Planning a Labor Day weekend trip? These safety tips may help you avoid getting sick

Microbiologist Dr. Amber Schmidtke and her family had been planning their Labor Day weekend trip for months.

She and her husband and boys were headed from their home in Leavenworth, Kansas, to Hawai'i.

"I scheduled this vacation way back in March, after I got my vaccines, because I swore there would be a pediatric vaccine by now, and there isn't," Schmidtke says. "And, we made the decision 18 hours of airtime to get there was a bridge too far for our children, one of whom is unvaccinated."

The CDC says the US is averaging just over 142,000 new COVID-19 cases a day.

The agency is advising Americans to delay travel until after they are fully vaccinated, but those who are fully vaccinated can safely travel within the US.

"If you're fully vaccinated and planning to wear a mask, I think air travel can be very safe and fun," Schmidtke says.  "I think that's fine.  It's just a different dynamic, depending on what your family situation is."

If you plan to fly or spend time in crowded spaces, Schmidtke recommends trading out your cloth face mask for one that offers a higher degree of filtration.

"What's nice about the masks we have now,  there used to be a real shortage of masks, but that's not the case anymore," she says.  "I've upgraded all of my family's masks to the KN95 mask."

If you are traveling with children under 12 or your or anyone else is not vaccinated, Schmidtke recommends going by car and focusing on outdoor activities as much as possible.

Beaches and national parks, she says, are a great choice right now.

"Anytime you have to go inside to use the restroom, to go into a restaurant, to pick up some to-go food or something, that's when you want to make sure you have your mask with you," Schmidtke says.  'Because we've had a lot of events that are outdoors, and we think they're going to be okay, right?  Like the Sturgis Bike Rally.  But, the danger is when people go into a bar or restaurant together."

If you are headed to a theme park like Disney World, have your mask ready.

"Even if you're outside, but you really can't maintain social distance, I think it's important that you bring that equipment with you," Schmidtke says. " I think it can be done, you just need to be doing it carefully."

The CDC is no longer explicitly warning Americans not to go on cruises, but the agency is advising people who are immunocompromised to stay away from cruises right now.

And, if you're going to be using any kind of public transportation, remember masks are required.

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