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While the luxury of travel is one many of us took for granted, it is now one of the top things on everyone’s mind as cities around America open up. However, traveling domestically will look a little different this summer as we head into a new normal. According to the latest guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traveling domestically poses little risk to those who are vaccinated. However, precautions should still be taken. Plus, not everything will be returning to “normal” in the travel industry.
Lindsey Puls, founder of Have Clothes Will Travel, brings her expertise from years of traveling the world to share eight major things you must consider when planning your next trip. Before you embark on your next domestic adventure, keep these things in mind to make sure you have an enjoyable and safe trip!
Traveling Domestically – 8 Things to Consider
- Are restaurants, tourist attractions, venues, and more open at this time at your destination? Are there any travel restrictions? Before booking your destination, check the area’s local tourism websites and news stations for the latest travel restrictions and updates. For example, Hawaii has strict COVID-19 restrictions and a 10-day mandatory quarantine if they are not met. Whereas most of the popular things to do in Wisconsin are open, and there are no travel restrictions. It also helps to opt for outdoor-based trips (hiking, camping, etc.) to avoid issues.
- Will you need to be vaccinated before you travel to your destination? “Vaccine passports” are a hot topic right now, especially since New York rolled out its Excelsior Pass. You may need to show proof of your vaccination status before entering your destination. Again, check local tourism websites before you leave.
- Should you pack masks (even if you are vaccinated)? Yes, you should pack masks, as every state, business, etc., has different rules/regulations. Plus, masks are still federally mandated if you travel by plane, bus, or train – even if you are fully vaccinated.
- Should you stay in an Airbnb or a hotel? This ultimately will depend on whether you are fully vaccinated and your personal preference. Online marketplaces for vacation rentals, such as Airbnb and VRBO are generally safer options for those who are traveling and not fully vaccinated, according to doctors and the CDC. This is because you are the only one occupying the property, which lessens your chances of contracting COVID-19. However, be sure to check that the property is participating in COVID-19 cleaning policies, and don’t delay booking that cool VRBO or Airbnb, as properties across the country are filling fast for summer. Hotels across the country have also implemented enhanced cleaning procedures in the wake of COVID.
- Should you drive or fly? This will also ultimately be a personal decision and depend on whether or not you are fully vaccinated. Both forms of travel pose risks for unvaccinated travelers. It is also important to remember that the US is currently experiencing a rental car shortage, causing prices to soar and making rental car reservations difficult.
- Should you get travel insurance? If you are worried about your trip being interrupted or canceled due to COVID-19, it is a good idea to purchase an insurance policy. Many insurance policies are now including COVID-19-specific coverage options, too. Sitejabber experts say it’s very important to carefully read any policy before purchasing to understand what you are buying and what is covered, especially as travel insurance scams are surging.
- Double-check cancellation/refund policies for any tour bookings, etc., before you make them! Many travel companies also have flexible cancellation policies right now, be sure you know what your options are before making a booking and as always, read the fine print before committing.
- Be flexible. It is important to remember that even as things return to “normal,” there will still be many changes and hiccups during this time. Be prepared to roll with the changes as they happen on your 2021 trip!