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Vacation Travel Tips in the Time of COVID-19

Taking a holiday vacay? Are you a mountain cabin, river cottage or beach house kind of traveler? While this COVID-19-induced quarantine period has made travel more difficult, it certainly isn’t impossible.

Whether you're preparing for a week away or a day trip, packing and planning might look a little different this year. We've compiled the science to help you figure out what you shouldn't leave home without this summer. If you follow these tips, your trip can still be memorable and fun without contributing to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Be sure to pack: masks

  • Have at least three for each person (no sharing).
  • Wear them whenever you’re in public areas.
  • The mask should always cover both your nose and mouth.
  • Make sure each mask fits tightly and comfortably so you can wear it for long periods, and don’t touch the mask throughout the day.
  • If your mask gets damp (from sweat or your breath), change it.
  • Clean each mask daily. If you will not have access to a washing machine, take some laundry detergent in a small bottle and wash masks thoroughly in the sink with hot water. If you aren’t planning to wash masks on the trip, take a separate bag to hold all dirty masks each day so they don’t contaminate items in your suitcase and you can wash them when you return home.


Be sure to pack: water and snacks/meals

  • Water fountains may be closed to reduce transmission. Pack more water bottles than usual, in case you can't refill.
  • Some places might not be offering their full menu, have altered hours and/or have longer waits so taking your own food guarantees you will have something you want to eat when you need to eat. Plus, minimizing the stops at multiple eateries, coffee shops or convenience stores reduces exposure to crowds.

Be sure to pack: cones and a measuring tape

  • It may sound extreme, but marking off an appropriately socially distanced area at the beach or park with a physical barrier is a great way to provide visual boundaries, especially for children. It also helps other vacationers see and respect your bubble.

Be sure to pack: sun protection

  • It’s good practice to wear sunscreen whenever you will be in the sun for extended periods of time, but with people spending even longer periods outside during the summer months to space out and minimize exposure, but sure take and use appropriate sun protection, such as hats and sunscreen.

Be sure to pack: sanitizer

  • You may not be able to access bathrooms to wash with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds (which is ideal to kill the virus), so be sure to have sanitizer available to clean your hands after you touch public surfaces and before you eat.
  • Stock up on hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, and use them frequently, as you move from activity to activity, and place to place, on the trip.


Be sure to pack: a backup plan

  • Do some research before you go to determine which places you plan to visit have changed their policies, but also be flexible with your schedule.
  • Even with great planning, something might be too crowded to visit, or might get overly crowded while you’re there, necessitating that you have to leave earlier than planned.
  • Before you leave for vacation, talk with family members and/or travel buddies about the potential for last-minute changes, and acceptable safety protocols so decisions to leave or alter plans can be made quickly.

Be sure to pack: patience

  • Situations, regulations and operations are constantly changing. Be respectful and understanding of individual business policies, and patient when something may take longer than before because of new safety measures.

Be sure to pack: your best health

  • A simple headache or cough is a warning sign that all is not right. Even mild cases can transmit to others, or can get worse unexpectedly.
  • Know the COVID symptoms. If you exhibit any of them, or if you aren’t feeling well in any way, stay home.

There you have it! With some extra planning, based on the best science information available, you can still get away from the house for a bit on an pleasant summer vacation or holiday trip.


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