I hesitated to write this post as COVID-19 continues to move un-contained through much of the United States. However, I decided that was all the more reason to hit publish on this post instead of letting it continue to hang out in my drafts. When traveling during this time, it’s important to take a few factors into consideration, including that when you are traveling, you risk exposure and exposing others. Today, I’m sharing travel tips for staying safe & healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Travel Tips for Staying Safe & Healthy during COVID-19
Research your Destination
When choosing your destination, be sure to research travel restrictions that may exist. Some places may require you to quarantine for 2 weeks upon arrival. Check the number of cases and hospitalizations and try to pick areas with a steady two-week decline. Also, be sure to check your own local rules for returning. Will you need to quarantine upon return? If so, is working remotely an option for you?
For us, we opted for two locations we are familiar with–Charleston and Ocracoke. It had been five years since we went to Charleston and we opted for a place where we could staycation. Ocracoke is our annual beach trip and we knew given the amenities of the VRBO and our ability to spread out on the beach, we would be able to maintain social distancing.
Take it on the Road
When considering destinations, look at ones that would make a fun (or easy) road trip. Be sure to bring hand sanitizer, masks, and disinfectant wipes. On a recent road trip David and I took, we opted for a different gas station that the one we originally stopped at because no one entering or exiting were wearing masks. We limited our stop to one stop half way through in each direction, and used our disinfectant wipes to wipe off our car surfaces and handles.
We also packed snacks and drinks so we wouldn’t have to stop and get food. Our goal was to have as minimal contact on our drives as possible. We highly recommend this approach for avoiding wasting food left in the fridge and saving money on fast food.
To see some of my favorite spots around North Carolina, check out this post!
Decide Where You’ll Stay
Looking at options can be overwhelming and deciding can be difficult. When we went to Charleston, we opted for a hotel and carefully reviewed their cleaning procedures, guest policies, and locations for easy access for walking, getting takeout, and ones with spread out common areas. If you’re looking for something similar, we highly recommend the experience at Hotel Bennett.
On our annual family trip to Ocracoke, we stayed at the same VRBO we’ve stayed at for the last 10 years. We felt safe because we know the owners and their procedures, there is outdoor space to enjoy, and a pier, all of which were nice for grabbing take out off the beach and enjoying on the porch.
When calling to check on procedures, we asked about cancellation policies in the event of a surge in cases, how they were treating guest stays (24 hours in between guests? Limited capacity? Masks and hand sanitizer requirements?). It eased our minds to know what to expect in advance.
Opt for a Different Type of Vacation
David and I travel really well together because we are inherent wanderers. We often travel with minimal plans and more general ideas of what we want to see and where we’d like to eat or grab drinks. Traveling during this time has been a bit different because we’ve intentionally picked places that are low-key. While we both love exploring Charleston, our trip was really for a change of scenery. We did eat at new places either by grabbing take out or dining in outdoor spaces and we enjoyed our socially distant time by the pool. However, we knew that we wouldn’t engage in some of our normal travel activity, and that is perfectly fine considering the times.
I also want to highlight a struggle that David and I are both having during this time. We both love supporting local businesses and places, particularly right now, so we struggle with how to do that while continuing to limit risks and exposure. We feel fortunate to have this as an option and don’t take it lightly, so I wanted to share that as an ongoing internal dilemma that we have during this time.
Disclaimer: We are not experts here. However, following guidance from public health officials and taking proper precautions, we have found a way to occasionally travel in a way that protects those around us when we do venture out.
What are your travel tips for staying safe & healthy? Let me know in a comment below!
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