‘We need to balance sanity and risk:’ Is it safer to stay at a hotel or Airbnb


When shelter-in-place orders went into effect across the country in March, many Americans quickly sought refunds for hotel bookings, airfare and travel expenses. But now that states have relaxed some social-distancing measures Americans have gone full-circle and are planning road trips.

But when it comes to lodging you might be faced with this question: Is it safer to stay at an Airbnb or a hotel?

Leaving your home for any reason increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, and travel is certainly no exception. That’s why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention holds that “staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick.”

But if appropriate precautions and considerations are taken into account in advance, you shouldn’t write off a summer getaway entirely, said Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo.

“We need to balance sanity and risk,” Russo said. “It’s important for us to get out and reemerge from our caves but we need to do so safely.”

The CDC encourages you to consider some of these questions if you are planning a trip.

Before embarking on a trip, “travelers should research the local effects in any area they are planning to visit,” said Scott Pauley, a spokesman for the CDC. “The best source for those localized reports are the local health departments for the area they are traveling.”


‘We need to balance sanity and risk.’


— Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo

If you do travel, the CDC recommends you “pick up food at drive-throughs, curb-side restaurant service, or stores,” and practice regular social-distancing protocols, including wearing face coverings in public places.

Traveling with the people you’ve been sheltering in place with, be it family or roommates, Russo referred to as a “fixed risk.” Simply getting in a car with them won’t increase your chances of contracting coronavirus anymore than watching TV at home.

Traveling with people from outside your household, however, increases the risk of spreading the virus, he said. Consider whether you’ll be interacting with someone who is more at risk of contracting coronavirus after your vacation, he added, including older adults and people with underlying health conditions.

The case for staying at an Airbnb over a hotel

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