some good music or a movie to keep it fun.
  7. Avoid public gyms; we brought light weight simple equipment (bands, water bags, TREX) to do home-workouts because gyms are notorious for carrying tons of germs. Even though we weren’t able to use a ton of weight, we still maintained our strength with the equipment we packed.
  8. Send only one (two maximum) person from your group to run errands in public places - the less people exposed the better.
  9. Wash your clothes after being in a public space. While there isn’t tons of evidence of COVID living on clothing, we did this consistently and you can really never be too careful.
  10. WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WARM WATER AND AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE! We’re all tired of hearing this, but if you’re considering traveling right now, this is crucial to staying healthy. Don’t underestimate the power of good hygiene.

Hopefully this is helpful to anyone considering travel during a pandemic. It’s undoubtedly a little intimidating right now, but with the right precautions it truly can be done safely. Our team (18 total people) didn’t have a single COVID case during a 6 week trip in Europe because we religiously followed the 10 tips I just gave you. I’m sending good luck to all in the New Year.

Here’s to 2021!