As summer revs up, many families who've planned vacations and long-anticipated reunions are left wondering whether it's safe to travel during the coronavirus outbreak. Most states have reopened, giving residents a semblance of normalcy.
Here are some ways to take a safe vacation during COVID-19 from the best modes of transportation to tips to plan safe gatherings.
Check travel restrictions and quarantine rules for your desired destination. Some states require visitors to stay inside for two weeks upon arrival.
Check the number of cases and hospitalizations rates in the area. Look for a steady decline over at least two weeks.
If you're visiting loved ones, conduct your own risk assessment. Ask yourself: Is anyone in your group or the one you're visiting high risk? Has anyone been going out in large groups?
Know the rules in the state and town where you live. If you'll need to quarantine when you return, can you miss work or work remotely?
Here are some ways to lower your risk — and your family's — if you travel by plane.
Check airline policies beforehand. Choose an airline with precautionary measures you're comfortable with.
Try to book seats without other people nearby. Many airlines are blocking middle seats to keep more distance between passengers and reduce COVID-19 spread.
Regardless of the airline's policies, bring disinfectant wipes with you, and clean your area carefully before sitting down. If your seat is made of a nonporous material (basically anything but fabric), wipe it down, along with armrests and tray tables.
Wear your mask the entire flight, except for when eating or drinking.
Don't wait in line for the restroom. When you use the restroom, bring a paper towel or disposable wipe to touch common surfaces. Then, sanitize your hands again when you return to your seat.
Here are some ways to lower your risk — and your family's — if you take a roadtrip.
Pack an adequate amount of hand sanitizer, masks, disinfectant wipes and paper towels.
In rest stops, touch as little as possible. For things you must touch, like door handles and faucets, use a paper towel and throw it out before you get back in your car.
Always wear a mask at gas stations and rest stops.
When you leave your car, place hand sanitizer in your seat so you remember to clean your hands when you get back in.
Try to avoid unnecessary stops. Every 2-3 hours is recommended.
Clean the inside of your car every 1-2 hours. Don't forget about phones and tablets.
Here are some ways to lower your risk — and your family's — when going to the beach.
Look up local guidelines for outdoor activities, and follow them.
Stay at least 6 feet from people outside your household on the shore and in the water.
Avoid or minimize time in areas where people gather, like parking lots and public restrooms.
Skip the boardwalk, if it's crowded. Same goes for food vendors, even if they're outdoors.
Bring a mask with you, and wear it indoors or in crowded outdoor spaces.
Bring hand sanitizer with you, and use it any time you touch a shared surface.
If you rent equipment, disinfect it and let it dry before using it.
Don't forget sun safety.
The good news is you can travel this summer, even if you want to stay within U.S. borders, as there are still many restrictions on international travel — and if you follow basic precautions. The best thing you can do is work with a professional travel agent who can help make your vacation a breeze.