Recently we returned from our first trip post quarantine. However, as the numbers continue to spike, a vacation may not be in your near future but it’s important to remember that traveling will look very different when compared to the pre-Covid days. Now is great time to plan and prepare for the future, which is why I am sharing my experience and the tips I found helpful along the way.
Even before we heard about the growing concerns in Florida, I was prepping for this trip to ensure optimal travel safety. I began collecting hand sanitizers, wipes, and masks to ensure we had plenty for our five-day stay. My husband called the hotel to discuss their Covid-19 policies as well. The hotel assured us they were running at 50 percent capacity and along with social distancing, minimal staff contact, masks for all employees, and added sanitary practices that we would be safe.
TIP: If you are thinking about traveling, definitely make the call to the hotel and find out how they are handling things. If anything, it will make you feel like you are taking the proper steps before making the big decision to travel anywhere during this time.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by fully masked hotel staff, proper social distancing signage, and hand sanitizer stations everywhere. My son and the other two children with our group were going crazy in the lobby, but we were all fully masked up. I am not Dr. Fauci, and I do not represent the CDC, but in Pinnelas County, where we had traveled, masks are required in all buildings, so the hotel was no different, and we happily obliged.
TIP: Do research on the area you are traveling to and find out what the protocols are at that time.
Additionally, as the kids went nuts, I swear a hotel staff member followed them around, wiping down every surface they touched. It was nice to see the extra steps the moment we walked in. Once we arrived at the elevator, there was a sign instructing us to take one car per group, no matter how small. However, on multiple occasions, other parties walked in with our group. At one point, a woman with no mask walked on the elevator with my friend. My friend, rather than asking her not to, promptly walked off.
TIP: Know the rules, and if you want to ask someone not to come on, do it. If you feel comfortable with it, that’s ok too. But know your options when you travel to different places.
Traveling to the Pool/Beach:
With any beach vacay, our crew couldn’t wait to get out in the sun. What we didn’t realize is that the 50 percent occupancy we were promised wasn’t reflected in the crowd at the pool. We were somewhat shocked by how crowded it appeared. We braved it, and it turned out fine, ebbing, and flowing with meals and naptimes. We felt like we were able to keep our distance, sticking close to our group and far enough away from others. (Here is a helpful article in the New York Times discussing pools.) However, what we didn’t expect was the lack of social distance “respect” from others at the hotel. On multiple occasions, we had parents come up to us to chat (somewhat closely) and ask if their kids could play with ours. We politely declined, and while the conversation was a bit awkward, it was worth it to keep our families safe.
TIP: Bottom line, don’t be afraid to risk being a bit rude when it comes to safety. If you are going to go on vacation during all of this, you don’t have to throw the social distancing out the window.
After a busy day at the pool, we thought we would test the waters of eating out. We found an outdoor table at the hotel restaurant and felt very comfortable eating outside and not in the restaurant. The beauty of a warmer climate was definitely the outdoor dining options. TIP: Do some research and find out where you can eat outside to make your family feel more comfortable when you travel. Additionally, the following two nights, rather than braving the crowds, we used UberEats for two fabulous meals in the room. The kids had a movie night, and the parents had some fantastic Thai food and a great bottle of wine in our PJs. Everybody wins! We packed an entire bag with snacks, bread, peanut butter, and mac and cheese as well, so it was easy for us to stay in for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
TIP: I would consider booking a room with a small kitchenette. This was a game-changer for us and ended up making us all feel a bit more comfortable.
All in all, the trip was great. I understand traveling during this time isn’t for everyone but hopefully it will be in the future! Remember that testing seems to be readily available in Indiana now so upon returning, it could be worthwhile for you to get tested for Covid-19 ruling out any doubts. The bottom line, I hope these tips are helpful if you are thinking about braving the roads or friendly skies for a getaway in the near future. Just remember, above all else, be smart, stay safe, and have fun.