With the current pandemic, travel might be the last thing on your mind. For us, it’s been at the forefront for the last six months. Travel is not only something we enjoy, it is what tour operators depend on, and something many businesses and destinations need to survive. So while it may not be the right time to travel for everyone, we have traveled to show people how to safely do so. We find destinations that offer plenty of opportunities for social distancing. Here are some of the things I have learned along the way that will help keep you and your family healthy when traveling.
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5 Ways to Stay Healthy When You Travel
Even before the pandemic, we were always aware of germs in the world. Whether we we traveling by car or plane, we always had a game plane to maneuver our family safely to and from our destination. We always carried a stash of hand wipes and sanitizer, kleenexes, packs of Emergen-C. These days we’ve added masks to our travel essentials, but we continue to do a lot of things as we did before.
1. Have a travel plan
Before you begin to plan a trip, you need to ask yourself some questions and do the research. Where is the destination? Is COVID a major concern for the communities you will be visiting (increased number of cases and/or hospitalizations)? I don’t think this should prevent you a planning a trip, but it should make you think twice about what will be open and what services will be available.
If you know someone who is local to the community you plan to visit, call them. Find out what precautions they are taking, what mandates might be in place, and what’s open. Another place to find this information can be the local tourism board. They are usually good about keeping their COVID information up to date. Once you have the answers to these questions you can begin planning.
If you are driving, you should map out a route and find bathrooms along the way (especially if traveling with young children). Call the hotels and see if they are doing anything different during the pandemic. This could be anything from no breakfast service to no pool or gym access. Each property is different.
2. Find a destination with plenty of outdoor space
When choosing a destination for your next trip, try and find a destination that allows you to keep away from crowds. Popular ideas are national parks, state parks, or taking a road trip to a vacation rental.
Many of these destinations offer outdoor activities, allowing for social distancing on vacation. We have always found hiking and biking as a family to be great bonding time. If you are planning a lake vacation or mountain getaway, there can be opportunities for swimming, zip lining, and more.
3. Bring your own supplies
Packing these days looks a little different, especially with the amount of cleaning supplies you should bring. Our travel bag now includes antibacterial wipes for cleaning just about every surface (including bathrooms on the road and gas station handles). We also bring hand sanitizer, our masks, and our own food if we can.
The first time we went to a vacation rental this summer we brought the food we needed to cook meals on vacation, paper towels, Lysol, our own pillows and blankets, reusable water bottles, and cleaning supplies (for wiping handles and light switches).
4. Consider patio dining, picnics, or ordering in
If you are not comfortable eating in restaurants, consider finding a destination with plenty of opportunities for outside dining. We found Vail, Colorado did an excellent job with mask wearing and social distancing when dining. Places with access to local parks, are another good idea, as you can pack a picnic and enjoy dining al fresco.
If you still don’t want to leave your accommodation, consider using a food delivery service like Door Dash. They bring the food to you, so you don’t have to be around other diners.
5. Plan for some downtime when you get home
After traveling, it isn’t a bad idea to lay low for awhile to make sure you weren’t exposed while traveling. Be sure to continue with 6 feet of social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing hands constantly. If you feel ill, be sure to see a doctor.