As someone, who travels on the regular, the lockdown and subsequent halt to all activities was an adjustment. First and foremost, I’m thankful we (Ryan and myself) are healthy and have our jobs, but it was a bummer to cancel so many plans. I’ve been back at work flying for a month now, getting back into the swing of things, and learning the “new normal” of COVID traveling. We also just took a weekend road trip to Asheville, which was fun but interesting to navigate in this new world of restrictions.
While I am by no means an expert, I do have a few tips for those who want to travel safely during this time.
If you are flying:
- Do your research on the airline’s COVID guidelines, every airline is handling it different. Don’t be surprised when some don’t block off middle seats, or you have a full plane. Airlines are struggling to stay afloat, so many are selling as many seats as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable with a full flight, I’d recommend driving to avoid that stressor.
- Most airlines are requiring masks, but cannot force their passengers to keep them on properly once on the plane. Flights attendants can only educate towards compliance.
- Many airlines have temporarily discontinued their snack and beverage service, so be prepared with your own snacks and drinks. Also be aware that many airports still have their restaurants closed, so bringing some snacks from home would be wise.
- Be aware that those great flight deals are cheap and appealing, but still have the potential to cancel if another outbreak starts shutting more places down. Check the airline’s current cancelation policy to ensure you don’t lose your money (Thankfully, many airlines have a more lax cancellation policy currently, but you never know).
If you are driving:
- This seems to be the less stressful option during the pandemic, since you can drive mask free and you don’t have the potential threat of your flight being canceled.
- I recommend bringing your own food and drinks for the car ride, to lessen time spent in gas stations or fast food drive thrus. With many restaurants still closed inside, the lines are longer to get food.
- If you are wary of gas station bathroom cleanliness, I suggest stopping by a grocery store if it’s convenient to the highway. They are always cleaner in my opinion.
When you are arrive at your destination:
- Make sure you have researched your destination’s current restrictions on restaurants and activities. Each state and city’s policy is always changing, so you don’t want to get all the way there and not be able to enjoy anything.
- If you want a sit-down dining experience, it’s easier to find this option with restaurants with large outdoor dining venues. Seating is limited at most restaurants that currently allow sit-down dining, so you’ll want to research ahead of time on reservations and space capacity.
- Outdoor activities are usually the best option for exploring a new place currently. Many parks are open to the public, and its easier to spread out.
- Bring extra masks! Masks get sweaty, dirty or misplaced, and most places won’t allow you in without one.
- Research your accommodation’s cleaning policy, especially for Airbnb’s. To be extra curious you could even bring your own pillow and towels on a road trip.
- When in doubt on whether something is open, call. Google is not 100% accurate on hours of operation during COVID, so ensure it’s open before wasting your time getting there.
This list of tips is by no means comprehensive, just my insight on traveling at this time. I recommend researching more before your travels, so you are as informed as possible. Have fun and travel safe!