The latter months of the year are always full of travel due to the holidays, and if you’d asked anyone back in January of this year, it’s likely that they would’ve expected the same to be said of this year. COVID-19, however, has had a habit of spinning things on its head, and now it’s a question as to whether or not traveling for the holidays will be worth the health risk—both your own and the health of any family or friends you plan to visit. 


While getting together with your family after a long, stressful year might be comforting, it’s possible someone could get ill as a result, or that you may get ill because of the gathering.


Whether you’re for or against traveling, doing some research will help you figure out what to expect should you decide to do so. Before planning anything, you need to ask yourself a few questions: 


Is this trip necessary? How old are the people you plan on visiting? Are they considered at-risk? What are the infection and death rates in both your area and the location you want to travel to?


Some places urge people to stay home rather than travel for the holidays, if only to contain the virus than anything else. For example, California has more coronavirus cases than any other state in the United States, and public health officials encourage travelers to postpone their trips unless they’re essential. 


Many countries still have their borders closed to nonessential travel, which puts a damper on people who wanted or needed to travel to another country this holiday season. If your family is in another country, the safest—and most likely—option will be for you to communicate through audio or video calls.


Even with all the difficulties, it might still seem worth the risk to see family anyway. After all, these trips are usually a tradition that we do every year, and it’s a way to strengthen generational ties as everyone gets together. That can still bring about problems: to remain within the CDC guidelines, you won’t be hugging or kissing anyone in greeting. You won’t be eating side-by-side with your family members, with everyone crowded into one table. You might not even be visiting someone’s home. Ignoring this advice could potentially get someone sick, so the question you need to ask is whether or not this is the family reunion you want. 


Not to mention that, with the holidays this year falling around the presidential election, the gathering could become polarizing due to mask-wearing alone, among other things. A gathering this year could sow more conflict than it’s worth.  


Ultimately, the decision to travel is up to you. Everyone is their own person, and the risks aren’t exactly unknown to the general public. Just make sure to do your research beforehand and take the proper precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy, and hopefully, you’ll have a good holiday rather than a poor one.