Traveling During COVID-19: What You Need to Know

Tips for Traveling During COVID-19 featured by top US travel blogger, Alicia Tenise. | Travel Tips by popular D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a red Mazda car parked in the middle of a road surrounded by grassy fields and trees.

Usually, in October, Tom and I are on the road and are only home for a handful of days. It’s one of our favorite months to travel: you’ve got milder temps, fall foliage, and great travel deals to Europe.

Fast forward to the year of our lord 2020. We’re definitely not going to be traveling like we used to, but I appreciate being home a bit more this year. However, we are planning a few 48-hour quick trips to resume travel content here.  With that being said, today I thought I’d share some of the best COID-19 travel tips to help keep you safe during your own trips. 

Full disclaimer: I don’t have all the answers for traveling during COVID-19 in 2020. However, today I’m going to recap some things we learned from our first out-of-state adventures, just in case you’re planning a trip this fall.

Tips for Traveling During COVID-19 featured by top US travel blogger, Alicia Tenise. | Travel Tips by popular D.C. travel blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a open suitcase filled with a straw hat, block heel sandals, spray sunscreen, graphic tee, and passport booklet.

COVID-19 Travel Tips

Check Travel Advisories and Restrictions Before Traveling During COVID-19

The one thing about traveling in 2020? Plan to be flexible

Some states have strict travel restrictions and require travelers from certain states to quarantine for 14 days. These lists and advisories change every week, so be prepared to cancel a trip last-minute if your state ends up being on a quarantine list.

We’ve been booking with Expedia and choosing refundable hotels when we travel. We also have opted to visit destinations that we could drive to so that we don’t have to deal with canceling flights. If you do plan on flying, make sure you can get a refundable fare, or opt for an airline that has gotten rid of their change fees.

Make Restaurant, Winery and Brewery Reservations in Advance Whilst Traveling During COVID-19

We decided to spontaneously take a trip to Asheville last weekend, and while we had a blast, we did end up spending a lot of time waiting in line. And having our favorite restaurants tell us that they’re fully booked up. Rookie mistake!

Restaurants, wineries, and breweries are all operating at limited capacity, so that means the places that you can generally walk into might be booked for weeks on end. I would make a game plan and figure out where you want to visit ahead of time and see if you can book a reservation to avoid any surprises when you arrive at your destination!

Hotels vs. Airbnbs

We’ve had a variety of hotel experiences in 2020: some good and some bad.

If you’re going to book a hotel, I would highly recommend choosing one with a contactless check-in/check-out process. The check-out process at a few hotels we visited was a little concerning since they had small indoor lobbies, and folks were all trying to leave at the same time. It got crowded pretty quick, and some folks were better at maintaining social distancing than others. We also ran into some issues with other guests in the hotel ignoring elevator occupancy limits at hotels, which made us a bit uncomfortable.

If you’re a cautious traveler, booking an Airbnb or a vacation rental might be the ideal route for you. Again, not all hotels are bad, but I would recommend looking up the safety precautions the property has in place before making a reservation.

Staying Safe

If you’re having symptoms or feeling ill, please stay home! Also, please wear a mask to keep others safe while traveling and respect the rules that businesses have set in place during this time.

Something that I’m personally doing? I’m getting COVID tests in between travels so that I can be 100% certain I’m not carrying any unwanted baggage. Full disclaimer: I’m really not an expert here, and traveling during a pandemic is still new to me. However, it’s on any traveler to assess the risk and stay safe while traveling!

There’s No Pressure to Travel

If the thought of traveling gives you anxiety, it’s totally fine to stay at home! Travel is not a priority this year. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely OK with the idea of crossing state lines until a few weeks ago. Whatever you decide, just make sure you’re comfortable with your decision, do your research, and do your best to stay safe!

What about you? Have you been traveling during COVID-19 in 2020? Let me know your travel tips in a comment below!

Photos by Tom McGovern

Leave a Comment