Traveling During COVID

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Wanderlust is defined as an intense need to travel. Summertime is typically when many people, myself included, plan family vacations; traveling to exotic locations, theme parks, visiting family near and far, or just planning a fun adventure to spend quality time with loved ones. We have had to change our daily routines to fit what is “safe” for ourselves by wearing masks, bathing in hand sanitizer, and social distancing. Our summer routines have changed as well with many people postponing or canceling their travel plans in favor of the comfort and safety of their backyards. I have done this with my own family, canceling summer vacation plans after many long conversations opting instead for backyard cookouts over our annual trip to the beach. This has done little to satiate my appetite for travel or quell my cabin fever leftover from two months of lock down. So, the question of the day is how can we travel safely during such uncertain times?

There are a couple of answers to this question. The first is a staycation. This concept has been popping up more in recent months given the current state of things. The nice thing about a staycation is you can get a change of scenery while still being close to home. If you live in an area that has been relatively unaffected by COVID, this is a great way to stay “safe” and get out of the house for a little bit. Staycations can come in the form of a local hotel, campground, or an Airbnb. The added benefit of all of these options is that you also have the opportunity to support your local businesses that are struggling during this time.

The second option is a road trip. By taking the road less traveled, you have an opportunity to see parts of the country you would otherwise miss out on. But choose your destination wisely! Look at parts of the country where COVID is less prevalent. Many people are looking into visiting National Parks. The NPS has a “Great America/Annual” Pass which gets you access to over 2,000 National PaEMS and recreation areas. These places are great because many of the activities are outdoors. A word of caution, though, be sure to check the website for the specific park you plan to visit to see what COVID related restrictions are in place. Also, to minimize exposure to crowds (even though you are outside) plan on doing your site seeing during the week.

At this point, you may be saying to great I want to take a road trip but is it safe to eat out or stay in a hotel? The answer to those questions is yes to a point. While I can’t speak to what every lodging provider in the country is doing, I can say my experience is that many are committed to the safety of their staff and guests. Here at the McDonald Airbnb we have implemented enhanced cleaning regiments that include regularly sanitizing “high touch areas” while guests are staying with us, especially if they are staying with other guests longer than one night. Rooms are completely cleaned and sanitized between guests, and hand sanitizer is readily available at each of the entrances. While smaller “mom and pop establishments may not have the financial means to purchase fancy gadgets like foggers they are just as committed to safety as the big corporate outfits. One thing I noticed while traveling recently was that at the Hampton Inn’s I stayed in, they put stickers across the door jams and doors to indicate that the room has been sanitized and has not been tampered with or contaminated since the the room was sanitized. Now some people may be scared to trust that the room was properly cleaned. That’s ok. Just bring some Lysol or Bleach wipes with you and wipe down the surfaces yourself.

On to the issue of dining while on the road. Just like people, different jurisdictions have different responses to COVID that fall on the spectrum of Conspiracy Theory Denial to Apocalyptic Isolation. Depending on your level of comfort, the beat solution may be ordering take out or going to a drive through establishment and eating in your car or in your newly sanitized hotel room.

So to recap, here are the basic travel points:

✅ Pick a destination that has a low rate of COVID. ✅ Stay local. ✅ Avoid mass transit. Drive yourself. ✅ Consider visiting a National Park and doing outdoor activities. ✅ Wear a mask even outside if you are going to be in a crowd. ✅ Travel during the week when crowds are likely to be smaller. ✅ Bring hand sanitizer and bleach wipes with you. ✅ Order take out or drive through food and eat in your car or at your hotel. ✅ If you’re a nature lover pitch a tent.

In conclusion, traveling can be safe if you take steps to minimize your exposure. You don’t have to be a globe trotter to have some amazing experiences as there are many beautiful parts of the country, even in your back yard. So, plan accordingly for your level of comfort and have a great time seeing the sites. #COVIDtravel #travelsafety #HistoricMcDonaldAirbnb #wanderlust

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