How to Travel Safely during COVID-19
Whether you think people should be traveling during COVID-19 or not, the fact of the matter is that they are. After several months of being cooped up inside, it is arguably healthier for people to be getting out, as long as we are all doing so safely. While I will always encourage you to do what you feel most comfortable with, if you are itching to get back into the world here are some options to do so while keeping yourself and others healthy.
And no matter what, WEAR A MASK!
“Staycation” in a luxury resort or hotel
You’ve been in your apartment or house for months now, and despite all the at-home facials, haircuts, and sourdough, you need a little pampering and luxury in your life. All inclusive resorts have never seemed so wonderful! While my typical style of travel is to get out into the local community where you are traveling, that’s not a good look during a pandemic. So find that fancy hotel, near or far, and book a week away in sedentary style!
Before you do, make sure to look up the hotel and local COVID-19 policies and procedures to ensure your safety. Look for hotels and resorts that:
Require masks in all common areas
Have limits to the number of people using amenities at one time
Have public areas blocked out to help people stay 6 feet apart
Allow a few days gap between room bookings to fully sanitize the rooms before and after each stay
Suspend housekeeping during a stay
Have meal provision limited to room service
Bonus: Provide you with extra masks, wipes, and hand sanitizer!
If you are traveling internationally, make sure you research the places that are open for tourists and different hotel policies in the country you are going to. If you’re a U.S. citizen, here is the list of countries that you can travel to right now. Be sure to check if you are required to have a negative COVID test within a certain number of days of departure and research where you can get one in the required timeline well ahead of time. Be aware if the destination country has quarantine requirements. Additionally, if you’re flying, be sure to wear an N-95 mask, bring Lysol wipes to wipe down your seat and the seat back in front of you, bring hand sanitizer, and do your best to keep your mask on for the full flight time.
Not comfortable getting on a plane yet (and I don’t blame you)? Opt for a classic favorite, the road trip! The wind in your hair, the mountains in the distance, your best friend in the seat next to you singing her heart out… what are you waiting for?
Pack up the car with snacks, cd’s (for old times sake), and audiobooks and set up a driving schedule. Map out your route and check the COVID regulations and policies in each state you’ll be crossing through. If you’re staying in hotels or AirBnBs, check their cleaning policies! Make sure you have lysol wipes and ample hand sanitizer in the car with you, and maybe even some gloves for the gas station.
Get into the great outdoors
But honestly, who needs hotels when you have a tent?!? Camping, hiking, or kayaking a weekend away can be a great way to reset your mind and soul. And the best part: it’s usually pretty easy to social distance in the woods!
Like everything else, it’s important to do your research before going. With indoor experiences being limited right now, more and more people are taking to the trails, so do your best to avoid one that’s super crowded. Be aware that some state and national campsites and parks are still closed. And if you are going hiking or camping, be responsible! You want the beautiful nature trails to be there for your enjoyment, so keep them beautiful. Carry out everything that you carry in with you, including all trash, and stay on the trail. Bring your masks to put on when you do come across other groups. For more rules to make sure you’re respecting the environment and camping safely, check out the seven Leave No Trace principles.
And, as I always advocate, explore your own city or town! If you can’t manage to get away right now, or simply don’t feel safe doing so, enjoy yourself locally instead. Small local businesses need our support more than ever right now!
Check out the outdoor patio or new street cafe of your favorite restaurant. Turn your dining room into a fancy restaurant and order in. Order take out and have a picnic at a local park, or take it with you to the drive-in for dinner and a movie in the safety and comfort of your car. Decorate your home with flowers from a local florist and take that resort-style rose-petal-filled bath. Check out the local boutique and have an "NYC runway show" in your living room with the girls. Set up your own at-home wine tasting with a handful of bottles from a local winery (and grab some cupcakes from the local bakery to go with it!). Drive out to the countryside and gaze up at the stars. There’s plenty of wonder all around us, even when we’re at home.
Remember, wear a mask, stay 6-feet apart, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands regularly!