Travel in the Time of Covid

Like many of you, Sonia and I have had our lives disrupted these last few months with Covid, travel bans and lock downs. We are doing what we can to stay safe and healthy, which has meant less travel for us. Normally, at this time, we would be returning from Europe with plenty of tales and food stories, but unfortunately, we could not make our trip this year.

Rather than let that get us down, we did our research on destinations within driving distance from us and tips on how to travel safely. Suddenly, what we believed to be impossible was becoming possible and so earlier this month, we were able to take a week off from work and take an actual vacation.

After much research and thought, we decided to venture to Myrtle Beach, SC.

While most of our posts are food-centric, we wanted to step away from eating for a moment and focus on the travel aspect itself. I believe many feel the same as us and have been struggling with the do I travel now question, and if I do, how do I do it safely. So for today, no eats to digest, but hopefully some good thoughts and ideas for everyone.

Should I travel or shouldn’t I?

This isn’t an easy question to answer. Travel removes you from your comfort zone and opens you to several potential risks for exposure to Covid. Sonia and I have both been working from home for since March, and we have not been out to a restaurant unless it was to pick up takeout. We had created for ourselves a safe zone where most variables could be controlled and risks mitigated. However, this was also a driving factor for why we felt this was the right time to explore travel options.

Travel for us is our chance to get away and see new destinations and recover from our jobs. Travel invigorates and refreshes us so that when we return home, we are better people. Reasons to travel were never at a loss for us, but now we needed to balance our health benefits against health concerns. After many discussions about the pros and the cons, we decided it was time.

Before going on, it’s ok to worry, and it’s ok to feel like it’s not your time. Travel will continue to be there once all this passes, and you are more likely to enjoy your trip when your not bringing an entire suitcase of worry and doubt. You will know when it’s right for you so trust you know what’s best.

Where should I travel?

Again, this is all up to you and depends on what makes you comfortable or uncomfortable. For us, we didn’t think getting on a plane was a good idea. While the airlines have increased sanitizing and cleaning protocols, sharing an enclosed space with several other passengers still had us weary. This narrowed down our options to something within driving distance.

Driving distance though is as limiting as you make it. Are you willing to split the drive over a few days or do you want to get to your destination as quickly as possible. Distance is all in the eye of the traveler.

Once you know how far you are willing to go, then you’ve come to the best part – the where. Sonia and I knew we wanted one day of driving, so next we considered the type of vacation. Looking at the timing, we knew most places would be outside of their high season, so we were comfortable with picking a beach locale. Looking at temperatures, drive time, costs, and activities, we settled on Myrtle Beach.

What about safety?

Safety is about precautionary measures and research. Once we decided on Myrtle Beach, we did our due diligence to review government mask mandates, statistics of new cases in the area, and measures implemented by the hotel where we were staying. When checking on our hotel, it helped to read recent reviews as well on several of the travel sites to confirm that stated measures were in fact implemented. Our research helped build our confidence that we would be fine where we were going. As an FYI, we stayed at Hilton’s Ocean22 where safety and social distancing were a priority.

Our other key safety measure was preparing ourselves for our own safety protocols. We made sure we had masks, hand sanitizer, and stuff for disinfecting. Some may feel we went overboard, but this is what we felt was needed to ensure we remained safe.

With all our supplies, our safety measures included:
– wearing masks at all times when in public,
– washing hands often,
– using hand sanitizer when washing hands was not possible but we touched something while out, and
– self-sanitizing out hotel room once we arrived, focusing on key touch areas (remotes, light switches, etc.).

Was it worth it?

We enjoyed our trip and are glad we did it. It was a very different feel for a vacation, but the change of scenery was good for us. In the end, we were very comfortable with everything, and it was nice to get away and feel slightly back to vacation as usual. Hopefully, this is helpful to those thinking about traveling again but just not sure.

Back to the eats though in our next post. We found some good ways to still experience local food even though we weren’t 100% sure about eating in restaurants again. Stay tuned for some amazing Myrtle Beach finds!

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