I wasn’t expecting to right a part II but seeing as the country might be reeling towards at least a partial shut down (thank you asshole anti-maskers) it seems like a good topic. You may have seen in a previous post that we are planning a road trip to Pennsylvania this winter break and, well, it’s still on (for now!) even though Pennsylvania (with just cause) is restricting things again. So I have updates & addendums from the last COVID Trip Planning blog post.
Read the Fine Print
This tip is always important but extra so if you are purchasing tickets or booking accommodations during COVID. Now that the global shock is over, most companies are being nearly as lenient with refunds (I don’t blame them). This means, however, that you may be out a lot of money if you are not careful. Both the AirBnbs we booked in Pennsylvania (our other accommodations are free through personal connections) can be canceled for a FULL refund until about Christmas Eve. This means that if December 20th Pennsylvania goes into total lockdown, I can pivot and not lose money.
I also plan to reach out to our hosts to see IF I needed to amend our booking (i.e. stay less nights because there’s nothing left to do) what would be the process/cost.
Read more: Why I love AirBnb
Know When to Quit
ugh…not something I want to include in a travel-related blog post but seriously: know when to quit. If the state you are traveling to request people from your state (hello Floridians!) to quarantine then I don’t know if a trip will be worth it (and don’t get me started on why you will NOT be a lawless asshole and disregard their rules!). I am watching Pennsylvania & COVID like a hawk to judge if it would be a good idea or not. If I am required to stay inside for 2 weeks then, quite obviously, I’m not going to spend the money on that.
Something I (half-jokingly) tossed around to Will is that we could travel to a “Trumper state” that wouldn’t put those restrictions on because they don’t believe in COVID because they’re ass-backwards conspiracy theorists. He, however, had a great counterpoint: we probably would be so uncomfortable with the lack of public health measures so we wouldn’t want to go. True, very true.
Is there an alternative? Yes. Travel your own state. They can’t kick you out. So worse case scenario we are going to do something, any thing in Florida.
Read more: My Orlando Travel Guide
Flexible (Outdoor) Planning
I like to plan a trip with a few “achor” items that are pre-booked and important, surrounded by lists of possibilities. With more COVID restrictions coming, it is important that those flexible possibilities are outdoors. You can’t shut down nature right? (well National Parks were closed for a while…so I guess you can!) Specifically for Philadelphia, I am thinking that we can spend more time in Amish Country if the museums I want to do in the city are closed. Even in the dead of winter, you can always do SOMETHING outdoors, so find out what is appropriate for your location and weather before planning.
Read more: Travel Tips: How to Plan a Balanced Trip
Related to the point above, many institutions like museums now require reservations and pre-booking to keep numbers low due to COVID. This means you cannot just stroll up to the Barnes Museum and walk in. Before I pre-book our museum visits I am going to read the fine print to see what happens if the government closes all indoor amusement. As much as I do not mind supporting the arts, I want to know ahead if my $50 museum entrance becomes an impromptu donation. Watching when tickets go on sale, how fast they sell out can help you keep a pulse on when/if to buy.
I think, even during a pandemic, part of life can “go on.” However, I want to make it very clear that Will & I are taking this very seriously, factoring in public health, personal and community safety, and we would never do anything that would put others and ourselves in danger. I know healthy people who have died of COVID. This is not a joke y’all.