In 2019, the only thing that most people had stressed over when planning their vacation was what kind of rental car insurance they were going to purchase or where they were going to stay while traveling away from home. Now, they have to worry about all of that and how to protect themselves from contracting the coronavirus.
With COVID-19 at play, people have to put more detail and thought into where they are going to go, how they are going to get there, and what all they need to do to ensure they are safe while there. The thought of having to take this much precaution for something that is essentially supposed to be fun can be daunting for many.
Still, few are willing to put in the extra effort to plan their trip during the COVID-19 pandemic because they have understandably grown tired of being in the house. Though many experts recommend staying home, they still provide travel guidelines for those who do feel the need to venture out from home.
Preparing for Your Trip
A good number of people have lost income this year because of the effects that COVID-19 had on the economy, so most may be traveling on a budget. With that in mind, it is important to leave room in the budget for necessities that may not have been on the to-get list prior to coronavirus making an entrance.
Aside from your normal toiletries like soap, lotion, and toothpaste, here are some other necessities that you need on your trip because of COVID-19:
- Masks and back-up masks
- Personal baggies to hold your masks
- Disinfectant wipes
- Disinfectant spray
- Hand sanitizer
- Soap and spray bottles
- Face shield or sunglasses
- Extra bottles of water
- Tissues and napkins
Before you even begin shopping for the new bathing suit you have been dreaming of sporting on the beach, it is ideal that you purchase these necessities beforehand. Being cute and fashionable is awesome, but staying healthy and alive is even better.
Keep Things Simple and Take a Road Trip
Now that you know what you absolutely need to take on this trip, you can start planning where you want to go. A luxurious trip overseas may sound beyond thrilling, and ticket prices may just be in your price range, but it honestly is not an ideal vacation destination during COVID-19.
There may be travel restrictions, or you may be required to quarantine yourself once you land in a foreign country. You also raise the risk of contracting the virus and spreading it when you go farther away from home. So taking a simple trip close to home would be best, and limiting contact with people by driving is even better.
When you decide to travel via your vehicle, you have more control over who you come into contact with, and your risk of exposure is diminished. When you use your own car to travel, you don’t have to worry about getting and insuring a rental car.
With rental cars, it is wise to thoroughly clean the vehicle before loading all of your personal belongings in it because you never know who was in it before you. You also have to come into contact with more people when searching, signing, and paying for the rental car.
If you do decide to take a road trip, here are some tips to help you stay safe and plot your route:
- Bring your own drinks and snacks to avoid coming in contact with others.
- Wear a mask when you are near others.
- Keep wipes and hand sanitizers on you at all times.
- Choose an off-peak time to travel. Also, avoid leaving on a Friday because public rest stops will be more crowded.
And don’t forget to make sure that your roadside assistance coverage is up to date in case of any unexpected accidents or car trouble.
How to Stay Safe While Flying
Flying is only recommended if you absolutely have to visit family or if there is some type of an emergency, but if you are flying, try to book a nonstop flight. Doing so eliminates the number of people you come into contact with while traveling.
When you are booked with the airline you are flying with, you should check to see if they have systems in place to allow for social distancing, if they enforce face mask use, or if they have hand sanitizer and handwashing readily available for customers.
After knowing what the airline has in play to combat COVID, you should adapt your own carry-on bags to accommodate what they are not offering. Always travel with your masks, disinfectant spray or wipes, and hand sanitizer, though, and once you are on the plane, you should disinfect your personal area before getting cozy in your seat.
It is advisable to arrive at least two hours before your flight is expected to depart because when you are rushing, you are less likely to take precautions with your actions and more likely to touch more objects before disinfecting.
How to Prep Your Hotel Room Once You Arrive
Cleanliness and routine housekeeping are why you should always stay in the best hotels, especially during COVID-19. Choosing a place that openly notates the measurements they are taking to ensure their hotel is cleaned regularly to fight against COVID is a must.
You should also choose a hotel (or at least a hotel room) that has optimum air circulation. This can include having windows that are able to be opened or having a balcony attached to the room. Seeking a hotel that has high-quality air conditioning and filtration can also provide more assurance that you will not contract the virus during your stay.
Most importantly, though, you should have medical grade disinfectant to clean areas in your hotel room that you will come in contact with. If you drove to your destination, purchasing this disinfectant at your local store is ideal, but if you flew, you might have to purchase this at a store close to your hotel. Thanks to COVID, most stores carry different forms of disinfectant.
What should I do on my vacation?
When traveling for the holidays, you may not want to book outdoor-based activities because the temperature outside may be cold, but it may be best for the sake of remaining healthy. When air is moving freely, the risk of transmission is very low.
That being said, taking walks along the beach, taking a hike through canyons or mountains, and taking a bike throughout the city are very low-risk activities that are recommended. Transmission of viruses happens indoors, so if possible, avoid eating indoors at restaurants if it is crowded or any other indoor public location that is crowded.
If you choose to do an activity that is indoors, it is best to remain six feet away from the people you are not traveling with and always wear your mask when you can.
Imani Francies writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceComparison.com. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media and specializes in various forms of media marketing.