Travel can be tricky during the pandemic. Proper planning and packing the essentials are only half the battle when it comes to resort travel in the age of COVID-19, the other is devoted to navigating travel restrictions and finding a place to stay that is going the extra mile when it comes to sanitation.
According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control, “Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.” However, many metro Atlanta residents have been able to travel safely with minimal complications.
Elizabeth Fennel, a Kennesaw resident, decided to travel with her wife and their four children to a nearby beach resort after the start of quarantine. “We had planned to travel to Gulf Shores Alabama but were curtailed by Hurricane Sally,” said Fennel. “Luckily, we were able to find accommodations last minute in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.”
Fennel felt that her and her family needed a break from the stress of the coronavirus pandemic, but took several factors into consideration before making the decision to travel, including the weather, the amount of reported COVID-19 cases and health precautions that were being taken by local government.
“South Carolina is taking COVID a lot more seriously than Georgia is,” said Fennel “We were really pleased with the precautions taken by both the resort and places we visited in the state.” At the resort, several precautions were put in place to keep residents safe like virtual check-in, extra cleaning and antibacterial supplies were made available, according to Fennel.
“The resort provided extra deep cleaning before we arrived. Outside of that, most of the precautions we took were our own," said Fennel. "We packed enough masks for everyone in the family to have for each day and extra cleaner and hand sanitizer.”
Overall, Fennel and her family enjoyed their getaway and indicated that they would travel again, saying that everyone needs a break from the stress of the pandemic at some point. While the trip was exactly what Fennel needed there were a few things she felt she missed out on “We were unable to do a lot of the things we normally would like visit an arcade or a closed space, or a place with large crowds like you normally think of on vacation.” She also said that it was very different having to pack masks.
To stay safe during travel Business Insider recommends that you, “make sure the property has announced rigorous new cleaning measures, and look for signs they are implementing such procedures, from check-in to common spaces like the elevator or pool, and of course, in your room. Some are even promoting COVID-friendly WFH — work from hotel — travel deals aimed at the socially distant traveler. Also, consider more remote properties with plenty of wide-open spaces and outdoor-friendly amenities.”
When Bianca Sloan, a former metro Atlanta resident, decided to travel with a group of friends to the U.S. Virgin Islands, she had originally planned on staying in a resort but ending up picking a private home rental out of an abundance of caution. “We wanted to avoid big crowds so we decided to stay at an Airbnb instead of a resort.”
Sloan and her friends planned their travel a month in advance and made sure to take all the necessary precautions. “We looked at how many COVID cases were in St. Thomas,” said Sloan. “We also googled what precautions St. Thomas was taking to prevent outbreaks.”
Throughout her stay, Sloan indicated that she felt that the necessary safety measures were being taken. “We spoke to the host before coming. She stated that hot spot locations like St. Thomas were requiring visitors to provide testing results upon arrival," Sloan said "When we visited the local areas they seemed better prepared than back at home. There were ropes [that] blocked off entrances. Before entering a store they were taking your temperature and asking you to use the hand sanitizer provided. Everyone wore masks! The entire time there everyone wore masks.”
Before her trip, Sloan and her friends decided to self-quarantine to avoid infecting each other with the virus. They also stocked up on hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes in order to properly sanitize the surfaces they came in contact with.
“While at the airport my friends and I wore two masks," said Sloan. "We packed Lysol wipes that we used to wipe down airport seats. Once on the plane we cleaned the seats, seat belt handles, folding tray and armrest. We never removed our masks, choosing not to eat or drink on the plane. Once we arrived we had to have our temperature taken instantly after we deboarded the plane. We wiped down and cleaned surfaces inside the Airbnb including light switches, door knobs and remote controls.”
Sloan and her friends were able to relax as planned and felt safe enough during their vacation to travel again during the pandemic as long as all of the same precautions are kept in place.
The CDC recommends the following before and while traveling during the pandemic:
Before You Travel
- Is COVID-19 spreading at your destination? The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected during travel and spread the virus to others when you return.
- Check Each State’s Cases in the Last 7 Days
- Travel Recommendations for Destinations Around the World
- Do you live with someone who might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19? If you get infected while traveling, you can spread the virus to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.
- Are you at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19?Anyone can get very ill from the virus that causes COVID-19, but older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Does your destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers? Some state, local, and territorial governments have requirements, such as requiring people to wear masks and requiring those who recently traveled to stay home for up to 14 days. Check state, territorial, tribal and local public health websites for information before you travel.
When You Travel
- Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings.
- Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about 2 arms' length) from anyone who is not from your household.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
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