Summer vacations look much different in the coronavirus crisis. Many countries are closed off to Americans due to the high rates of COVID-19 in the United States, and many states require quarantines. If you still want to take a trip—we get it. You’ve been in the house for months, the weather’s good and you want a break before getting back into gear for work and school.
While many are opting for staycations or destinations within driving distance, if you still plan on flying, know the risks. Cabin air isn’t as much of a concern as just being in close proximity to other people, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, especially in security lines and terminals. “Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes,” the CDC advises. “However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Also consider how you get to and from the airport, as public transportation and ridesharing can increase your chances of being exposed to the virus.”
That said, it’s super important to not only be safe, but to follow local, state and national protocols and mandates wherever you travel. The following are relatively safe vacations during coronavirus that you can take, but remember: If you’re cavalier about masks, hand washing or social distancing, lockdowns will last a lot longer, and no vacation is worth anyone’s health or life.
Safe Vacations During Coronavirus
Staycations will always be an option! Explore your own town like a tourist, or camp out in your backyard.
Related: Airline Face Mask Rules
Going camping is generally safe if you’re socially distanced from anyone not in your household. To be safe, wear masks while hiking and traversing trails, as well as in any common areas you may share with other campers at your site.
3. Renting an Airbnb
Staying in an Airbnb while social distancing is a safe choice, but you may want to take extra precautions: Consider bringing your own silverware, bedding and linens, and bring some disinfectant sprays or wipes to sanitize and disinfect surfaces before settling in and getting comfortable.
Related: 90 Best Staycation Ideas
4. Hit the Beach
The beach is generally a safe option for a summer vacation if and only if you maintain social distancing and avoid crowded areas. You may want to exercise extra caution in areas like boardwalks, restrooms and eateries.
5. Renting an RV
Traveling in an RV allows you to have lodging and wheel at the same time, so you don’t have to worry about staying in a hotel or other lodging arrangements you may not be comfortable with amid the pandemic. Like renting an Airbnb though, you’ll want to disinfect surfaces and bring your own linens and utensils.
6. Local Parks
Your neighborhood parks are likely underused and underrated gems: Many have lakes for swimming, playgrounds for kids (if open—bring hand sanitizer!) and plenty of grass for playing and picnicking.
7. State Parks
If you’re within driving distance of a state park, enjoy the scenery!
8. Stay at a Hotel in a Remote Place
Social distance at a hotel. Check around to examine cleaning procedures and what amenities are available and avoid certain hotspots, like hotel bars. If it’s just a change of scenery you want (without having to do a ton of laundry), this may be just the ticket for you.
9. Find an Uncrowded Outdoor Pool
As long as they aren’t crowded, outdoor pools may be a safe option due to their use of chlorine in the water—something the beach doesn’t have. Be sure to bring your own towels, sunscreen, goggles, pool toys, flotation devices and anything else you may need.
10. Go on a Social Distancing Road Trip
Pack everyone in the car (if you already live with them, that is) and hit the road together. As long as you’re maintaining a safe social distance from others, feel free to take photos in front of any tourist landmarks you find, but keep masks on as long as you’re outside the car—and try to limit rest stop use (and when you do make a pit stop, make sure no one touches anything more than absolutely necessary).
11. See Loved Ones Safely
If you take a trip to visit family and friends, you all need to use proper precautions. Quarantine for two weeks beforehand, and try to stay six feet from one another and wear masks when you can’t. Wash your hands and disinfect surfaces frequently and if anyone in your party or your pals’ is high risk, do not go.
12. Dine Outside in a New Place
Have dinner at an outdoor restaurant. Bonus points if it’s foreign cuisine you’ve never tried before!
13. Rent a Boat
If you’re traveling with just family and your immediate household (which are all the people you should be traveling with!), a small boat (think a fishing charter) is a good option. Be careful to keep a safe distance from other boaters and to disinfect surfaces of the boat just like you would anywhere else on land. Also do not tie boats together to socialize, as this can increase the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
14. Consider a Houseboat
Eliminate the need for separate lodging (and having to traverse through a lobby or communal areas).
