Are you thinking of going on vacation? Traveling during the Covid-19 pandemic requires extra planning. We asked Suburbs 101 contributor and founder of Stuart Travel Design, Michele Stuart to give us her Covid-19 Travel tips and her go-to list of resources.
Exactly one year ago, I created Stuart Travel Design, a personalized, fun, thriving, boutique travel company. Little did I know the entire world would be turned upside down by a pandemic that would completely halt the travel industry. Over the past five months, I have been delving into cancellations, trip insurance, refunds, the status of hotel openings, protocols when traveling and trying to make sense of the ever-changing travel world. Every aspect of our industry has been affected and is fluctuating, day by day, minute by minute, and sometimes seconds by seconds. There are so many nuances of traveling during COVID-19, and I am here as your advocate, to help with any questions or concerns you have; to provide you with up-to-date policies and protocols; to inform you about the status of hotel openings, villa rentals, private cottages and cabins within resorts; and above all, when you decide to getaway, to help you make informed decisions on travel over the coming months.
So, Where Do We Go from Here? Wherever we go – we wear masks; we practice patience; we think of things that we should be grateful for; we value the time we have with our families, our pets, our close friends; we do our best to look forward to traveling freely again, as so many places will be waiting for us with wide open arms!
Traveling in 2020 looks quite different with the new health and safety protocols in place. There are plenty of incredible destinations you can explore closer to home, but before you grab your suitcase, below are a few tips recommended for traveling during COVID-19 and links to important resources.
Covid-19 Travel Tips
Get a COVID test 72 hours prior to traveling
Some destinations require a negative COVID test for entry and some don’t (yet). The rules for each spot are fluid and can change at a moment’s notice, so avoid the risk of getting caught without one and go ahead and get that negative confirmation.
Must-Pack Essentials During Covid-19 Travel
Many hotels are starting to require masks in public spaces, even if the destination itself doesn’t have those requirements. Play it safe, bring a couple of masks for everyone’s benefit and keep a “COVID Kit” in your car with extra masks, gloves, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, Lysol spray and paper towels.
Feel free to Ask Any Questions
If something is on your mind, ask! It is common to have questions and concerns prior to travel so it’s important that you reach out to your hotel, airlines, tour operator, restaurants to get the latest information that will make you feel comfortable in taking your vacation. If you want to make planning easier, reach out to your travel agent. As a travel agent, we may not know the answer to everything, but we will help you find the best source for your questions. From getting the latest updates from your hotel to talking to our on-the-ground partners, we can help you get information so you can confidently make your travel decisions.
Reconfirm any and ALL Reservations Prior to Departure
Double-check your dining reservations, tours, and activities before you leave as things can change day-to-day.
Protect yourself even While Away
Maintain social distancing when possible, wear your mask, wash your hands…you know the drill. It’s easy to let your guard down when you’re finally on vacation, but keep the standard safety precautions top of mind, all the time.
If you’re used to eating dinner at 7:00 PM but you want to avoid peak times, be prepared to make concessions. Consider dining earlier or later, working out at a different time, and adjusting “normal” schedules to avoid more crowded areas.
Buy and Show Proof of Travel Insurance
Purchasing travel insurance is extremely important. Some destinations require that you show proof of travel insurance that covers medical costs. We have an in-house insurance expert who can help you navigate the different types of travel insurance so that you can choose the option that is best for you.
Practice Patience and Understanding
Things are going to be very different, traveling during COVID-19 pandemic can be stressful as you have to think of your safety and wellbeing
no matter where you are. But everyone is working through the changes. If check-in or dining experience takes longer or isn’t what you’re used to, be patient and understand everyone is trying to keep you, your fellow travelers, and their employees safe.
Check and Recheck the Local Rules and Regulations
Things can change quickly in each destination, from mandatory quarantines to what’s open, so regularly check the latest local
rules and regulations. The never-ending news coverage of COVID-19 is enough to fray even the steeliest of nerves. Below, are travel resources, information sources & updates regarding domestic and international travel.
Air Travel Information
- New York Times Map and State Openings
- Skift Domestic Reopening Timeline
- Kayak’s US Travel Restrictions Guide
- Travel Bans by Country
- Skift International Reopening Timeline
- IATA Travel Map
- Kayak’s International Travel Restrictions Guide
- A Guide to the Caribbean Islands Reopening this Summer (Conde Nast Traveler)
- European Union Travel Update – August 7, 2020
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About Michele Stuart
Michele Stuart is the founder of Stuart Travel Design a boutique travel advisory, creating trips from short weekend hotel getaways, to unique, tailored trips all around the world. Website: www.stuarttraveldesign.com
About Suburbs 101
Suburbs 101 is an online lifestyle guide for the New York Suburbs of Westchester County, Long Island, Fairfield County and Northern New Jersey. Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in the New York suburbs through our interviews with local suburbanites and features on Food, Fashion, Home, Travel, and Local Events. Be sure to Follow Us on Instagram, Like Us on Facebook and subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter.