The pandemic may refuse to go away, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck at home for all of 2020. Vacations are still happening, they just look a little different. If you want to know how to vacation safely this year, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Determine Your Risk

Before you pick a vacation destination, you should take some time to seriously consider the risks of your top locations. More isolated areas and activities, like camping or some shore excursions on a cruise, are less likely to expose you to the coronavirus then areas that see more traffic. Busier areas, like theme parks and crowded beaches, will come with more risk. This also goes for traveling abroad. Only you can decide what you’re comfortable with. If someone in your family it is immunocompromised, your best option may be to rent a cabin or lake house in a small community away from large crowds.

2. Know Local Restrictions

Regardless of where you choose to vacation, take the time to learn the local restrictions. These can vary greatly, and you don’t want to accidentally violate a county mandate. Make sure you’re not traveling to a restricted state that will require you to quarantine. If you don’t mind quarantining after you return, this may not be a big deal, but you may not have the time to quarantine and also complete all of the activities you hoped to during your vacation days. Some restrictions have posed occupancy limits on certain locations, so you may want to make reservations or purchase tickets ahead of time. Limited operating schedules can inhibit the activities you want to do this year, and even tourist hot spots that are open may close some sections or exhibits.

3. Eat Outside

Lots of restaurants are struggling this year, so it is a good idea to support local businesses safely. Most places deliver, but if you need to eat out, make sure you get a table outside. Social distancing measures allow places to stay open, and this way you can enjoy the breeze with your evening meal. Working outdoors with better airflow also helps to protect the restaurant staff, who are coming in contact with countless individuals each day. Don’t forget to tip!

4. Bring Protection

Most businesses require a face mask in order to enter, but it’s a good idea to wear a mask whenever you are in public. Not only does this help protect you against the virus, but it also shows you care about others and you are dedicated to protecting the community. Plus, fun face masks allow you to showcase your personality and match your fun vacation outfits. Make sure you bring enough to last the entire trip, especially if you won’t have access to a laundry machine for your fabric masks. If you are wearing them for long periods of time, it is important to switch them out often. Consider different types of material if you’re going to be in a warm climate. Many places provide hand sanitizer now, but it is always a good idea to have your own supply. Use it before and after touching something or entering a new place. If you know how to use them properly, gloves may also be a good idea.

5. Get Tested

If you’re going to travel for vacation, the responsible thing to do is get tested before and after your trip. Don’t travel with anyone who is sick, and don’t travel if you have been around someone who is sick. Symptoms can be different for different individuals, and you could even be asymptomatic. Even though the guidelines may be inconvenient, adhering to them can slow the spread the virus and keep communities healthy during vacationing months.

A lot of things may seem bleak this year, but you can still have a rewarding family vacation. With a little more planning and prep work than usual, you can safely enjoy this year’s trip.

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