It’s summer and this for many is synonymous with vacation. But as we all know this is no ordinary summer! Many of us have had to put our travel plans on hold in the hopes that we can pick up our plans once things return to normal.
Yet some of us understand that traveling is still possible; especially if we decide to stay within the US and experience the many great places to discover not far from home! Americans have been restricted from traveling to many places outside of the US for the time being, and there are also restrictions that exist within the US. If you take precautions and prepare yourself before your trip, there is no reason you can’t travel this summer or even this fall.
For those ready to hit the road, I’d like to offer three helpful tips to ensure you are well-informed and well-prepared for your Pandemic Travel Plans!
- Research your Destination: Whether you’ve decided you are going to travel near or far, make sure you look into local regulations in your desired destination. Some countries, states, counties, and cities have their own set of rules when it comes to social distancing, wearing masks, and even having to quarantine yourself upon arriving. Best places to check for these details are on official tourism office websites, state and health department websites for your destination, and also on the CDC website under their travel section (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html).
Doing this research in advance will not only help you get prepared but may also deter you from wanting to visit certain destinations. Remember that there are places where masks and social distancing aren’t being practiced. Will you feel safe taking your family there? It’s a personal choice, but at least you’ll know before you get there!
Some states within the US are mandating self-quarantine in your hotel, vacation rental, etc. if you are arriving from specific places…and Florida is on many of those lists! Bottom line, do you homework before you leave home!
- Check on Openings and Closings: Some places are not yet fully open for tourism. Certain tourist attractions are offering limited hours or may still be closed depending on where you want to travel. Some are taking reservations in advance to ensure they can limit the number of guests visiting at any given time to allow for social distancing. This is happening in national parks, at museums, and other attractions.
Make sure you visit not only local tourism office websites but check out the attraction website as well before you travel. What if the only reason you took that road trip was to visit that national park, but you forgot to reserve and made that drive for nothing?
Additionally, you should investigate busiest times to visit as long lines are quite prevalent these days. Avoid visiting during these times as much as you can. If you get there too late, you may not be able to get in at all. Some beaches are limiting the number of visitors, and if you don’t get there early enough, you simply won’t be able to get in!
- Review Safety & Sanitation Practices: It is important to select companies that are making an effort to keep you and your loved ones safe during this pandemic. Many hotels, airlines, restaurants and other tourist retailers are taking special precautions to allow their guests to feel more at ease. This information should be found on their websites and it’s a good idea to review this also before you go!
Some airlines are purposely leaving empty seats on their flights to allow for better social distancing, but some are not! Which one will you choose? Though price may be an important factor, also consider your risks. Many travelers are opting for vacation homes, cabins, or apartments to limit the amount of interaction with other people, but make sure these private owners are also actively implementing the right sanitary measures before you arrive. I’d also travel with lots of antibacterial products to do a quick pass through myself!
If this seems like too much trouble to get out of town for a while, perhaps it’s better to wait for this pandemic to be over. But for those of us that simply need our time away from the hustle and bustle of our crazy city, as long as you know before you go, you’re sure to have an enjoyable vacation despite what may be going on around us! Happy and safe travels to you!