How to Travel During the COVID-19 Crisis
It’s officially summertime! And while summer 2020 might look a lot different than previous years, a change of scenery can be extremely good and refreshing for the soul. Embracing the new realities of COVID-19 means that we will all just approach things differently, and that includes the summer vacation. We’ve compiled our best tips for how to do exactly that so you can safely enjoy your summer break.
Book local-ish hotels during covid
With stay-at-home orders across the world changing by the day and airlines operating at reduced capacity, it may make more sense to keep trips closer to home this summer. Not only does this allow you to stay within a tighter geographic “bubble,” but it also gives you some booking flexibility. Since shorter trips require less coordination, you can be spontaneous with how far in advance you book. Booking with Coast also offers further peace of mind with our continued flexible cancellation policy.
Along those same lines, consider booking a “staycation” nearby or opting for a road trip over a vacation that requires flying. You can reach destinations as far as 650 kilometers, or roughly 400 miles, in approximately six hours, giving you a vast number of choices for extended weekend trips.
Dine with caution
A huge aspect of traveling for most people is eating out at restaurants. While many areas have eased restrictions to allow dining in with physical distancing and sanitation measures in place, others are still operating a takeout-only business. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – if a restaurant you want to visit isn’t open for dine-in, consider picking up food to-go and having a picnic at a nearby park or even in your hotel room.
It’s best to call restaurants directly to find out whether or not they’re open and what their current policies are, including if patrons are required to make reservations or wear masks. Don’t rely on information found online, as things are changing so quickly that websites are often not up to date.
Support small business
Small, local businesses have felt the negative effects of COVID-19 more than many others. When you’re planning your summer trip, consider supporting small businesses whenever possible. Whether it’s booking a tour, ordering take-out from a restaurant, or even just stopping for snacks along the way, your dollars fuel communities when they’re spent at a local, independent business versus a big-box retailer. These businesses may not be easy to identify online ahead of time, but when you arrive at your destination ask the locals and front desk staff about their small business recommendations.
Summertime is synonymous with fresh, warm air and spending time in the great outdoors, and there’s really no better way to safely physically distance yourself. Even if your family isn’t particularly “outdoorsy,” consider spending your summer vacation outside this year.
There are many ways to do this to suit every type of vacationer and budget, ranging from rustic to luxurious, plus you can spend as little or as much time as you want. Consider creating a road trip route around some of Mother Nature’s best offerings. Regional and national parks, nature preserves, lakes, mountains, and beaches are all excellent options where you can keep a safe distance from others and still truly get away.
Insider tip: If possible, take your trip on weekdays and avoid holiday weeks. You’re much less likely to experience large crowds and prices are also often lower during off-peak times. Even if your schedule only allows you to travel during busier periods, you can avoid crowds by visiting attractions in the early morning and just before closing time.
Keep stock of essentials
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, it wouldn’t have been a big deal to arrive at your destination and then go shopping for some essential grocery and personal care items. However, many areas are still experiencing major shortages of these items, so don’t count on being able to buy them once you get there. Instead, bring essential items with you, including bottled water, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, and other cleaning products. Face masks for your entire travel party should also be included, even if they aren’t required where you live. They may be required at places you’re visiting, plus face masks provide an extra layer of protection and should be utilized, especially while you’re traveling.
Set a comfort zone standard – and stick to it
Ultimately, you’ll have to decide what you are and are not comfortable with when it comes to summer travel this year. Is cleanliness or physical distancing the most important thing to you, or is it ensuring that things will actually be open for you to enjoy in your destination? These priorities should be established ahead of time so everyone in your group is on the same page.
Once that’s determined, you can begin researching and booking parts of your trip. Feel free to contact hotels and businesses to ask what their protocols are with regard to sanitation and physical distancing. If you find that these procedures aren’t being followed or you encounter something you’re uncomfortable with, don’t hesitate to bring it to management’s attention. There are no prizes for staying in an uncomfortable or even unsafe situation, so recognize that you can leave at any time and make new plans.
Although summer vacation has an entirely new meaning this year, there are still many ways to safely travel and still have a wonderful time. In addition to the tips mentioned here, check out No Place Like Coast, our official blog, for travel planning resources. Finally, when you feel comfortable enough to book your summer trip, consider one of the nearly 40 Coast Hotels properties located across Canada, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Hawaii. We’ve implemented new safety and cleaning protocols, plus we’re offering travel flexibility for peace of mind. We look forward to hosting you – when you’re ready.