Should someone travel for fun during COVID-19? 5 rules for a responsible road trip

Should someone be traveling for fun right now? That’s the question that comes to my mind as we enter the sixth month of quarantine here in the Bay Area of ​​California. When our local shelter was commissioned, I had just returned from Austin, Texas, and before that, Mexico City. I had previously booked trips to Maui, Punta Mita, Denver, and Portland. As a full-time freelance writer and coffee sensory analyst, I traveled at least once a month for work in 2019, not to mention family vacations. So when the pandemic struck, I immediately felt deprived, just like so many people whose plans were disrupted. But there was so much more at stake, so we all crouched down and started doing our part to flatten the curve. In many ways, taking shelter in place was easy because it was clear what we should and should not be doing. Yes to the grocery store (masked and distanced), yes to food delivery and hiking on the great trails. No to restaurant meals, games and close visits with people outside your immediate family. Then, a few months later, things got confused.

As different cities across U.S. states entered new phases of openness at different times (and with varying degrees of success), the Bay Area tiptoed into reopening territory. Al fresco dining has been allowed again, wine tasting rooms in neighboring counties have welcomed visitors, and hotels have rolled out new disinfection measures to ensure safety. But what is it really reasonable to do with the confidence that your behavior is safe and responsible, both in terms of protecting your own health and that of your community, especially the most vulnerable among us? ?

In the Bay Area, as elsewhere, business suffers greatly and restaurants are among the hardest hit. It seems established that ordering take out is relatively safe and that supporting the local economy by purchasing take out food is a positive contribution, as well as a way to take an evening off in the kitchen. What are the parallels of travel? Can we continue to responsibly enjoy the pleasures of travel while supporting hotels, restaurants and attractions that might not otherwise survive the pandemic? Here are five guidelines for getting out of dodging safely and responsibly.

1. Travel by car only

While all of the anecdotal evidence points to planes being cleaner than they have ever been, it would be a logical error to conclude that they are safe choices for recreational transportation during a global pandemic. This argument could be debated elsewhere, but I’ll skip it right away as false controversy, and will immediately say: Travel by car is the only way to travel safely and responsibly during the COVID-19 pandemic. But not all road trips are created equal. They should be close enough to your home that you don’t have to carry your germs all the way down the freeway to public washrooms on your route. Do you have children who pee a lot? Pack a 16-ounce solo mug for in-car emergencies – or better yet, take the time off the road for a shot in the woods. And remember not to leave any trash.

Pack a cooler with house lunch, cold drinks, and fresh fruit. Pack a dry bag for non-perishable snacks, napkins, utensils, and anything else you might want or need along the way. Pack another bag with all your electronics fully charged (of course). The idea is that you don’t want to stop along the way. If you need gas, remember to have disposable gloves handy, along with your mask and hand sanitizer, and resist the urge to go inside and buy. a Kit Kat.

2. No dining room inside

In many countries, eating indoors is not an option, but even where it is, you should. choose to dine out or have take out rather. Why? Even if a space is large and well ventilated, think about the risks servers face day in and day out in high traffic dining rooms. You can support local restaurants without putting workers at risk. It’s as easy to do on the road as it is at home.

If you do decide to dine at a restaurant, choose to sit outside and determine the facility before committing. Are the tables spaced? Are the waiters wearing masks and practicing social distancing? Do other customers seem to be following the safety guidelines? If you continue, don’t forget to remove your mask when your server passes. It’s a strange thing to remember, but it quickly becomes habitual.

3. Check your hotel’s cleaning protocols

The best hotels and resorts provide full disclosure of their cleaning protocols, and some upgrades to existing systems in place are impressive. I only drive in and around the Bay Area, and have encountered superior attention to detail typically overlooked before COVID. Tahoe Luxury Properties uses ultraviolet light sanitizing wands in all of its rental homes to sanitize soft items that don’t easily get tossed in the washer, such as pillows, sofas, and comforters. The Anderson Valley Madrones provide security by reserving only one group of visitors per accommodation per week, which will likely mean that your accommodation will be empty for some time before you arrive and after you leave, which will allow time for the remaining germs to dissipate. And Bernardus Lodge & Spa has spent $ 50,000 on staff training and PPE to make this hostel-style property, already ready for social distancing due to its many open spaces, even safer for guests – including a dedicated pool attendant, removal of reusable printed material such as menus, newspapers, and magazines, and no housekeeping as long as guests are in the room.

4. Ignore housekeeping

Yeah, I know we go to the hotel for others to clean up after us, but the truth is we don’t really need turndown service or clean towels every day. Choose to have your bedside chocolate delivered to the door and then ask for the specific supplies you need, rather than inviting housekeepers into your space. It will be better for them and for you to provide more distant services.

5. Additional tip

Extra tip, anyway. Because times are hard, and it’s a gift to be able to leave your home right away, to leave safely and responsibly to clear your head, take a new look, change your perspective. People working in the hospitality industry take risks to pay their bills, and supporting the companies that employ them also takes their well-being into account.

You can still enjoy the pleasures of travel if you are vigilant about the safety of yourself and others. Getting from here to there takes a little more planning and time, but the mindfulness that comes with being responsible for your actions will benefit everyone in the long run. And it will also allow you to relax, breathe deeply and have a real vacation.

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