Safer Holiday Travel
If you’ve been thinking about taking a vacation or booking a weekend getaway this holiday season, here are some destination ideas and tips that can help keep you safe while you’re away from home.
From airlines and hotel chains to neighborhood cafes and museums of all sizes, these are difficult times for the travel industry. The past several months have also been tough on those of us who love to travel. Many people have had to cancel trips to places like Europe and Canada because of travel restrictions. Others fearful of contracting COVID-19 have abandoned their vacation plans or decided not to bother making any.
While there is no way to guarantee travel that is 100% safe, there are things you can do to make it safer. And while you might have to postpone that trip to Italy you’ve been planning, this is a great time to explore destinations within driving distance that you might not have considered visiting.
Research Your Destination
Before you commit to a destination in another state, be sure to check that state’s official website for travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. For example, some New England states, such as Maine at the time of this writing, have travel restrictions in place for people from Massachusetts, but not for those from New Hampshire. Vermont’s travel restrictions vary, depending on the positive COVID-19 test rate in the county, rather than the state, where you live.
It’s also a good idea to look at the positive COVID-19 test rate for any place you plan to go. Detailed information for all U.S. states can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, cdc.gov.
Staying in a Hotel
Before you book a hotel room, check the property’s website to examine their cleaning procedures and what measures they’re taking to ensure guest safety. Many hotels have enacted rigorous cleaning protocols and have committed to keeping rooms empty for a day or two between guests. Social distancing measures, such as restricting the number of people who can ride in elevators, and requiring guests to book appointments to use amenities like the pool or gym have become commonplace.
Guests are required to wear masks at most hotels when they aren’t in their rooms. Daily housekeeping has been eliminated at many properties as well. Instead, guests are asked to leave dirty towels and trash containers inside the room by the door so they can be easily and safely replaced.
Consider a Vacation Rental
As an alternative to staying in a hotel, where contact with other travelers is unavoidable, many people are opting for private vacation rentals. As long as the vacation home is properly cleaned between guests, there are several advantages to renting one. Rentals are usually less expensive than hotels, and having an entire house at your disposal generally allows everyone more privacy.
Staying in a vacation home helps limit contact with other travelers and allows you to prepare your own meals, making it unnecessary to eat in restaurants if that makes you uncomfortable.
While many museums and attractions remain closed, some are open to a limited number of visitors per day. If you have your heart set on visiting a particular place, check its website before you leave home. Several museums, parks and historic sites are now offering limited hours. Many have begun selling admissions exclusively online in order to limit contact between visitors and employees. Buying tickets in advance online will guarantee you admission on the day you want to visit.
Where to Go?
If boarding a crowded airplane doesn’t work for you right now, there are destinations within driving distance that are worth visiting. Here are a few suggestions.
New Hampshire’s Lakes Region
Although it’s off-season, New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is beautiful during the holidays. The area’s mountains usually have snow cover by late November or early December, making relatively safe outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing possible. You’ll come across fewer people in local restaurants, and many of the area’s shops are open, so you’ll be able to do some holiday shopping.
Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket
At the time of this writing, travelers from other New England states are able to visit Massachusetts without a quarantine requirement, making a trip to one of the Cape’s islands a great choice for a holiday or winter getaway. Hotels and vacation rentals are much cheaper this time of year. The streets are free of crowds, and you’ll have restaurants, hiking trails and beaches pretty much to yourself.
Glamping, or luxury camping, has become quite popular over the past several years. It’s a fun way to try something new while maintaining social distance from other travelers. Sites generally include a fully furnished cabin, platform tent or yurt. Many accommodations are heated, and some have running water. Several of New England’s glamping locations are open during the fall and winter. Check out glampinghub.com to find and book a unique holiday getaway.