Many families have decided to travel this summer and many more are still considering taking a trip in the next six weeks before school starts up again (in whatever form that may be). In the time of COVID, this is a difficult decision for many of us because there are a lot of things to consider – mainly keeping our families and others healthy and safe, and preventing the spread of the virus. I recently made the decision to travel to Nantucket with my family and I’m glad that we got away for a little. I think we all needed to reset in our “happy place” after several long months at home. That said, traveling right now is not for everyone. We each have our own comfort level with the current state of COVID and I’ve put together a list of tips that I think will be helpful as you navigate the decision to travel with your family, and potentially prepare for your trip.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
- Educate yourself on the new rules and requirements set forth by the town or city you plan to travel to. You can find this info on city websites as well as local Instagram pages. Check out The Local Moms Network sites to see if there’s one in the area where you’re traveling to – this can be a super helpful resource to make sure you’re prepared for your trip. Nantucket Moms was amazing to lean on leading up to (and during) our trip to Nantucket.
- Find out what businesses and local attractions are open. Many will have adjusted hours/services, at minimum, and it’s important you know what you will be allowed to do once you get there. If there are limited take-out options and the beaches are closed then it may not be the trip you’re expecting, and ultimately may not be worth it.
- Review local infection and hospitalization rates. You should see a steady decline for the past two weeks.
CHECK YOUR LOCAL TRAVEL BANS
- There are currently 31 states and counting on the NY travel advisory ban list which requires anyone traveling from these particular states to quarantine for 14 days after returning to NY. Although the state you’re planning to travel to may not be on this list currently, keep in mind that it’s a possibility it will be added while you are away.
GO WHERE YOU KNOW
- During times of uncertainty, it’s always best to maintain some sense of familiarity and comfort. This probably isn’t the best time to explore new places. Choose somewhere that you’ve been to already so you know what to expect. We chose Nantucket because this is somewhere that we typically travel to every summer. We also have friends that live there in the summer and year round so they were helpful resources to us when making our decision.
- I also recommend traveling somewhere within driving distance. Traveling with others on planes and public transportation only increases the risk of spreading germs so it’s best to travel alone with your family in a car.
PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE!
- Pack the following PPE. I recommend packing a lot more than you think you need!
- MASKS | Here’s a list of some great places to find cloth masks! Remember you need to be washing your masks regularly so it’s good to stock up.
- HAND SANITIZER | I made sure to bring enough to have at least two per bag so we were never without them (and we brought a lot of bags!). I also recommend bringing some of the larger bottles; I love the 10 oz Suave that I found at my local Decicco’s (also found here!). It was always quick and easy to find in my bag.
- DISINFECTANT | Sprays or wipes will do the trick. You’ll be wiping down everything so it’s good to have a bunch. We used these in the car, on the ferry and at our rental.
- PAPER TOWELS | Make sure to bring a roll (or two! Depending on how long the ride is)
- Pack your own snacks and meals for the drive. This will limit stops and interactions with other people throughout the drive.
- Fill up your gas tank before you go. This seems obvious but make sure you’re filled to the brim before you get on the road. If you can avoid stopping for gas the whole trip that’s ideal. If not, make sure to use a credit card and disinfect after use.
- Make a plan for rest stops. When we drove up to Nantucket we made a plan not to stop at any rest stops. We wanted to limit our exposure to other people, and rest stops seemed to be an obvious place to avoid since they get so much foot traffic. With kids this can be extra hard but Penny was a trooper about her first roadside squat. We made sure to find a private place to do this. Make sure to pack extra wipes and TP!
FOR RENTAL HOMES
- Ask Questions. Ask the owner or property management company what they’re doing to mitigate the spread of germs. What are they doing on top of what they normally do? Are they using a higher grade disinfectant? How much time is there in between renters? Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable.
- Clean. Be prepared to clean all high touch surfaces. This is a personal decision but I recommend wiping/spraying down all high touch, hard surfaces with a disinfectant. Although a cleaning crew has just come in, this will help ease your concerns knowing that you did your part to disinfect the home.
- Clean some more. You may also go so far as to clean all of the sheets/bedding/towels. Again, this is up to you and will definitely put your mind at ease.
You’re going on vacation, but COVID is not. COVID is still very much present so it’s important we all continue to remain vigilant and keep our health and safety our number one priority. Wear a mask. Practice safe social distancing. Avoid touching your face and wash your hands regularly.
Ultimately, you know yourself. If you choose to get away this Summer, make sure that you will actually enjoy yourself. Family trips were stressful without COVID so if leaving home and taking necessary extra precautions will only add to your stress, then save the trip for next year when hopefully there will be a vaccine and COVID will be behind us.
If Nantucket is on your travel list this summer, I’ve put together a list of my favorite local businesses for you to check out!
The Nautilus | Amazing for Date Night. Leave the kids at home!
Gaslight Nantucket | Perfect spot for happy hour or date night.
Or, the Whale | Great for weekend brunch and dinner. And incredible back patio!
Sandbar at Jetties | Perfect for the whole family and right on the Beach. They also have a killer retail section.
Juice Bar | A trip to Nantucket is not complete without a trip to the juice bar for some of the best ice cream you’ll ever have. Get the Dirty Grasshopper (mint chip + oreo omg)
Nantucket Wine & Spirits | Great selection of liquor, wine + beer, and conveniently connected to Stop & Shop
The Blue Beetle | Adorable clothes + accessories (+ masks!)
Erica Wilson | Mom + baby!
Peachtree Kids | Classic kids apparel
Petite Travelers | Baby Gear + Beach Rentals