2020…it’s been a long year so far and now that things have opened up a little more, we are all eager to get a change of scenery and also to get a little bit of normalcy back into our lives. For those of us who live to travel, that’s the top thing on our mind.
While we all are eager to get on a plane and go explore far off lands, that may not be the best idea at the moment. But we can still travel somewhere, it may not be somewhere that was originally on our bucket list and it may not be that far from home, but there is always some place for us to explore. There are things to keep in mind while traveling during this time though….
Travel Restrictions: The number one thing you must do when planning a trip is to find out the travel restrictions of where you are going and at home for when you return. Most countries have closed their borders, but even when staying within your own country, different states have different restrictions. I live in the US in the state of Massachusetts. We had quite a surge at the beginning of the pandemic, but the past few months our numbers have been on the low side. I originally was planning to head to West Virginia later this week to run a half marathon. It’s one of the few road races that is actually still happening, but a few weeks ago, our governor in Massachusetts said there is a mandatory 14 day quarantine to anyone coming into the state (with the exception of a few other states with lower new cases, mainly the other states in the northeast) and there was actually a fine involved if caught not quarantining. Now I’ve been working from home and could get away with quarantining when I return, but do I really want to not be able to leave the house for 2 full weeks, I’m not sure I could handle the thought of not being able to go for a run or a walk for that long! Also, there’s the thought of, how will they even enforce this, but being that I’m a big rule follower and have a guilty conscience, I just can’t risk it. So I deferred the race to 2021 (fingers crossed things improve a bit by then) and I’m headed to New Hampshire for vacation instead.
Virus Spread: Another thing to consider, is the virus spreading alot where you plan on visiting. New Hampshire has a low amount of cases, only about 20-30 per day vs. Massachusetts 100-300 per day. I may be safer going on vacation than being home in Boston!
Transportation: How will you get there, do you need to fly or can you drive? Everyone will have their own comfort level when it comes to flying, I’m not at the point that I don’t feel comfortable being inside a plane around other people for hours, so driving seems like a safer option to me. With driving you do still need to think of things, like restrooms along the way or if you will need to stop and eat and if you will feel comfortable with this. How comfortable you feel about these things will help decide if you go somewhere just a couple of hours away so you don’t need to stop or if you feel comfortable stopping you can take a longer road trip.
Activities available at location: What activities are available at the location you are going? Are there things you can do outside where the risk is lower than inside? Are there activities you can do that allows you to social distance? Also do these activities require reservations? You’d be amazed at the number of places that now do require a reservation. Some of the state parks in New Hampshire are requiring reservations to limit the amount of people in the park. Make your reservations early, i went to make a reservation and only one day that I was going to be there was available!
Lodging: Where will you stay? Do you feel comfortable staying in a hotel where you will have to walk thru lobby and take elevators where you may come into contact with other people? Do you prefer to rent a house so you can stay away from others? Either way, make sure to check the covid-19 procedures. Will they require face masks in public areas and what are their cleaning procedures? Most major hotel chains are doing extra cleanings and even keeping rooms empty for a few days after a guest checks out. I am staying in a hotel and have purchased this tool to open doors and push elevator buttons, may be overkill, but definitely won’t bother me to use it.
Extras to pack: During this time there are some items you may not normally pack that you will need to now. Face masks, lots of places are requiring them (if only everywhere would) and you should bring multiple with you as you will probably be wearing them each day. Also bring along some disinfecting wipes to wipe things down in the hotel room that you will be touching frequently. Hand sanitizer is something I always have with me, but I’m definitely bringing extra as I’ll probably be using it more than normal. You may also want to bring some snacks and water with you to limit the amount of places you need to stop inside. Also a good idea to bring paper towels to use to open restroom doors and other high touch areas in public. I am also bringing my own pillow, may sound crazy, but with the virus entering our body thru mouth, nose or eyes, I prefer to have my head on my own pillow that I know only I’ve handled.
Strengthen your Immune System: It doesn’t hurt to make sure your immune system is in tip top shape when you travel even without a pandemic going on. No one wants their vacation ruined by illness. About a week before I travel, I usually up my elderberry and vitamin c intake.
I also make sure to pack these items as well and take them each morning while on my trip.
Have fun! Most important, have fun on your trip, be safe, take all the precautions necessary but enjoy your trip like you enjoyed your pre-pandemic travels.
It’s a lot to have to think about, more so than when planning a vacation prior to 2020. Remember no matter how far or close you are traveling, there are many travel agents out there willing to help. They will know all the current travel restrictions and other covid-19 related information you will need for your trip. And by using a travel agent you can also help a small business during a time their industry is struggling.
Have you gone on a trip recently? Do you have one coming up? Do you have any tips to share?