By SARAH SANTANA
“Im in desperate need of an escape,” reads one recent comment on a Reddit travel forum, echoing a common sentiment. Many Americans are ready to venture out: a recent LuggageHero survey shows 71 percent were planning domestic trips in 2020 despite the pandemic.
Destinations that offer plenty of space to spread out are popular, as well as properties that have ramped up cleanliness standards. Here, we take a look at four ways people are vacationing safely.
Glamping is camping’s glamorous cousin, appealing to those who have grown accustomed to luxury. We’re talking tents, yurts, treehouses, and cabins that come with full en suite bathrooms and other private amenities, usually situated among natural splendor. Keep in mind that most sites offer communal dining only (eating in your tent might attract bears).
Companies like Under Canvas – with sites in Montana, South Dakota, Arizona, Tennessee, and Utah – and Missouri’s Camp Long Creek offer refined lodging in the rugged outdoors, with plenty of space to roam.
Get R&R in an RV
Business is booming for RV rental companies: RVshare and Outdoorsy both saw bookings increase by upwards of 1,000 percent in the past couple of months. Whether you rent a towable trailer or a massive motor home, mobile accommodations allow more control over your environment. Some are even equipped with a kitchen. Don’t want to cook? Park at a restaurant and get takeout or dine al fresco. Sightseeing stops too crowded for your taste? Simply drive to the next spot.
Book a Vacation House
Want to get away from crowds with your friends and family, aka your quarantine crew? Renting an entire vacation house with outdoor amenities like a pool or yard might be the right move. After taking a hit in March and April, rental reservations have rebounded. Airbnb has seen more bookings in May and June than the same period last year, and VRBO and other sites are also seeing a jump, the Los Angeles Times reported. While you won’t encounter other guests like you might in a hotel, you also won’t have room service, so prepare to cook your own meals (or find a place with lots of takeout restaurants nearby). Also, bring some cleaning products. It’s a good idea to disinfect doorknobs and other frequently touched surfaces upon arrival, just in case.
Head to a Hygienic Hotel
Say goodbye to “high-touch” valet and bellhop services and hello to an era of contactless check-in at many major hotel chains. For example, Hilton is offering a digital key via its mobile app, as well as ramped-up cleaning techniques that include a “seal” to ensure a room hasn’t been occupied since it was cleaned. Hotel bookings are on the rise, but in the week ending June 27, U.S. hotel occupancy hovered at 46 percent – nearly half of what it was in 2019, Statista figures show.
Want to ensure you have the place all to yourself? Some wealthy guests are booking an entire hotel just to ensure social distance. Wyoming’s Magee Homestead is charging $25,000 a night to rent out its entire ranch, which includes rooms, meals, and activities. In Massachusetts, you can buy out The Oak Bluffs Inn for $45,000 a night.
If a staycation at home is all you’re up for this summer, that’s perfectly OK. You can set up a tent in the backyard, gaze at the stars, and dream of a time when travel will be less risky and more convenient.
Tips for Safe Travels
- Wear a face mask and practice social distancing in public areas.
- Use an app like Flush to find clean restrooms on a road trip.
- Minimize contact with door handles and other high-touch surfaces in shared spaces.
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer after spending time in public areas.
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19 before heading out, especially if visiting someone elderly.
- If you’re driving long distances with young children, consider taking a travel potty.
Sarah Santana is an independent columnist for Morro Bay Life; and the president of Santana Wealth Management; you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.