15. Go Backpacking
Think of it this way: The less you pack, the less you have to disinfect. Bonus? Outdoor areas are likely to be less crowded than ever this summer.
16. Try Rafting
Combine your camping with some adventures on the water. Don’t forget not just to disinfect everything, but to wear a life jacket!
17. Consider Cabins
Instead of staying at a big hotel with a bustling lobby and breakfast buffet if you go away, try a cabin or smaller lodge where you can be alone (or with significantly fewer people around).
18. If You Must Go Somewhere Far Away, Try All-Inclusive Resorts
If you insist on really going away for a summer vacation amid the COVID-19 crisis, all-inclusive resorts are an option to feel safe: You don’t have to travel elsewhere once you arrive at your destination. Still, be sure to wear a mask and practice proper social distancing, disinfecting and safety precautions, and check ahead of time to find out if your desired amenities will be available.
19. Swap Houses With a Friend
If you have friends or family who live within driving distance and whose space you’ve always coveted, consider a weekend- or week-long house swap. Like traveling to an Airbnb, bring your own linens and utensils (and like traveling anywhere else, toiletries, etc.) and enjoy a fresh set of walls, grass and a new neighborhood to explore. Of course, be sure you’ve all properly social distanced and haven’t been exposed to the virus before any of you packs up for the other’s home.
Greece has been largely less impacted by the coronavirus pandemic than some of its neighbors and its hospitals reportedly haven’t been overloaded. Corfu and Preveza offer spectacular beaches and plenty of private villas, as well as hospital access in case of emergencies during your trip.
21. Georgia (in Europe)
Batumi, Georgia, offers vineyards, beaches and a ton of other tourist attractions, while Tbilisi offers stunning architecture. The country’s COVID-19 rates are extremely low compared to other Western countries.
Croatia, especially Cavtat, offers plenty of private lodging for tourists who want to stay safe but still get stamps on their passports. Zagreb, Croatia, offers stunning outdoor views, parks, culture and architecture.
Portugal, especially the Madeira Islands and the Azores, offer beautiful beaches and have been sheltered from COVID-19 infections.
Romania, especially Transylvania, implemented serious precautions for COVID-19, including cleaning and sanitizing public transportation every four hours and holding special hours for retailers, resulting in a seriously low infection rate. The country offers a lot of historical charm to explore and is considered one of Europe’s safest destinations.
25. Trip to Turks and Caicos
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Serbia requires masks indoors as well as outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible, and has a fantastic wine country area.
27. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have pretty stringent entry requirements for tourists: Visitors must fill out a pre-arrival form and everyone on their flight must test negative for COVID-19. Visitors are quarantined until all negative tests have come in.
28. Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia has more than a dozen COVID-19 regulations for hotels, and visitors must get a negative COVID-19 test within a week of their arrival on the island.
All visitors to Jamaica must undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival, and the island nation also has requirements for businesses and hotels, including that all lodgings have a designated coronavirus safety point person.
30. French Polynesia
If you visit the 118 French Polynesian islands, you’ll be required to test negative for coronavirus before even flying out, and you’ll have to have a travel insurance policy. Four days after arrival, you’ll have a self-sample test.
The Bermudan Tourism Authority requires visitors to have a negative COVID-19 test within less than seven days before arriving, and they’ll also be tested at the airport and quarantined at their hotel or lodging until results come in upon their arrival.
Travelers from the U.S. all have to fill out a self-declaration health form and test negative for COVID-19 before arriving in Aruba. Visitors specifically from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota. Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming are required to upload a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival.
If you travel to Belize, you must upload a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before your departure to the country or agree to a test upon arrival; visitors will also have a temperature check at the airport and have luggage sanitized. Guests are also required to wear masks while traveling through Belize.
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