10 Tips For Traveling in the US During the Pandemic
I am not a psychic, nor do I have a crystal ball. However, I can bet that you are losing your mind if you have not traveled yet. When should I start to travel? When is it safe to travel?Should I be traveling? These are the questions that ran through my mind and are running through the mind of many of my clients.
As many of you know, I have Lupus so that places me at high risk, so I really wanted to make the best decision possible for my health and my family. If you don't feel as if you are ready to travel, then don't. Trust your gut and travel when you feel comfortable. This may be our new norm, so this article is for the people that may be on the fence, seeking answers, or have a desire to travel domestically.
My husband and I are avid travelers, and the pandemic forced us to cancel a few trips this year. So, 4 months into the pandemic (July 2020) we went on a road trip to Tampa, Florida and 5 months into the pandemic we went on a road trip to Marco Island, Florida. My husband and I had a great time and we brought back some tips for you to have an amazing vacation and feel safe at the same time.
1. Travel During The Week - Most people travel over the weekend because that is the time that they can get away from work or school. However, if your schedule is flexible, midweek traveling helps allows you to encounter less people. From Tuesday to Thursday, there are a significantly lower amount of people at most hotels. Therefore, social distancing can be practiced seamlessly at the pool, beach, and restaurants. If your only option is to travel on the weekend, (don't worry) you can still have a safe trip.
2. Sanitize Your Room - I recommend that you use Lysol or another cleaning agent to wipe down your hotel room. I'm sure that the hotel cleaned the room, but it takes less than 5 minutes to do a quick spray around the room. On my last vacation, I wiped down the door handles, remote control, and other surfaces in the room when I arrived. I felt the freedom to touch everything in the room for the rest of my stay.
3. Opt Out Of Housekeeping - I am a neat freak, so I usually ask for the housekeepers to come 1-2 times a day. I love coming back to a room that has been straightened up, and I don't mind little gifts on my bed. However, during the pandemic, every time someone enters your room there is a risk of exposure. Some hotels are not offering daily housekeeping services and others are allowing the guests to decide. We stayed at a Marriott hotel recently and they gave us extra reward points if we declined daily housekeeping. It's an adjustment because so many of us change our towels and washcloths daily or make a mess in our room. However, I think that avoiding this perk is a smart move.
4. Bring Your Own Straws (BYOS) or Wipe Your Glass - Okay, I know this sounds excessive. However, think about it. Most hotels and restaurants do not provide paper straws because they want to protect the environment. So, how does your straw get placed into your glass? BY HAND. Yes! That's right. If the servers hands are clean, there is no problem. However, straws and silverware can be a host for germs. This rule should be applied in every restaurant. If you cannot bring your own straw or if you're drinking a beverage that should not have a straw then you should wipe down your glass with a disinfectant wipe before you place your mouth on the glass.
5. Bring Your Own Wipes to Clean Your Utensils -
As I stated before, in the restaurants at the hotel or around the hotel the utensils are usually wrapped in a cloth napkin. However, to protect yourself completely, you should use a disinfectant wipe to slide across your utensils. If you're eating at a more casual establishment, then they may have sealed plastic utensils or provide a utensil dispenser that provides one utensil at a time. If you're as anal as me, you can also carry plastic utensils in your purse. Some may call it shameful, but I call it being prepared.
6. Always Bring Hand Sanitizers - You should have travel size hand sanitizer in your pocket or purse at all times. If you open a door, check-in at the front desk, or have any contact...you should have the hand sanitizer easily accessible.
7. Elevator Protocol - It is impossible to stay 6 feet away from other people in an elevator. So, you should only be in the elevator with the people that you came with in your party. Waiting a few extra minutes for the next elevator is a small inconvenience, but it will help you to stay safe. The hotel that we stayed at recently had hand sanitizer in the elevator so that we could use it after we selected our floor. If hand sanitizer is not provided then you can use your own hand sanitizer after you press the designated floor. Worse case scenario, you can use your knee or elbow to touch the elevator buttons.
8. Valet Precautions - Using a valet adds more points of contact with other people. So, please remember to wipe your steering wheel, seat belt, door handle, and panel with a disinfectant. You may want to opt out of the valet services and choose to self park.
9. Wear A Mask - Please remember to wear a mask when you are walking through the halls of the hotel or in the elevator. Masks are typically not worn outside (by the pool or beach) or in the restaurants, but each hotel may have different rules.
10. Use A Travel Agent - The most important rule on this list is to use a travel agent when you plan your next trip. A professional travel agent knows which hotels are operating at the same standards, following protocols, and even safe for our clients. As a travel agent, I share information and experiences with other travel agents so I can guide you so that you can have an even better vacation than you could ever imagine. Nobody wants to be surprised on a vacation, especially during a pandemic. This list may seem tedious, but it is very helpful during a pandemic. Once you incorporate this list into your routine, it will seems so natural. If you have questions about the list or you would like me to plan your next vacation, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned for my international travel list.