Now that COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and lockdown measures are lifting in states across the country, people are itching to leave months of quarantine behind and escape and recharge. However, before you pack your bags, it’s important to know that some vacation options are a safer bet than others.
Here are some tips for planning the safest getaway possible for you and your family. And remember that, while social distancing will probably be the norm for months to come, travel will become easier and less awkward as we all adapt to the new reality.
Know before you go.
Before you go anywhere, decide what you want to do and how best to get there. Once you pick a possible destination, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping an eye on the number of COVID-19 cases in that location. Avoiding traveling to any destination if the virus is actively spreading. Keep checking right up until you are scheduled to leave.
Reopening plans and timelines vary from state to state, county to county, and even city to city, so keeping your plans flexible is essential. Whether exploring your hometown or another state, you will need to research what is open and allowed where you are going. Keep in mind that hotels and vacation rentals may not be operating yet and campsites might still be closed. Museums might be open but limiting the number of people who enter at one time. As reopening plans progress, more tourism and hospitality businesses are likely to open, too.
Explore your backyard.
Closer-to-home travel offers a sense of adventure while allowing you greater control over potential risks than traveling by plane or public transportation. You can ease into vacation mode by planning day trips to new neighborhoods or local sites you’ve always wanted to visit. In addition, you will stay safe by driving in your own vehicle, packing your own food, and bringing sanitizing wipes.
Enjoy the great outdoors.
An outdoor vacation within driving distance of your home is another great option. This can include anything from camping to staying in a cabin near the beach to hitting the road in an RV. In fact, road trips are expected to make a comeback this summer and RV travel is already booming.
Expect more people to be driving to wide-open spaces to maintain distance from each other and stay outdoors where the virus is less likely to spread. Traveling to lesser known parks or lakes may be safer than visiting a crowded beach or the Grand Canyon. Also keep in mind that many states have restrictions on allowing out-of-state visitors. For instance, popular New England destinations like Maine and Massachusetts are requiring visitors to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Vacation with people you know.
Staying with family or friends can be fine as long as you control the numbers and know your hosts are healthy and have been practicing social distancing. Some states have imposed limits on the number of people who can gather indoors, but even if this is not the case, remember that the larger the group, the higher the risk. You should also try to spend as little time as possible indoors.
While travelers are likely to start checking into rentals or hotels, hopping on a plane to a foreign destination may prove to be more complicated. There are restrictions on travel to and from many countries throughout the world, and it is often unclear exactly when they will be changed or lifted. While airlines have worked hard to ensure the health and safety of travelers, the reality is that taking a long flight is riskier than traveling by car. Travel experts suggest limiting International travel for the next few months to be on the safe side. If you do fly, take precautions including wearing a mask, bringing your own food and drinks, and wearing gloves or washing or sanitizing your hands as often as possible.