When I started planning my 2020 summer vacation last year, I had no idea what would happen to travel this summer. Like most families, our plans for a summer family vacation have completely changed. Depending on your circumstances, there may still be the option for some sort of travel this year, however.
Travel in 2020 is clearly very different from what we are accustomed to. Combine that with constantly changing regulations and you will find that flexibility is key.
2020 Family Travel Planning For Summer Vacation
This is not medical advice, and we recommend that you look at your current situation and the advice of local authorities when making travel decisions. Information is changing quickly so stay up to date with all current regulations and be sure to follow them.
Follow Current Travel Regulations
There are so many different guidelines and rules for residents and visitors to each state. These are constantly changing, so you’ll want to find the official source and keep up to date.
For instance, at the time of publication of this article, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have required residents of specific states to quarantine if traveling to their state. Maine is another Northeast state with specific requirements – and guests can get tested and fill out a certificate if they want to travel there without quarantine.
Follow the rules, and keep track of any changes that happen before your trip. If you need to get any test results back before travel, you’ll need to plan ahead to make sure you have them.
There are also specific regulations around mask-wearing that you’ll want and need to follow. Be sure to pack enough masks for everyone in your family for your entire trip, because they have to be washed between wears and shouldn’t be shared. After wearing masks for a while here in MA, I’ve definitely found some that I prefer, so test lots of different options before leaving your home.
Keep Track of Cancellation Policies and Book Flexible Travel
With all of these ongoing changes, there’s always a chance that you’ll need to change or cancel your plans at the last minute. Most travel companies are offering very flexible change and cancellation policies.
However, you’ll want to read the fine print and make sure that you won’t lose money if things change. For instance, I’ve found that many hotels in popular tourist areas like Cape Cod require quite a bit of advance notice for cancellations.
Road tripping with your family can be a good, flexible option because you won’t need to rent a car or take a flight. You can control when you leave and when you return. Remember that you may need to stop along the way for food and restrooms, so plan your route ahead of time.
Consider Nearby Destinations
In the past, we’ve looked at the summer as a chance to go on a long vacation to faraway places. But this year, consider nearby destinations that you may otherwise have overlooked. Living in Massachusetts, we are considering a summer vacation on Cape Cod – a nearby destination that we’ve often skipped because it’s so close.
Choosing a nearby destination also allows you to easily road trip. In addition, you’ll have minimal required stops along the way.
Look at Lodging Options With More Room, Amenities, etc
When you plan your summer vacation this year, you may find that you’ll be spending more time in your room/rental home. Restaurants may be offering decreased capacity, so you may end up eating more meals in your room. Look at lodging options with more space, including kitchens, dining rooms, etc.
You may also spend more time at the resort or vacation home, rather than at nearby attractions. Consider what types of amenities are offered at the destination, including pools, beach access, etc. Check to see what is open, because some resorts may close specific attractions.
Be flexible, because capacity at these amenities is likely to be limited. Research in advance to see if reservations are required.
If booking a vacation home, find out what types of things you’ll need to bring with you. Many come with linens, dishes, and cleaning supplies, but you’ll want to make sure that is the case. You’ll also want to pack hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes as you’ll probably need them on the go.
Consider Activities and Restaurant Options at Your Destination
If you are considering a summer vacation, you’ll want to check to see which attractions, activities, and restaurants are open at your destination. Some places (for instance, Walt Disney World), are requiring theme park reservations for entry. You’ll want to check and make sure you can actually do what you want to do before committing to a trip.
Plan Outdoor Activities
Luckily, summer is a great time to spend much of your vacation outdoors. Look for vacation options with lots of outdoor activities, where you can spread out and have limited contact with others. Avoid crowded beaches, water parks, and other attractions.