A year ago, I eagerly planned my family trips for 2020. A 14th birthday trip with my son to Walt Disney World and an Adventures by Disney summer vacation to Germany were just two of the vacations I was excited for. Like many others, my 2020 travel plans were derailed by COVID-19 and I was left canceling/postponing these vacations.
My travel options went from the entire world to just the small state of Massachusetts. Even travel to nearby states was discouraged. Luckily, there are lots of great places to explore even in this small state, and we enjoyed summer trips to Cape Cod and Gloucester, MA.
Like everyone, I’m not sure what the future holds, but if we do travel, we’ll definitely need to follow certain travel tips to make sure we stay safe and that our money is refundable if it turns out that we can’t go. For the near foreseeable future, travel isn’t as easy as packing a quick overnight bag and leaving. Planning is absolutely essential.
Tips For Planning Future Travel
What to Consider When Planning Upcoming Travel
First and foremost, it’s important you follow and observe the current conditions. At the time of the publication of this post, there are numerous travel bans and restrictions in place to keep you and others safe. Please follow all state, local, and national rules as you consider traveling with your family, keeping in mind that these are constantly changing.
Remember that not everyone should travel during this time, based upon your personal situation. In many cases, it may be best to plan an epic trip for a year or two in the future rather than risk traveling in the near term. Since you’ll be saving money by skipping the trip now, you’ll have a bigger budget for an even better trip later.
Personally, we’ve decided to skip big trips in the near term and just stick to local road trips to nearby resorts and vacation homes. We have some fun trips planned for 2021, but they are fully refundable.
Because everything is unknown, you’ll want to make sure that whatever you choose to book has a generous cancellation policy. If restrictions and circumstances change before your trip, you’ll want to make sure that you can change your plans and get a cash refund.
Last-minute travel can actually work in your favor now. International travel can be the toughest to plan in the future, because of the various bans in place.
If you plan to get travel insurance for your trip, make sure that the pandemic is covered in the terms. In most cases, it will be considered a known event and won’t be covered. You’ll definitely want to make sure you understand exactly what type of insurance you are purchasing and what the rules and coverages are.
Travel Restrictions To Be Aware of and Follow
I never imagined that even traveling the hour distance to the nearby state of Rhode Island would not be allowed, but that is the current situation. Many states are imposing restrictions on travel outside of the state. These changes seem to happen frequently, so you’ll need to check when you plan your trip as well as when you are ready to go.
In some cases, travel to specific states is allowed if you receive a negative test result within a certain time frame. In that case, you’ll want to plan ahead to make sure you get the results with enough time and collect the paperwork you’ll have to show.
Where To Go On Vacation
There are definitely some travel options that you can consider for the near term or future travel. Since we don’t know when things will change, these are good ideas for 2021. Here are some family vacation options:
Vacation Home: Consider staying in a vacation home rental, where you’ll have lots of space for everyone to get their work done. With a kitchen and dining space, you can prepare your own meals or get take out and eat in the house.
When booking a vacation home, find out what the cleaning procedures are. You may consider doing some of your own cleaning when you arrive. In addition, you may want to bring your own linens and pillows.
Ski Vacation: Skiing can be a great socially distanced outdoor activity. See what the procedures are for your preferred ski area. A vacation home rental could also be a great idea so you can eat in the home.
Hotel Suites: During our first long weekend away this summer over the fourth of July, we opted to book a hotel suite on Cape Cod. We had all of the luxuries of a hotel with lots of space for my daughter to do an online class in her own room. We were also able to prepare and eat most of our meals in the suite.
National Park: Another great option for a socially distanced vacation is visiting a National Park. Procedures have changed, so you’ll want to check things out before you go to make sure you understand everything you need to know. As an example, here’s some information about Yosemite National Park.
What to Pack If Traveling Now
In addition to your standard toiletries and clothes, you’ll need to pack some extra things if you are considering traveling during this time. Even without a pandemic, these are just good ideas to bring. Here are some things you’ll want to consider:
Masks: Many states have mask regulations. Even if they don’t, stores, restaurants, and attractions may require them. You’ll want to pack enough masks for your family, keeping in mind that you’ll need to wash them daily.
When we travel, I bring a supply of masks as well as some soap to wash them.
Wipes: You’ll want to wipe down any surfaces in the hotel/vacation home when you arrive. I also like to bring wipes whenever we eat out just in case the table isn’t cleaned before we sit down. I have always carried wipes to clean our tray tables and seats on an airplane and will continue to do so in the future.
Linens: The vacation home that we visited this summer keeps towels in plastic until they are used by the guest. But if you aren’t sure what the cleaning process is for linens and towels, you may consider bringing your own.
Pillows: I don’t always bring my pillow on vacation, but this summer we started traveling with ours. Not only is it more comfortable to have my pillow from home, but I felt a lot better about the cleanliness.
Sanitizing Spray: I like spraying the air of a hotel room or vacation home as we arrive to make sure it’s completely clean. This is especially important in the winter when they aren’t able to open the windows between guests.
Hand Sanitizer: Even before this year, I always carried hand sanitizer with me. Now, it’s even more important. I prefer to carry small travel-sized bottles in my purse that we can use whenever we go into a store.