February 16 2021 • by Marissa Scott • News
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected travel like nothing before. With different restrictions across the country and vaccines still unavailable to many Americans, it’s no wonder that some people are hesitant to plan a vacation in 2021. However, with spring and summer on the horizon, you may be hoping for a getaway – especially if you were unable to take a vacation last year. The good news is that there are safe ways to vacation during COVID-19. Here are some ideas to consider:
Alternatives to Hotels and Public Transportation
• Take a road trip. In order to limit contact with others, many people are opting to travel by car instead of flying or taking a train. In fact, some researchers believe that many people will continue to opt for alternatives to public transportation even after COVID-19 has subsided. Taking a road trip with your family can allow you to see sights along the way, and create a memorable travel experience you may not otherwise have had.
• Consider a camper van. Take road tripping to a whole new level by renting an RV or camper for your trip. RV rentals soared in 2020 and are expected to continue to rise in 2021. Traveling in an RV or camper allows you to visit multiple places and stop whenever you’d like. Campers and RVs with bathrooms, sleeping accommodations and meal preparation space will also help you to limit your contact with other people, as you won’t have to stop at public restrooms, hotels, or restaurants along the way.
• Use a vacation rental service instead of booking a hotel. Services like Airbnb and VRBO allow you to rent an entire house or condo for your group. This way, you won’t have to worry about coming in contact with strangers like you would at a hotel. Many property owners even offer a self-check-in option where they give you the code to a lockbox or door so you can let yourself in upon arrival.
Stick Closer to Home
Even with alternatives to traditional travel and hotels available, the thought of going to a far-off destination is still uncomfortable for some. Luckily, those of us in Rhode Island and SouthCoast MA are lucky enough to have an abundance of destinations right in our own backyards. If you’re looking to stick a little closer to home this year, it doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the vacation fun. Here are some destinations around New England that can help you fill your travel void while still being safe. Depending on exactly where you live, many of these could even be day trips to help get you and your family out of the house.
• Make the most of the winter weather. While you may be thinking of a spring or summer getaway, winter’s not over yet! New Hampshire and Vermont are home to some of the best ski destinations in the country, and even Massachusetts and Rhode Island have some slopes that could make for a fun day or weekend trip. If you’re never skied or snowboarded, now could be a great time to take some lessons. Many mountains have lodging right on their premises, or you could consider a rental home. Many mountains also offer snow tubing if you’re not looking to learn a new winter sport.
• Visit a popular summer destination. It’s no secret that New England has some of the best beaches around. Hit your favorite spot this summer, or make it a point to visit some local beaches you’ve never been to before. Many popular restaurants will also be offering outdoor dining in the warmer months, and many allow you to take food to-go if you’re more comfortable eating on your own. The New England coast is full of beautiful light houses as well. Make a trip out of visiting one and learning about the surrounding area.
• Do a wine or beer tasting. If everyone in your group is 21 or older, you might consider a wine or beer destination. Connecticut has its own “wine trail” to explore, while Portland, Maine is full of breweries. Newport and Cape Cod are also home to award-winning vineyards and craft breweries.
• Make it educational. If you are traveling with children, you may want to make the trip an educational experience. Taking a tour such of the Newport Mansions or the Freedom Trail in Boston could be a good option. Salem, Massachusetts also has numerous educational tours that could make for an interesting and memorable family outing.
• Discover unique experiences created by COVID. Many businesses across the country have had to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. Therefore, some businesses you might expect to be shut down may have stayed open by offering new options that allow you enjoy yourself while staying safe. Many museums and concert venues, for example, are offering virtual experiences for you to view in your home, while many restaurants are offering “igloo experiences” for outdoor dining during the winter months.
Keep it Safe
Whether you’re looking to travel outside of your home state, or stay close to home for your vacation this year, it’s important to keep COVID restrictions in mind. Before your plan your trip, be sure to confirm hours and availability with the specific businesses you’re looking to visit, as many attractions could be open during limited times, or be closed altogether. Many destinations may also have limited capacity, or be operating on an appointment-only basis.
You should also be aware of the COVID-19 requirements and restrictions of the states you’ll be traveling to. Many states will require non-residents to show proof of a negative test, or quarantine upon arrival.
Although it may feel like travel has been put on hold, there are many options available to help you create a memorable vacation experience in 2021. You could discover a new passion for road trips or exploring your local area. A vacation filled with memories doesn’t always require the extensive traveling and planning you may think – and you may even be able to save some big bucks in the process!