Getaway Compass

Tips for Planning a Trip During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Kings Canyon National Park

It is a risk to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, but if are inclined to do so there are certain things you can do to travel safer. There are a lot of things to consider if you plan to travel during this time, including the destination, form of transportation, accommodation, how far in advance to book, and how to stay safe at your destination. From my experience, here are some of the tips I recommend to make your trip during the Coronavirus pandemic safer. Of course staying home would be the safest option, but if you do plan to travel make sure that you are careful, wear a mask, and consider the below tips.

Do a Road Trip Instead of Flying

Monument Valley Road Trip

If you want to travel more safely during the Coronavirus pandemic, skip any locations you would need to fly to. I recommend looking for a destination that is driving distance to reduce the risk of being close to people for a long time on the airplane. Road trips are a safer trip option during Coronavirus if you are traveling with people from your household. Your road trip could even be a day trip so you don’t have to add risk by staying somewhere overnight. 

I don’t recommend planning an international trip at this time, as many countries aren’t allowing people from certain countries to enter, and it is unclear when restrictions will be lifted. Traveling internationally also poses a higher risk for issues since the situation is constantly changing and the country can close its borders or impose a quarantine while you are on the flight there. Additionally, not all travel insurance will cover COVID-19.

Choose a Less Crowded Destination

View from Bell Rock, Sedona

Although cities are starting to open up restaurants, bars, and shops, they are more crowded which makes them less safe options. Many events and markets that cities usually have are now canceled, which makes these locations less exciting to travel to. Instead, look into traveling to a nature location which will allow you to more easily socially distance than in a city. A more rural, nature location will also have more activities where you can social distance such as hiking, swimming, kayaking, etc. Remember that even if you are outside you should be careful and wear a mask when you can’t maintain distance, such as narrow stairs to go down to a beach. If you plan a beach vacation, look for less crowded beaches, or walk further along the beach to find a less crowded spots. Typically the less crowded beaches are the hardest to get to, such as Blacks Beach in San Diego and Point Dume State Beach in Malibu.

Research Restrictions and Rules at Your Destination

Before you book your trip make sure you fully understand the restrictions and rules at your destination. Many states are requiring a 14-day quarantine for travelers from certain states. Make sure you are following the local rules and restrictions and if you are coming from a state that requires you to quarantine, consider traveling somewhere else if you will be unable to adhere to the rules.

If you decide to visit a national park, make sure to research what is open at the park and how many people are allowed into the park. National Parks can get crowded, so if you decide to visit a National Park look for a less popular one or research hikes that are less crowded. Consider these 5 underrated National Parks in the United States.

Book Your Trip Last Minute

The situation is rapidly changing, with restrictions being put in place, restrictions being removed, cases quickly increasing in certain locations, and more. Due to this it is best to not book your trip too far in advance. It would be unfortunate if you booked an Airbnb in Los Angeles and then when it is too late to cancel you find out all beaches are closed. It is hard to restrain yourself from purchasing a $300 roundtrip nonstop flight to Europe, but it is hard to know when the situation will get better and when Americans will be allowed in certain countries in Europe. Those deals will come again in the future (maybe not as cheap) but it isn’t worth booking a trip and going through the trouble of trying to cancel. If you do book a trip far in advance, make sure to analyze the cancelation policy closely. 

The more last minute you book your trip, the more you will know about the situation at your destination such as number of cases, restrictions, etc.

Book an Airbnb with Certain Features

Airbnb Joshua Tree Outside

I personally feel safer staying at an Airbnb over a large chain hotel for many reasons. First, you are less likely to interact with people than at a hotel where you would pass people in the hallway, check-in, etc. For an Airbnb you can check reviews for the specific Airbnb to know how clean the place is versus a hotel which has many different rooms and the reviews aren’t necessarily for the room that you booked. Also, you can find many Airbnbs where you will get a private space which is often larger than a hotel room, and can have a kitchen/kitchenette. Below are the features I recommend looking for when booking an Airbnb as you plan your trip during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Separate Entrance

Make sure you book a place with a private entrance so you don’t have to be in an indoor location next to other people that you are not traveling with.

Self Check-in

Look for an Airbnb that has self check-in with a keypad or lockbox to prevent having to interact with people that are not from your household.

Kitchen / Kitchenette

Look for a place with a kitchen/kitchenette so you have the option of cooking your own food. Visit the grocery store when you get to your destination and purchase food for your time there so you don’t have to eat at restaurants. If you would prefer food from a restaurant, opt for take out instead of dining at the restaurant to be safer.

Moderate / Flexible Cancelation Policy

Cancelation policies vary by Airbnb, so you want to make sure you read and understand the cancelation policy before booking. Look for a place with a flexible or moderate cancelation policy, such as allowing you to cancel at least up to 5 days in advance.

Pack Cleaning Products and Protective Gear

Bring cleaning products with you to wipe down high touch areas, counters, etc in the Airbnb. Make sure to bring hand sanitizer and multiple masks for your trip. You can find cloth masks on Etsy for good prices that are washable. Bring gloves to protect yourself when you fill up gas. 

Map Out Your Road Trip Stops Ahead of Time

There are certain areas in the US that have a higher percentage of cases per the population. Map out your stops ahead of time to try to avoid the higher risk areas. Consider using the bathroom at a grocery store instead of a gas station, as gas stations can see many visitors from many different areas, versus grocery stores which are more likely to be local people. Also, grocery store bathrooms are typically less busy than gas station bathrooms.

Try to minimize stops on your road trip, and when you do stop make sure to wear a mask and wash your hands well. When you return to the car also use hand sanitizer.

At Your Destination: Be Careful, Wear a Mask and Social Distance!

White Sands National Monument New Mexico

Most importantly if you do decide to travel during the Coronavirus pandemic, make sure to continue social distancing and wear a mask when you are indoors or outdoors and cannot maintain enough distance from people. Try to refrain from crowded areas, opt for take out versus restaurant dining, and find activities where you can be outside and social distance. These tips are ways to more safely travel during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Trip Recommendations During Coronavirus

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