A family vacation is the highlight of many people’s summers. You spend countless hours planning out every detail, anxiously await the end of the school year, and then go through the annual routine of hassling everyone to pack the right clothes.
COVID-19 is changing what that looks like for most families, though. Airports are operating under reduced capacity, many businesses are requiring appointments, and the usual spots are all doing things a bit differently.
Fortunately, with a little diligent planning, you can still plan an exciting family vacation during COVID-19.
What to Consider When Choosing a Safe Travel Destination During COVID-19
Choosing a safe travel destination during COVID-19 might take a little more time than you think. However, you can easily narrow down a few places by following a some guidelines.
1. Coronavirus Exposure
The first – and maybe the most important – thing you’ll want to consider when choosing a safe travel destination during COVID-19 is what destinations pose a higher exposure risk . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has a COVID-19 tracker that can help narrow down which states pose a greater risk of exposure to your family.
You might also be able to find data trackers through local resources. Some counties and cities are keeping a digital record for residents and travelers.
2. International, State, and Local Travel Restrictions
You’ll also need to consider any international, state, and county or city travel restrictions. If you typically plan to travel out of the country for vacation, consider whether or not you’ll be able to access border crossings. Also think about whether or not your family will have to self-quarantine when entering a new state or country, or even returning home from vacation.
The easiest way to approach this may be to start by looking at states that have the fewest cases, then see what cities might have activities your family will enjoy.
3. Road and Campground Closures
Every family has a different idea of what is “fun.” If your family generally prefers road trips and camping opportunities, you’ll need to be extra diligent. Families that venture into National Parks or National Forests are likely to find that certain popular campgrounds are closed or offering limited reservations. You might also have limited access to amenities, like restrooms.
If you’re planning to spend time in the outdoors for your vacation during COVID-19, plan ahead by checking if popular trailheads and parks are closed or have time restrictions.
The Top Modes of Traveling for Vacation During COVID-19
You must also carefully consider how you want to travel for your vacation.
This is what you need to consider when you’re planning to travel for vacation during COVID-19:
- Car travel: Your car may be a safer option for traveling during COVID-19, especially if you’re just traveling within the state or somewhere you can drive to in a day or two. Consider limiting stops to the essentials until you get to your destination.
- Air travel: You can still book a flight for a family vacation in some cases, though it will depend on state restrictions. You might even score some cheap flights because airlines want to fill their seats.
- Rentals: You can also rent a vehicle or an RV for your family vacation during COVID-19. Most companies have detailed guidelines on how they are cleaning their vehicles to help provide peace of mind about traveling with your family.
No matter which method you choose for travel, you can stay safe and have a much-needed trip with your family if you plan for any close encounters.
Things to Do for Family Vacation During COVID-19
Deciding where and how to travel for your vacation is just one part of planning during COVID-19. You’ll also need to do some research on activities for your family.
Cultural Exhibits and Art Galleries
A common activity on many families’ lists is visiting art galleries and museums in big cities. Depending on where you travel, you may still enjoy some of these cultural exhibits. You’ll want to research local guidelines as your trip gets closer.
In places like Los Angeles County in California, for example, the state started allowing people to visit outdoor museums and galleries in May. However, a resurgence of the virus could curtail your plans, so keep an eye on the local news.
Theme Parks and Fairs
Amusement and theme parks are some of the most popular destinations for family vacations. While some people may balk at the idea of the crowds after COVID-19, most parks are implementing procedures to minimize exposure and limit close contact with other people.
Parks like Disney World and Universal Studios are operating in a very limited capacity and with fewer attractions than normal, but that doesn’t mean your family won’t enjoy the experience, especially after months of lockdown. As with other activities, watch for changes in COVID-19 restrictions for your destination.
The good news about COVID-19 is that it’s a prime opportunity for your family to try out new activities, especially if you’ve had your eye on some outdoor adventures.
Look for travel destinations that have plenty of outdoor activities depending on what your family likes. Consider kayaking for kiddos that love water or look into a beginner climbing course if you’ve got a skilled tree climber on your hands. It’s a good idea to make reservations, if you can, too.
Safety Tips for Traveling During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Once you’ve narrowed down the right vacation for your family during COVID-19, there are still a few things you’ll want to keep in mind about making the trip as safe as possible.
Three safety tips for traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic are:
- Sanitize everything: It doesn’t matter which type of travel you choose, just pack the hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. You can use them in your car, on the plane, and especially in a hotel.
- Secure your mask: You’ll need to check local guidelines to determine whether you need to wear a mask or face covering. Make sure you pack extras and have a way to wash them.
- Practice social distancing: Even if you travel out of state or in an airport, do your best to stay six feet away from people that aren’t in your immediate group.
Of course, don’t forget to wash your hands. Wash them frequently when you’re out in public and keep an extra bottle of hand sanitizer with you in case you can’t get to a sink with soap.
How to Finance Your Family Vacation During COVID-19
Even with everything going on in the world, your family still deserves a vacation. And after spending the last three months cramped in the house, there’s a good chance your family will love anything you choose.
Make the most of your financial situation with a vacation loan. A vacation loan can offer you peace of mind about making those reservations now so you can treat your family (and yourself).
Looking for a way to pay for your family vacation? Mariner Finance has options so you can plan your dream escape.
†We offer personal loans from $1,000 to $25,000, with minimum and maximum amounts dependent on an applicant’s state of residence and the underwriting of the loan. Loans between $1,500 and $7,000 may be funded online. Loans greater than $7,000 or less than $1,500 are funded through our branch network. Specific interest rates and fees are determined as permitted under applicable state law and depend upon loan amount, term, and the applicant’s ability to meet our credit criteria, including, but not limited to, credit history, income, debt payment obligations, and other factors such as availability of collateral. Not all rates and loan amounts are available in all states. Not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rates or larger loan amounts, which may require a first lien on a motor vehicle not more than ten years old titled in the applicant’s name with valid insurance.
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*The process uses a “soft” credit inquiry to determine whether a loan offer is available, which does not impact your credit score. If you continue with the application process online and accept a loan offer, or are referred to a branch and continue your application there, we will pull your credit report and credit score again using a “hard” credit inquiry. This “hard” credit inquiry may impact your credit score.