5 Questions to Ask Before You Travel This Summer
Summer is just around the corner. After weeks of staying at home, many of us are ready to embrace the outdoors and have some fun! But how do we plan summer travel with COVID-19 hanging over our heads?
The answer isn’t cut and dry. Many summer vacations may look a little different this year. Instead of a trip to the islands, it may be a trip to Grandma’s house. Instead of relaxing at the beach, we may be hiking mountain trails. Luxurious hotels may be replaced with RV rentals. Who knows?
Stay or Go? 5 Questions to Ask Before You Travel This Summer
Is your destination back in business?
As the country reopens, each state has different requirements for getting back to business. The northeast is opening slowly and methodically, with many attractions remaining shuttered through the summer months. The southeast is opening a little more quickly, with some beaches welcoming visitors already. A big chunk of the west coast remains under stay-at-home orders, while portions of the midwest have lifted travel restrictions and are open at 50% capacity.
The best way to determine if your destination is back in business is to check in with the CVB (convention and visitor’s bureau) or DMO (destination marketing organization). They have the most current information on what’s open and when. They’ll also connect you with information about hotel, attraction and restaurant capacity limits. CVBs and DMOs are a great resource for planning your summer trip.
On the road or in the air?
There’s no question air travel has taken a big hit this spring. On the bright side, it may mean better deals for consumers! Airlines are working hard to reclaim business and passing the deals along to travelers. Discounted rates and rewards promotions are just a couple of ways they’re enticing customers to fly.
Airlines are also taking steps to reassure customers by refining safety standards. Accommodations may include enhanced cleaning procedures, temperature checks, masks and empty seats to allow for social distancing.
If you’re still not wild about flying just yet, a road trip may be the way to go. Gas prices have dipped and minivans across the country are ready to roll! Remember that restrictions are still in place in many locations, though, so be prepared with face masks and ordering apps. AAA has an interactive map highlighting closures, checkpoints and restrictions – very helpful as you hit the road.
RV rentals are another road trip trend popping up for summer. Rentals are up 650% as families rethink their travel plans!
Crowded places or wide-open spaces?
While the news channels have already reported crowded beaches in spots, many attractions that usually draw crowds are still closed. Instead, people are opting for wide-open spaces like national parks and campsites for summer travel.
Wherever your travels take you, remember that planning is key Think about public restroom breaks, high-touch areas and potential “hot spots”. Factor in closed restaurants and possible detours due to travel restrictions.
Where will you stay?
Accommodations are a key part of your summer travel plans. You don’t want to be stuck sleeping in your car but renting a room makes you nervous.
Most major hotel chains have made big changes to help ensure guest safety. New procedures may include extra disinfection of high touch areas, daily multiple cleanings of common areas, masks, gloves and partitions for staff and social distancing.
Smaller mom and pop motels may not have the manpower or budget to make these changes so keep that in mind when traveling. Call ahead for reservations and ask questions when you do.
Can you afford the trip?
Many of us are struggling with finances after a disastrous year and the average cost of a vacation may be more than you bargained for. Plan your escape with a budget in mind and get creative with your money. Take advantage of credit card cashback or cash in points for stays. Hustle up a side gig delivering groceries or cut back on online shopping. There are lots of ways to help pay for your summer vacation!
If you still don’t think you can afford to travel, make the most of a long weekend at home. Splurge on a spa treatment or indulge in chef-inspired meal. Send the kids to grandma’s house and stop watching the clocks. You can still enjoy some down-time without the hassle of packing and unpacking!
Summer travel will look a little different this year, but we are nothing if not resilient! These are 5 questions to ask before you travel this summer and relieve the stresses of spring. Safe travels!
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