Wipe. Mask. Space. = Safe. Safer. Safest. We’ve all become skittish about germs, but fun awaits on the road. You’re hyped to toss a suitcase into the trunk and head out for a week away from the everyday. Yet the world isn’t so post-pandemic that we can be completely carefree — even if you're fully vaccinated. Be safety savvy and use these travel tips to fully enjoy your family vacation without unnecessary risk.
Before you go, remember to check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for updates and advice before leaving home. Knowledge is power, so it’s best to have the latest info. If you're flying there, try these tips for safe flights. And while you’re there, follow these 10 steps to a safer RCI vacation and keep your family safe during your next adventure.
1. Choose Attractions Wisely
Even in the same destination, some attractions, museums, and events will take stronger safety measures than others. Select the ones that limit attendance, meaning they’ll let in only, say, 35 or 50 percent of the guests than they used to at one time. Smaller crowds let you keep away from people not in your group more easily. Look for mask mandates too, especially indoors.
2. Or Play Outdoors Entirely
Better yet, focus on activities in the open air. Water parks and swimming pools are relatively safe since, at the proper levels, the chlorine or bromine in the water can kill the coronavirus. Beaches, parks, outdoor amusement parks, go-kart facilities, cycling, rafting, boating, paddling, fishing, horseback riding, birding, performances held in amphitheaters, even walking city streets and attending open-air festivals with social distancing markers in place — you’ll have choices aplenty when the weather is warm. Tubing, skiing and tobogganing top the list in winter.
3. Use Apps
Most larger attractions such as theme and water parks have apps these days. They’re free, and might allow you to reserve your spot for rides, order lunch, pay for souvenirs, or buy photos of yourselves — from your own smartphone. Use these. Why touch people or machines when there’s an alternative?
4. Eat Under The Sun Or Stars
Leisurely romantic restaurant meals and big bustling family ones — they’ve always been a key part of vacations. Skip them for now unless the restaurant has patio or sidewalk seating. In summer, restaurants all around the country set up tables and chairs out the front or back door, or even in the parking lot. Take a table for just your group and you won’t need masks except when servers stop by. Alternatively, order takeout and bring those delicious dinners to your resort dining table or patio.
5. Carry Sanitizer
Even if you’ve always rolled your eyes at moms gliding Wet Ones over airplane seats and dining utensils, or squirting liquid sanitizer into toddlers’ hands before meals … be that person now. There’s no harm in wiping away bugaboos that can hurt you. Pack mini packs of wipes and containers of sanitizer into handbags and backpacks. Soap and water do the trick beautifully when available. Get five more essential packing tips.
6. Wear The Mask
Yes, even if you’ve defeated COVID-19 and/or have been vaccinated, wrap a mask around your nose and mouth when you’ll be close to people not in your traveling troupe. Others don’t know your situation, and new variants are still evolving. Masks are annoying but effective. Pack a few for each member of your party so you can ditch masks worn in crowded areas and re-start with clean ones.
7. Don’t Antagonize Strangers
Whether you’re pro-mask or anti-mask, you’re bound to encounter people of the opposite philosophy. If you’re uncomfortable, ask an employee to approach them or leave. Verbally accosting a stranger can be unpleasant, and it can also be harmful if fists come into action. It’s not worth the risk just to have your say.
8. Let Six Feet Be Your Guide
Foot markers in venues from cafes to roller coaster queues show where to stand so you’ll be at least six feet away from other guests. Use those markers as a guide. There’s no down side. No markers? Stay physically distant anyway.
Let’s say you enjoy the company of a fellow RCI family. You can barbecue dinners on nearby grills in the same area, then sit at neighboring picnic tables to chat. Or, gather around the fire pit, your crew clustered on one end, theirs on another. Same great conversation, cautiously orchestrated.
10. Skip The Gym
If you want to work off those extra ice cream cones or beers, rent a bike, take a hike, walk around the resort, or watch an exercise video in your suite. Although RCI resorts take strict precautions, indoor gyms are hard to keep sanitary since exercisers breath harder and sweat more than usual. Save your time on the treadmill and elliptical machine for a future visit.
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