We've been home, a lot. Many of us are getting anxious to change our scenery even for just a long weekend. While the pandemic is not over, we still want to find ways to travel in the coming months in the safest ways possible. We found some tips for traveling if you plan on hitting the road (or skies) for a much needed getaway. Keep in mind, the CDC has specific guidelines that should be practiced whatever you decide. As always: be safe, wear a mask and keep your distance. Happy travels!
Keep It Simple
Take a trip that is direct and door-to-door if possible; avoid a lot of different means of transportation or transfers. For example, traveling by car during COVID-19 will likely be the safest, so look for destinations within driving distance. Get on a plane only if you need to visit family or if it’s an emergency. If you must fly, keep in mind that a nonstop flight is safer than one with layovers, because of fewer chances of being exposed to the virus. Another advantage of taking a car is that after you reach your destination you can use it on local excursions. Regardless, choose local activities that do not require public transportation, and opt for walks and bike rides.
Road Trip Tips
Choose an off-peak time to travel. Don’t leave on a Friday, when public rest stops will be more crowded.
Bring your own drinks and snacks to avoid standing in line.
Wear a mask when you are close to others.
Keep wipes and hand sanitizers on you at all times.
What to Know About Flying
Airlines have started to adjust to the reality of COVID-19. If you’re planning to fly, check if your airline has measures in place to allow for social distancing when possible, enforces face mask use, and provides ample access to hand sanitizers or handwashing.
Remember that the air on an airplane is quite clean due to industry standards and regulations requiring air circulation and HEPA filters. Therefore, airborne transmission of viruses and other germs is rare, similar to being outdoors. However, the difficulty to social distance on airplanes raises the chance of coronavirus transmission through an infected person’s respiratory droplets. Transmission from touching contaminated surfaces is also possible. So it’s important to wear a face mask that fits well, limit how much you touch objects, and frequently clean your hands.
Keep in mind: Traveling to the airport during the coronavirus outbreak, and the time you spend in an airport during check-in, security checks, boarding, and baggage retrieval may well be riskier than the actual flight itself, so don’t forget about taking precautions on every leg of your travel.
Providers are trying to address travelers’ concerns about upcoming trips by introducing temporary reprieves on change or cancellation penalties. They’re also allowing no-fee changes and cancellations on new bookings, as well as steep discounts in some cases. Hotel chains have also loosened their cancellation policies, waiving change and cancellation fees that would normally apply to nonrefundable rates.
With the CDC’s no-sail order for cruises in effect until through Oct. 31 (when it may be renewed), the major U.S. cruise lines have suspended itineraries into the fall — or later.
Where to Stay if You Go
Many of the major hotel chains have implemented strict guidelines and adjusted their cleaning standards to meet the needs of what is going on today. The level of cleaning products and practices alone have been elevated to new levels to help keep guests safe from spreading the virus. Linda Eigelberger, Vice President of Sales and Revenue Management at Midas Hospitality, has a few tips for hotel guests during COVID.
- Major hotel brands like Marriott, Hilton and IHG offer mobile check-in. You can do this from your car as you are arriving. This gives you the opportunity to avoid waiting in line or even having to go to the front desk when you arrive.
- These hotels also offer guests a "grab and go" breakfast option. You can place your order and pick up to take back to your room. This way you avoid dining with other guests.
- If you use the pool or fitness centers (who's cleaning standards have also increased with COVID), go when there are fewer people using the facilities. Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes are everywhere in these hotels. Use it!
Many of the major hotel chains have implemented strict guidelines and adjusted their cleaning standards to meet the needs of what is going on today.
Whatever you decide, make sure you are using all the precautions the CDC has outlined. Do your research and have a plan to follow the guidelines and make the most of this unusual time. As with any other time, make sure you secure your bank accounts when you travel. Tools like CardValet can help protect your accounts when you are on the road.
Just like with everything else, it's time to get creative. You can take all of this family time on the road if you are careful. We all need some time away!