By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4)– Going home for the holidays is a blessing but being stuck at home after catching COVID-19 on the way isn’t ideal. Even if you’re vaccinated and boostered, there are more ways to reduce the risk of getting infected and infecting your loved ones.

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“I’m from around New York City. I have more hesitations right now being home. So if anything, I feel safer out here in Denver,” said Alexandra George.

She’s spending Christmas in Colorado with her friend Emily’s family.

“The people in Denver seem to be pretty mask conscious, so that makes me feel good visiting here.”

2021 is still a COVID Christmas, but thanks to the vaccine, it can be a COVID Christmas at home.

Alexandra and Emily both got their booster vaccines before making the trip. The girls also took additional precautions after they arrived.

“I was picked up from the airport and then I spent the night and the next day quarantining to be safe,” said Emily. “I was definitely worried, especially with the new variant, but I wanted to come home because this is where all my family is and I love Colorado.”

Doctors say total isolation before traveling isn’t necessary if you’re vaccinated, but it’s smart to limit contact days before.

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“A soft quarantine is where people try to avoid as many things as possible prior to traveling,” said Dr. Kenneth Lyn-Kew, a Critical Care Physician at National Jewish Health. “The virus takes a few days, if you can track it, before you start to have symptoms and shed virus. It’s better than just completely winging it, but it’s not a perfect strategy.”

Dr. Lyn-Kew says a soft quarantine will help COVID-19 tests stay negative and keep loved ones safe, especially if you’re seeing the oldest or youngest members of the family.

“I’d test before I go, then when I get there, hopefully I’m in that protected window while I’m visiting them so that I can’t get them sick, even if I ended up exposed at some point during the travels,” said Lyn-Kew.

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Getting tested for COVID-19 before traveling and during your trip is the best way to ensure you don’t bring the virus back to Colorado. Getting another test after you return is recommended as well.

Tori Mason