While the Covid- pandemic of 2020 is far from over, after months of quarantine many of us are finally getting excited about the idea exploring and traveling again. The big question now is where should we go? It can be a daunting task to choose a destination and get back into the groove of travel with lingering travel restrictions. No worries! I’m here to help you plan your first post quarantine socially distant vacation. With these tips, you’ll be planned, prepared and out the door in no time.
Tips for Planning Your First Post Covid Socially Distant Vacation
Where to Vacation After Covid: Choosing A Destination
Choosing a destination to visit is the most part of your planning process. Though things are starting to phase and reopening plans are underway, it can still be a difficult time to plan. My first suggestion is determining if you want to travel domestically or internationally. This all depends on your wants, needs and level of comfort. If you don’t mind taking a low risk vacation to international destination, there are tons of destinations that have opened up for travel and some that even offer incentives. Destinations like Mexico and Caribbean island have reopening plans in place to pay or largely discount your travel. Consider which international destinations have opened, have low Covid counts (click here to read the numbers) and which are offering incentives for your budget.
On the other hand, travel within the United States is a great option and probably will be easier to accomplish at this time. Especially for a weekend getaway. If you’d like to test the waters for a weekend getaway, maybe consider drivable destinations from your home location as to avoid air travel. Just as I recommend with international travel, check the numbers for Covid cases and maybe consider visiting a place with low numbers or a place that would allow socially distant activities. For example, beach towns would give you the opportunity to vacation with open air amenities like the beach and beach shack style restaurants.
Regardless of choosing domestic or international travel destinations, be sure to research both on a state or country and local level. For example, while the state of Florida may be open for travel, Miami-Dade county may have additional restrictions in place. You want to be sure that the restrictions in place (mandatory quarantine upon arrival, mask coverings in public settings, Etc.) align with the desires of your trip. If the restrictions don’t align with what you feel comfortable with, skip it and choose another destination.
2020 was dubbed the year of the national park! Many people are opting to visit national parks and head on road trips as they are scenic, inexpensive and open air for social distancing measures. Consider the unique landscapes or attractions near you to visit for a short weekend trip or staycation idea.
Choosing your Methods of Transportation
Your mode of transportation choice is more important now than ever before. Choosing the way that you want to arrive and explore your destination makes all the difference in social distancing.
Most of not all airlines are currently implementing procedures to keep you safe during your travel. All airlines are requiring masks and some airlines like delta are handing out hygiene kits after boarding flights. Airlines are even testing out the removal of the middle seat purchase to encourage less passengers on a flight. However, even with these measures it is still discouraged to fly unless absolutely necessary. Consider whether you feel comfortable in an uncontrolled environment such as an airplane.
For the next few years, we are expecting to see higher numbers of road trippers via car and / or RV. Not only is it a great way to remain socially distant but it also gives you more control over where you go and how long you stay. In addition, while the economy is still rebuilding; this is open the most cost effective option. If you live in a great domestic location, consider a road trip to minimize how many people you come into contact with on your travels from home to your destination of choice.
Travel After Covid: Choosing Accommodations
With many Airbnb’s and Hotels opening up, there are no right or wrong options to which kind of accommodations you choose. Both have benefits for two very different reasons.
Airbnb’s are great options for people who want to avoid sharing amenities at all costs. The benefit of an Airbnb is that you not only have control of your own cleaning but you are also the only family temporarily staying at a home. That means not sharing dining areas, a pool or any other amenities In most cases. You’re able to be socially distant and not come into contact with anyone else depending on the type of Airbnb you opt for.
The Airbnb brand has done their part to communicate with hosts about the importance of cleaning properties as guests begin to book again. On their site, you can find a Corona Virus update section in which they frequently upload published material with tips and information for hosts and guests. In a recent post, Airbnb released cleaning guidelines with tips from the Center of Disease Control including a check list for hosts to use of give to their hired cleaning services prior to opening for business and booking guests. To get more information about their cleaning recommendations and standards, click HERE.
As hotels prepare to open back up and serve the public, a number of them have implemented campaigns that focus on the health and safety of their patrons.
