With so much going on in the world right now, the one thing we all want to do right now is a getaway. At the same time many countries announcing reopening plans, many people are considering what travel plan will be best under our ‘new normal’ and accompanying best practices.
Though the vast majority of travelers have canceled their plans as we shelter in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, others are weighing out their options on where (and when) they will be able to visit. Travelocity’s recent study predicts a new travel trend will appear this summer as a result — the “safecation.” This is an opportunity to travel to some of your favorite destinations, but implementing safety measures and protocols to protect you, because 72% of travelers say health & safety are their top priority when deciding where and when to travel post-COVID-19.
With that in mind, we don’t know exactly what summer travel will look like, but one thing is certain: You can expect change. Here are a few tips for planning your safecation this summer.
Search for flexible change/cancel policies.
Because we’re all taking this situation day by day, it’s hard to plan out for an extended period of time. Thankfully, airlines and hotels are trying their best to be accommodating during this uncertain time. Travelocity is seeing low fares on major U.S. airlines like Delta, American and many are waiving normal change or cancel fees through the end of the year. So if you do change your mind, you’ll only pay the difference in the ticket price.
Consider the booking window.
Gone are the days where folks plan 6-9 months out for a vacation. For short-term, Travelocity is seeing an uptick in bookings 0-3 days out, as experts suggest travelers are waiting to book — even if it’s at the last minute. While for long-term, expect to see good values on airfare and travel this summer, and if you know where you’re headed, it’s advised to book those trips 60+ days out (keeping in mind that a lot may change throughout that time).
Look for cleanliness information on-site.
You’ve probably received emails from many airlines and hotels reporting that they are following CDC guidelines for sanitizing public interfaces — contactless check-in kiosks, ticket counters, among other frequently touched areas multiple times a day — but of course, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and check each policy before you book. For example, many hotels on Travelocity.com for instance can now highlight their cleanliness policies to show what health & hygiene amenities they offer such as contactless check-in/check-out, hand sanitizer for guests, enhanced cleaning practices, social distancing measures, etc.
Roam near home.
If you’ve been looking to hit the open road, this summer will be the summer of road trips and exploring fun within your own backyard. According to Travelocity, most hotel bookings right now are within a 100-mile radius of where people live. In addition, travelers are mostly booking domestic travel, within driving distance. This creates the perfect opportunity to make your “Backyard Bucket List” — a list of all those in-state trips to landmarks and places you’ve always meant to visit as a family. The CDC recommends that prospective travelers keep an eye on the number of coronavirus cases in the destination they plan on visiting and not traveling there if COVID-19 is actively spreading. The agency also recommends avoiding crowded settings while traveling.
Control what you can.
The important thing to remember right now, is that nothing is within your control. When planning your travel, be sure to consider non-peak travel times because weekends tend to be busy, and the goal should be to avoid larger crowds to implement social distancing measures. Try to shift travel to Saturday-Monday or mid-week, as an alternative. Also, revisit destinations you’ve been to before — there’s a feeling of comfort when we visit places we know well. Take this time to revisit those hidden gems you’ve enjoyed before.
Stay Safe During Safecation.
As we all know that COVID-19 is still making people sick, you don’t want to expose yourself. So precautions is important at this time. There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.