Covered’s Q&A for Summer Travel During COVID-19: What You Need to Know (Part 2)
You’ve decided. It’s high time you get out of the house, revisiting the world beyond your doorstep. And that means it’s time for a summer vacation.
Any other year, you’d probably already know where you’re going. Maybe you’d already have booked all sorts of flights, hotels, and tours. But if you’re like most people, you probably put all that on hold sometime in March or April. Most likely you’re starting from a relatively blank page, asking yourself: What can I do? Where can I go? And what precautions should I take to stay safe while traveling during COVID-19?
Indeed, COVID World is still a strange and unfamiliar place. But — provided you’re not traveling while sick and you’re following applicable city-, state- or country-specific rules— there’s no reason you shouldn’t take a summer vacation. You just need to be smart about it. To help you out: Welcome to Part 2 of our Q&A on summer travel during COVID-19. In this installment, we’ve got specific ideas about where to go, what to do, and how you can stay safe while vacationing during COVID-19.
What Are Good Ideas for Summer Vacations During COVID-19?
These ideas are based on recommendations we’re seeing from trusted news sources nationwide:
- Take a short road trip, or even a day trip. Drive your own car. That way, you stay in control of where you’re going, how long you’re staying, and who you come into contact with. Stick with places that are likely to be less crowded. If you do encounter unexpected crowds, returning to safety is as easy as getting back in the car. (Don’t forget your auto insurance cards!)
- Book a short-term home or cabin rental. The goal: Self-contained lodging without shared facilities, ideally in less populated areas. Many Airbnbs, VRBOs, hotels, and other accommodations are back up and running. Before booking, however, review the property’s policies to ensure accommodations will be properly cleaned and sanitized prior to your stay. Talk to the property owner about any concerns or questions. And don’t forget to review those cancellation policies.
- Try a house swap with someone you know. You still get away to new surroundings. But your risk is limited, given it’s a property owned and maintained by someone you trust. Before you go, however, call your insurance agent or advisor to make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered by your homeowners insurance.
- Rent an RV. It’s self-contained lodging you can move at will! Just make sure you know what you’re doing. If you end up needing rescuing, you’ll end up increasing your risk of COVID-19 exposure.
- Go backcountry camping. If you’re comfortable backcountry camping or have a boondock-ready RV, consider dispersed camping opportunities on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Just do your homework and make sure you follow all BLM and region-specific regulations, especially any fire bans. Backcountry camping opportunities are also available in many state and national parks.
- Book a guided fishing, rafting, or horseback riding excursion for your family. Many tour providers are putting guidelines in place to help make tours safe and comfortable during the age of COVID-19. Again, look for specific guidance from tour providers, and ask plenty of questions.
Is There Anything I Absolutely SHOULDN’T Do on My Summer Vacation?
Don’t take a cruise. Do we really need to explain this one after all the news coverage of what happened on the Diamond Princess and other unfortunate cruise ship petri dishes? As of publication the CDC’s “No Sail Order” is still in effect, suspending cruise ship operations from US ports of call until further notice, as well as the CDC’s guidance that Americans defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.
What Precautions Should I Take to Avoid Exposure to COVID-19 While Traveling?
First, don’t forget those basics we’ve all learned by heart during COVID-19. You’ve got frequent 20-second hand washing, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, no face touching, six-foot social distancing (get used to this one, as some Harvard researchers are saying that social distancing may be needed through 2022 to prevent COVID-19 from surging), and wearing cloth face masks in public (it’ll just make for more memorable vacation photos, right?). Beyond that, be smart about where you’re going — and where you’re putting those amazingly clean hands:
- Have a backup plan. If your planned destination is too crowded or unexpectedly closed, where else can you go? Make a list of options before you set out.
- Bring extra food and water. Yes, it’ll feel weird to pack along that box of canned goods and other non-perishables for your summer road trip. Do it anyway, so you’re covered no matter what.
- Be mindful of where you can find medical help. If you’ll be in remote areas, access may be reduced or unavailable. Note, too, that small-town medical facilities can easily be overwhelmed.
- If possible, for bathroom breaks, use state-run rest stops instead of gas stations. They’re likely to observe stricter and more frequent cleaning protocols.
- Wear disposable gloves when pumping gas. Throw them away after use. And sanitize!
- Be mindful of high-touch areas in gas stations. Sure, you earned that Gatorade. But dozens of folks have touched that same cooler door handle. Gotta love that hand sanitizer. (Seriously, you gotta.)
- If you’re staying at a rental, personally disinfect all high-touch surfaces. This guidance, too, comes straight from the CDC. Here’s how to do it properly.
- Disinfect your phone frequently. When you travel, it’s likely to get dirtier and germier than usual. And its usual is already shockingly dirty.
So I’m Allowed to Have Fun Again, if I’m Being Smart About It?
YES! So get on it already. Just don’t forget your mask, hand sanitizer, water, and non-perishables…
Want to better understand why we’re recommending these travel ideas and precautions? Check out Part 1 of our Q&A on summer travel during COVID-19, which covers the risks, considerations, and best practices of traveling safely this summer.
Bonus Insurance Tip: If you’re in a car accident, always check for injuries first and move to a safe place. Call the police to report the accident, and follow their instructions. If another driver was involved, exchange insurance information. Your phone’s camera is a great way to capture each other’s drivers licenses and insurance card information. Then, as soon as you’re able, call your insurance carrier or file a claim online. Out of state? No problem. Follow the same steps!
Here at Covered, we want to help keep you safe every way we can. Why not take two minutes to learn if you can fine-tune your homeowners or auto insurance coverage? Our fast, easy quoting tool helps you make sure you’ve got the right coverage at the best price.