This article was written by guest author, Heather Greenwood Davis.
Chances are this summer’s vacation plans didn’t work out the way you expected. A pandemic has a way of interfering that way. But, as things have opened up in the last few weeks, finding a place to stay close to home has proven to be exactly the kind of break we are all looking for.
A few weeks ago, I partnered with Expedia.ca to see what travelling is like now. Was there a way to both stay safe and explore further than my block? Turns out the answer is yes. While travelling during a pandemic requires you to make smart choices and be careful, it is absolutely possible to get the break you and your family need.
Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Compare and Contrast online
When you set out to book your hotel on Expedia.ca, pay attention to the information about COVID-19 protocols. Most hotels are sharing up front what they are doing to keep you safe. While the bigger hotel chains are doing things like plexi-glass barriers at check-in and elevator passenger limits, you might be surprised to learn that some of the smaller hotels and inns are going above and beyond as well. Look for things like electronic key entry, decreased maid service or spaced out occupancy of rooms. And don’t hesitate to contact the places you’re considering. They really do want you to feel safe and secure when you visit.
Step 2: Think about the possibility of cancellation
It’s just a fact that the new reality means that sometimes either health and safety protocols or unexpected changes at home may mean you have to put off your trip. On the Expedia.ca site, you can filter your accommodation search by flexible and refundable rate policies. That means that if you do have to change or cancel, you’ll know exactly what to expect.
Step 3: Give some thought to what you need in your accommodation
The point is to stay at a place that feels like a home away from home. On our trip to Kingston, we opted for a smaller property with only 5-6 suites total. We also chose a spot that had a self-serve check-in and a private deck. In doing so, we knew we’d be reducing the number of people we were bumping into on site. Choosing a suite that had a kitchen and opting to bring our groceries with us, also meant we could do some meals at home and reduce unnecessary community interaction while saving some money.
Step 4: Choose your timing wisely
I’d say opt for mid-week trips over weekends to avoid bigger crowds and make social distancing a little easier. That also means you’ll want to book as soon as you can. We are all feeling like we need a getaway and you’re going to be surprised by how booked up some of the more popular accommodations might be. Once you have your dates in mind—book your space!
Step 5: Pick a destination that has plenty to keep you busy—and safe
It may be enough for you to swap your home for a hotel or cottage stay to start your road to relaxation, but chances are you’ll be looking for ways to enjoy your time outside of the building as well. We loved Kingston for this because it has a great mix of bookable tours (Trolley Tours, Kingston Penitentiary, Kayaking, Gananoque Cruiselines, and Ft. Henry) and no ticket necessary choices (Bike Rentals for the waterfront trail or hiking Rock Dunder) to allow us some flexibility in scheduling our time. Plus, we knew we’d eat well. With lots of patios and take-out options—including the best burger I have ever eaten at Black Dog Tavern—we could stay within our comfort zone at all times.
Bonus Tip: Pack for the worst and expect the best. Especially in this time when so many of our trips are road trips, you don’t have to worry about the extra bag you’re throwing in the car. Fill it with the things you’d use at home to feel safe: Wipes for counters, gloves for door handles, masks, thermometer and hand sanitizer. Bring it all. The worst that happens is you don’t need as much as you thought you did. The best that happens is that you have everything you need to enjoy the trip.
What are your top tips for a road trip?
About Heather Greenwood David