With COVID-19 vaccination rates across the country on the rise, travel is something that many Americans can finally look forward to again. Popular domestic destinations such as New York City and San Diego are once more gearing up to welcome tourists again this summer. What’s more, even Europe will soon open up for travel, meaning now’s the perfect time to plan for that trip to Rome or Paris you’ve been putting off for years.
While this is great news, we’re sure you have plenty of questions about whether it’s safe to travel and what safety measures to follow. Furthermore, worrying about whether you’re complying with local guidelines and protocol can take away all the fun from traveling. That’s why we’ve made this guide to help you stay COVID-safe, while still enjoying your summer holidays!
Make Sure You’re Fully Vaccinated
We recommend ensuring you’re fully vaccinated, whether you plan to travel domestically or internationally. According to CDC guidelines, you’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you’ve received the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or the first dose of a single-dose vaccine. This will help protect not just you but also your fellow travelers. In addition, fully vaccinated people don’t have to self-quarantine or get tested.
Check Guidelines at Home and Your Destination
Once you’ve decided your destination, check the guidelines for traveling both at home and at your destination. This applies whether you plan on traveling internationally or domestically. Depending on where you’re going, you may have to get tested before and after your trip and self-quarantine. It’s important to plan this ahead of time, especially if you plan to travel abroad. If you plan on traveling within the US, it’s a good idea to check ahead to make sure the city is open to vacationers.
While looking up guidelines, you should also research the protocols that hotels and other forms of accommodation (such as an Airbnb or even hostels) are required to follow. Call ahead of time to verify this with the staff and look up their reviews online to ensure they actually follow these protocols. The last thing you want to do is try to find lodging in a strange city because the staff was too lax about safety guidelines.
Maintain COVID-Safe Behavior
Getting fully vaccinated is the first step to ensuring you can travel safely without catching the COVID-19 virus or passing it on to others. If you’re fully vaccinated, we urge you to still wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and regularly wash your hands. By regularly following these protocols, you can help minimize your risk of exposure to coronavirus and ensure you maintain your healthy lungs and body during your trip.
In addition, you should also bring your own food and beverages, where possible, so you don’t have to take off your mask. You could even order room service instead of visiting restaurants. We also recommend packing extra masks and filters, wipes, and sanitizers.
It’s Okay to Be Anxious!
It’s perfectly natural to feel anxious when traveling and trying to have a good time. You might even feel a little odd being around other tourists after a year of social distancing and mask-wearing. It might take some practice trying to let yourself have fun with the pandemic in the back of your mind, but you can still relax and unwind.
Try and think of your anxiety as an alarm bell reminding you to constantly maintain social distancing and to wear a mask. If you’re especially anxious, pick destinations that are outdoors and in the open.
Get Smart About How You Travel
Prepare an itinerary of all the places you’d like to visit over the course of your trip in advance. You might think this takes away all the spontaneity of traveling, but by planning ahead of time, you can keep yourself safe from the virus. If you plan to check out popular tourist destinations, for example, try going outside of peak hours when you’ll be around fewer people. You can find this out by visiting that destination on Google Maps, which will show you when it sees the most footfall.
You can also check out the reviews to see just how well they follow COVID-19 protocols. This is especially important if you’re planning on dining in at a restaurant. Finally, you might want to limit alcohol intake at bars and pubs outdoors to limit exposure and so that you have the wherewithal to follow social distancing.
If you’ve been feeling antsy about getting back into traveling, you’re in good (socially distanced) company. By adhering to the local guidelines, and by following these five tips, you can make the most of your summer travels — no matter where you decide to go!