By Wendi Rank
To me, there are few things as glorious as staying in a hotel or even a rental. Maybe it’s the escape or the discovery of a new space. Maybe it’s organizing my things in new territory or the inevitable luxury of being away from home.
Whatever it is, getaways are enticing.
Until the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are advising us to stay home. As a nurse, I’ve decided to follow that advice. If the lure of an overnight trip is your Siren song, the CDC asks you to consider exposure risk. Rates of COVID both where you are and where you’re headed should be weighed.
Consider how you’re getting there too. Destinations that can be reached by car – without stopping along the way – are better choices than those requiring travel by air or other public transportation.
If you decide to rent, here are some tips for making it a safer experience:
Tip #1 Check Your Destination
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland’s health departments all have dedicated COVID websites. Check these before and during your stay for updates on restrictions. Remember Philadelphia is marching to its own drum. Don’t assume the rules in other parts of Pennsylvania apply here.
Tip #2 Book Online
Book your reservation online to minimize contact. Mobile check-in, if available, should be used for the same reason. The CDC suggests looking for accommodations with mobile entry.
Tip #3 Ask Questions
The CDC also recommends knowing what’s in place before you go. How is your rental being disinfected? Are masks required in public areas? Are staff protected? Is room service contact-free?
Tip #4 You Can Take It With You
Bring everything you’ll need for your trip. This practice limits how many places you visit at your destination.
Tip #5 Think About Parking
You might need to pay for parking. Look into contact-free options before you head out. Consider too any valet or bellhop services. Ask what is available and how the hotel is keeping you – and them – safer.
Tip #6 Keep It Clean
It’s a good idea to disinfect high-touch areas once you arrive. Use bleach wipes on door handles, faucets, appliances, remotes – anything frequently handled. Leave everyone outside while you clean, and wash your hands well when you’re done. Disinfect again at checkout. The CDC website has guidance for disinfecting.
Tip #7 Mask, Socially Distance, Repeat
Mask and keep six feet of distance whenever you leave your rental. Avoid common areas like gyms. Use the steps, or take the elevator with just those from your household. Limit sightseeing and dining out. Keep everyone’s hands from their face until you’ve returned to your rental and washed up. Change clothes after each outing.
Traveling now is less about relaxing and more about enjoying who we’re with and where we’re headed. Adding a few simple precautions to your trip might keep everyone safer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wendi Rank is a Montgomery County native with a graduate degree from LaSalle University. She has worked as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She has previously written for the journal Nursing.