Hilton’s Clean Stay Program
Hilton Hotels and Resorts for example have implemented the Clean Stay Campaign in partnership with cleaning brand RB (Lysol and Dettol). Hotel team members have not only trained under the consultation of the Mayo clinic but they have also made a conscious effort to up the deep cleaning process in hotels including check in/ check out services. Housekeeping staff makes every patron feel safe with the use of hospital grade cleaning products, a seal on the door so that you gain peace of mind knowing that your room has been cleaned, Deep cleaning of touch point areas and Contactless check-in processes. For more information about their initiative, click HERE.
Many hotels and resorts have adopted like practices to guarantee client safety for the duration of their stay. This of course is in an effort to bring customers back, allow the best client experience as possible and hold their brands accountable for moving forward with the Covid outbreak.
Travel After Covid: Choosing Activities
Now that you’ve chosen a destination, how you plan to arrive there and accommodations for the length of your stay; it’s time to choose which activities you plan to enjoy while on vacation. Before choosing your activities, have a clear understanding that your experience will be altered in some way, shape or form. You’ll really want to consider how comfortable you are with these changes and if it will take away from your experience as a guest. That said, as destinations are starting to open-up, your variety of activity choices are starting to expand as well. Here are my best tips for choosing what you do at a destination:
The most basic first step is checking the tourism bureau and/or the site of the activity that you are considering to guarantee that they have opened- up. Their site should be able to provide you with details about new hours of operation and the kinds of health and safety regulations that you can expect. If you have any questions, reach out directly to the business for accurate information.
Back to my previous point, ask clear questions about their cleaning protocols to understand what they are doing to keep you and your family safe. Additionally, be sure to bring your own items that would make you feel more comfortable such as sanitizer, gloves, a replacement mask, Etc. You are your best advocate!
Opt for Open Air/Outdoor Activities
It has been proven that outdoor and open air activities put you in less of a risk than any other types of activities. The biggest reason is because you are exposed to fresh air and not air that is re-circulating. This is the perfect time to consider activities such as National Park exploration, water sports, Beach Shack style restaurants, outdoor picnics, and beaches. Again, please be sure to do research to seek out the rules and regulations for these activities as well. Many beaches and parks are still requiring that you wear a mask outdoors unless you are actively engaged in eating or drinking and you want to guarantee comfortability.
Other Key Methods for Staying Safe on Post Covid Vacations
Your vacation planning is now complete. The following are some additional key methods for staying safe and healthy while enjoying your stay:
Limit the Amount of Time You Stay Away
If this is your very first post covid vacation, you may be feeling a bit of anxiety about getting back into the world and interacting so closely with other tourists and locals. My best suggestion is limiting the amount of time that you are away from home. Now is the perfect time to consider a weekend 3-4 days max getaway and taking some time to mix your activities so that you are not surrounded by people all day for the duration of your trip.
Luckily, our increased access to technology has made it easier than ever to access just about anything digitally. Download apps to avoid as many hand to hand transactions as possible. Purchase attraction tickets ahead of time, use apple pay to check out or store your airline ticket QR code in your phone to avoid use of a kiosks.
Pack a Personal Sanitary Kit
While most establishments have upped their methods of cleanliness, be sure not depend on them for your safety as a guest. Your kit should have items like sanitizer, a replacement mask, antibacterial wipes and anything else you find necessary for health.
Update Your Healthcare and Insurance
If you haven’t taken a look at your policies lately, now is a great time to look over them and get an understanding of what they cover. If you get sick, you want to guarantee that you are covered and understand what is within network for your care outside of where you reside.
Quarantine When Returning Home
As safe as we all try to be, no one is invincible and getting sick could be easier than you think. As a precaution and courtesy to others, quarantining post vacation is still the best way to avoid passing potential illness to others. We recommend staying home upwards of 14 days after your vacation to make sure that you are healthy before returning to work or gatherings with others outside of your family or whomever you vacationed with.
We all have to consider that post Covid, our normal will never be the same as it was before. Going forward, we will all have to be more cautious about where we travel to and how we are care ourselves and our families. However, as we ease into traveling and exploring again, these tips should aid in taking a bit of anxiety out of your planning process and get you on your way to an enjoyable and much needed vacation experience. For additional tips on staying healthy while traveling, click HERE.