Dr. Fauci's Advice for Holiday Travel This Year

two men eating a holiday meal

Americans are currently debating how to do celebrate holidays safely, but Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning they may want to "think twice" before hitting the road or having a big indoor gathering. 

"As we get into the colder weather, we should really think twice about these kind of dinner parties where you're not sure of whether the people that are in your bubble (are safe)," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told USA Today during a meeting with the paper’s Editorial Board on Wednesday, adding it may be “almost intuitive instinct” to assume the people you know are safe, but that may not be the case.

“Then you're going to start seeing these unanticipated infections related to innocent home gatherings, particularly as we head into the holiday season," he said.

Of course, we’d all love nothing more than to use our holiday vacation days for a little R&R (and let’s face it, we all need it), but Fauci advised Americans to be careful where they go and how they get there. The infectious disease expert recommended people make a “risk-benefit assessment,” weighing the potential hazards of a crowded airport, for example, and whether or not travelers will be around people who are elderly or with underlying health conditions.

“Because the risk of not traveling is less than the risk of traveling," he told the paper, adding his own daughters aren’t coming home for the holidays either. "So you've got to decide, during this interesting period of a lot of infection going on, colder weather, indoors: Do you want to travel and go to a Thanksgiving meal where there may be 12, 15, 20 people?"

Fauci isn’t alone in recommending against holiday travel: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers to avoid leaving the state for this festive season, and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott counseled against unnecessary travel for Thanksgiving.

In addition to health concerns, states across the country have implemented travel restrictions with varying degrees of quarantine measures and testing protocols, complicating cross-country travel even further.

Those who are traveling for Thanksgiving this year appear to be spreading it out over more days and staying longer when they arrive. And if you do decide to hit the skies for Turkey Day, the Transportation Security Administration recommends passengers bring an extra mask or two, but make it one they can quickly remove so an agent can verify their identity.

Luckily, there are plenty of virtual ways to celebrate being thankful this year, including the fact that Zoom is lifting its 40-minute limit on free video chats for Thanksgiving Day so families near and far can get together.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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