Fall Travel Plans?

Fall travel plans - car loaded with travel gear

Thinking of making fall travel plans? You’re not alone! Fewer COVID-19 restrictions, coupled with attractive pricing, enhanced safety measures, and flexible booking policies offered by hotels, airlines, and other travel providers, is sparking interest in domestic and international travel. And with the exception of events that draw large crowds like Oktoberfest celebrations and Halloween parades, you can still enjoy the season’s most popular, family-friendly activities – from leaf-peeping to apple picking.

While those who are at high risk for a severe case of the coronavirus are still advised against traveling unless it’s essential, here are some tips to keep in mind if you decide to take a trip this fall.

 Do your homework.

Resuming travel is a decision that depends solely on what makes you and your family feel comfortable. Where you want to go, how you plan to get there, and what you do once you arrive are the most important considerations – and it’s essential to do your homework before finalizing any plans.

Many favorite fall destinations are rising to the challenge of maintaining safe levels of visitors to prevent coronavirus outbreaks. Mask-wearing and social distancing are required in many tourist towns and cities. In addition, you can expect to find canceled events, reduced hours, timed entry tickets, and smaller tours as attractions and local businesses adhere to mandated limitations on crowd sizes – both indoors and out.

Coronavirus cases and travel restrictions change frequently, so be sure to check government websites of the destinations you’ll be traveling to as well as any requirements when you return home. If you plan to travel abroad, CovidEntryCheck monitors more than 34,000 travel routes to show travel restrictions and reported coronavirus cases.

Travel by car to reduce risk.

Every mode of transportation carries some risk of catching Covid-19, but traveling by car is still the safest way to go. If you are renting a car, the risk is reasonably low as major rental car companies have enhanced their cleaning protocols so customers can feel confident their vehicle is clean and sanitized.

That said, don’t hesitate to ask questions about the products used, how frequently cars are sanitized, and when the car you’ll be driving was last disinfected. If you are still concerned, wipe down high-touch areas like knobs, armrests, and the steering wheel, and remember to practice good hand hygiene and avoid touching your face.

Be proactive when flying.

Although travelers often focus on the risks of traveling on planes, airports present health challenges as well. Airport safety protocols and procedures vary widely. However, keeping your distance, handwashing and using hand sanitizer, and wearing a mask are the most important steps you and your family can take. Limit contact with others by checking in and printing boarding passes in advance and avoiding checking luggage. This reduces the number of hands your bag passes through, plus you won’t have to wait at a crowded baggage carousel when you land.

On board, most airlines require mask-wearing when passengers are not eating or drinking (many airlines have reduced or eliminated their food and beverage service, so you may want to bring your own.) Stay seated as much as possible, limit restroom visits, and follow crew guidance.

Maximize the safety of your hotel stay.

Although reputable hotels are prioritizing safety and sanitation, it’s a good idea to ask about policies before you book. Some experts suggest requesting a room that has been unoccupied for a few days and bringing your own cleaning products to wipe down surfaces, light switches, phones, and remote controls. Choose outdoor dining whenever possible (or order room service) and consider a walk or run outside instead of a workout in the hotel gym.

Whether you head to the mountains to enjoy the changing leaves or escape to a remote beach or resort destination, a bit of advanced preparation will help ensure a happy and healthy getaway for you and yours.