For those of us who love to travel, the last 90 days have been stressful as we try to figure out which trips we are going to have to cancel, and how to receive a refund. Some of us are planning trips for 2021, but we want to go somewhere now. Is there a safe way to travel? Can we go somewhere this summer? There are bargain airfares, but is it safe to take a plane? Here are some options to consider.
Traveling by car can be an option so long as you bring your own food, stop at places that have clean restrooms (Here’s some helpful information –I personally like McDonald’s), wear masks and gloves, and are careful at the gas pump. And there are some incredible road trips to be taken! Try going to places you have heard about but won’t be full of tourists. Maybe it is that small, more remote town like Marfa, Texas, Hot Springs, Arkansas, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or even Highway 143 in Tennessee to see the Appalachian Mountains. Or maybe if you are a history buff, visit Civil War battlefields after watching some excellent history channel shows. Try thinking of places where others may not go. National Parks are open this summer—but based on the desire to be outside, they be crowded, and they may not be the best choice this summer. But think of one that may be out of the way, maybe Big Bend, the Badlands or Mount Rushmore? And don’t forget our beautiful state parks. There are some great options there, too. American Airlines has a list online of all the national parks with discount airfares. There is a lot to explore.
So you’ve decided to take that vacation, great! You then have to think about where you can stay. Renting an RV is a good choice, but make sure to reserve one in advance. Check these websites: www.rvshare.com and www.outdoorsy.com to reserve your own. For those of us that are claustrophobic, this may not be a viable option. Some hotel chains like Hilton have aggressive cleanliness procedures. You can check-in online and have your room key on your phone. Plus, your tv remote is on your phone, and the rooms are left empty for 72 hours between guests. This helps minimize the number of contact surfaces. Unfortunately, food options at the hotels are now limited, so you will either have to order in or venture out. If you have to go out, find a restaurant with outdoor seating. Or do takeout and have a picnic in the park. It won’t be the same as it was but remember it is about the experience and not the amenities.
Many luxury resorts are now opening up, and they are also doing everything to keep you safe. Some to think about: One and Only Palmilla in Cabo San Lucas (I know it is an international flight) have aggressive procedures to ensure maximum cleanliness. Another option: glamping. Look at Paws Up in Montana, where you can stay outside in a tent. It is open, and it is hard to imagine anywhere safer than Montana. Plus, you can bring your dog. The Four Seasons resorts are always a good bet with resorts in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Santa Barbara, California.
Some states still have quarantine restrictions. So be careful when planning your trip. Maine, Hawaii, and Vermont all have mandatory two-week quarantine restrictions for travelers coming in from out of state. And if you are from New York or some other designated states in the northeast, states have additional restrictions—some of which are recommended and some of which are mandatory. And believe it or not, New Mexico requires a two-week quarantine if you fly there. Be careful and make sure you understand the rules. Check out a current list of recommendations and individual state rules. Also, check their recent COVID statistics and hospitalizations. Make sure that wherever you are there is access to a healthcare provider.
This is something each of us has to decide for ourselves. Airlines are trying to implement procedures to ensure that each passenger is safe, but the airport may be crowded, and there is no guarantee that no one will be in that middle seat. Southwest Airlines is one of the few that guarantees that no one will be in the middle seat. Other options to consider are booking a business or first-class seat. Some say the back of the plane is safer—since no one walks past you when getting on. Who knows? Use your wipes. Wear a mask. Consider goggles.
This is the option I have decided this summer. I will be in Michigan for four weeks—enjoying a lake view, cooking my meals, and enjoying Sleeping Bear Dunes Park. I have to fly there and will be taking some risks in doing so. Once I get there everything is outdoors, and the restaurants are opening up with outdoor seating. Read the cancellation policies carefully when booking. Buy insurance that covers the cancellation for COVID. We don’t know what July or August will bring. Talk to the owner or manager. Make sure you understand their cleaning process before you arrive. And make sure you are working with a reputable rental source.
Take the appropriate precautions, but make sure you still find ways to enjoy a fun memory filled adventure this summer.
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