If you are planning to take a summer vacation this year, expect your to-do list to expand exponentially. With so many safety concerns, the smart traveler needs to self-educate before hitting the road.
It is likely that the traveler will be hitting the road, and not the sky. The summer travel forecast calls for a large bump in local and regional travel, with most trips taking place within easy driving distance of home.
It's important to remember that summer travel is supposed to be about fun. If you think you are going to be stressed out on the road, maybe it's best to "vacation" at home. For those who do travel, it is certainly important to stay vigilant, but try not to be paranoid.
Here's a tip list to help you travel safer.
1. Check state and local guidelines for the place you plan to visit. Local restrictions and openings are likely to vary widely this summer.
2. When selecting a destination, look to nature and wide open spaces. Avoid destinations likely to sport large crowds.
3. If you are driving, consider the stops you will have to make along the way. Gas stations, roadside restaurants and bathrooms could pose risks. Bring disposable gloves for pumping gas; bring disinfectant wipes for the bathroom; and consider bringing your own food and drink so you don't have to dine out along the way.
4. If your road trip involves an overnight stay before you get to your destination, try to make the reservation in advance. After all, you want to be sure you choose a hotel that has established hygiene protocols, which will likely be listed on the property or brand website.
5. Whether staying at a hotel or a vacation rental, consider the high-tech areas and wipe them down with the disinfectant wipes you brought along (or a portable sanitizing UV wand).
Think about switches and electronic controls, including the thermostat. Remote controls, doorknobs, in-room safes, irons and coffeemakers can all harbor microbes. Also wipe down the handle to the minibar and high-touch spots around the bathroom.
6. If you are only staying for a couple of nights, waive the housekeeping.
7. If you are flying, wear a mask, follow all recommended safety protocols and bring along hand sanitizer. This blog post outlines some areas on the plane to be wary of.
8. At the airport, be aware of your surroundings. Don't bury your head in your cell phone, especially when walking around. Situational awareness will be particularly important this summer.
9. Wash your hands frequently, bring a few masks (you should wash between wearing) and social distance.
10. Remember to chill, have fun and most importantly, don't be a....