Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging, many people are eager to travel for Thanksgiving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the best way to protect yourself and others is still to stay home, especially if you're at increased risk for severe illness or may have been exposed to COVID-19.
But if you decide to travel, always wear a face mask (except when in your own car) and frequently wash or sanitize your hands. You should also check any COVID-19-related travel regulations or guidelines for your destination, as well as for your return trip.
You should also consider the relative risk of different modes of transportation, as outlined below.
Ship or boat: high risk
The CDC considers travel by ship to be the highest risk because you're sharing facilities for long periods of time. Cruise travel is currently shut down in the U.S., but some lines could reopen in November. There is no real way to lower your risks on a cruise ship significantly.
Plane: medium to high risk
Flying is one of the riskiest ways to travel, as much because of time spent in an airport as on the plane itself. The airport terminal and security process put you in contact with many people and high-touch surfaces. It's virtually impossible to fully socially distance on an airplane (though some carriers are keeping middle seats empty). Risks rise with longer-duration flights and layovers. But interestingly, the heavily filtered and constantly circulated air is considered low-risk on the plane itself if you wear a mask the whole time.
Safety tips for flying:
Trains and buses: medium risk
Riding public transport like trains and buses puts you in close contact with other people and high-touch surfaces, potentially for long periods of time.
Safety tips for public transportation:
Car: low to medium risk
Driving short distances with only your household members and no stops is considered the lowest risk of travel. Adding stops adds risk, as does sharing a car with anyone who does not live in your home.
Safety tips for car travel: