travel,  United States

Traveling In The Age Of COVID-19

This year vacation planning is looking a little different for me. Usually during the year I have 1 big trip. Luckily last year I had 3 (Cruise, Australia and New Zealand, and Prague) so I should not be complaining that this year I do not have an extremely large travel trip planned due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Prior to COVID-19 a group of my friends and I did plan a trip to the Hamptons to celebrate 4 of us turning the big 4 0 this year. We wanted to go somewhere that none of us have been before and somewhere that would allow those with children to shorten the length of stay and easily travel home if need be. We settled on the Hamptons in July, found a place on VRBO, book in October, and began to get excited, 2020 was going to be a big year! Then March comes roaring in and so does COVID-19.

At the start of what is now the pandemic we decided to play things by ear. Schools were only closing for a few weeks, work from home orders were only going to be a few weeks. It hopefully won’t be that bad. Some people in the group were supposed to be traveling in March and we watched as those plans were canceled. Then came April and the number of cases and deaths were climbing, especially in New York. School closures and work from home orders were extended, restrictions on going out were put into place. We all kept our eyes and ears to the news keeping up with the daily changes and and also keeping an eye on Governor Cuomo’s press conferences, but we stayed the course hoping that the curve would flatten and the world would be in a better place come July (4 months down the road).

In mid May we had the discussion – do we still want to go? Do we feel comfortable going? The property that we rented is located on the bay with a private beach, a pool, gym, and water toys (think kayaks and paddle boards). We were planning on cooking meals for the majority of our stay anyway so the situation with COVID-19 wasn’t ruining any of our plans in that sense and since the property was somewhat secluded we didn’t have to worry about interacting with people outside of our circle. All of us have been cautious during this time – some of us have only limited our circle to our immediate families, some still have to work outside of their home but the profession they are in allows limited interaction with other people and must where face mask, and others expanded the circle to include those going on the trip. We felt comfortable that we were not potentially exposing each other to the virus. Also, we are close enough that this is a driving trip for us – no air travel is required.

We contacted the owners of the rental property (who live in New York and are doctors) what their thoughts on renting the property. They stated that they would allow us until June (a month prior to our arrival) to decide if we wanted to cancel the reservation. At that point they stated that from March until mid May no one had entered or stayed at the property. Also, the week prior to our stay no one had rented the property and they were having professional cleaners coming into the property to clean and sanitize before our arrival. Knowing that no one would be staying at the property the week prior to our arrival had eased a lot of our minds.

Here comes Memorial Day weekend, things here in the Northeast are starting to open up again – beaches are opening, outdoor dining is starting, larger gatherings are being allowed, Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings are not being broadcast nationally – things are looking hopeful. We were happy with our decision to stick with the rental. We put together our list – of course included hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and disinfectant cleaning sprays – and got to shopping and packing!

We are now a week away from our trip, 4th of July is around the corner and we are hearing that the number of cases are on the rise again in several states. If entering New York to stay if you are one of the 16 states listed you have a mandatory 14 day quarantine – luckily since we are coming for one of the Northeastern board states we do not have to quarantine. Moving to green phase has eased a bit – indoor dining is not allowed in the city I live nor will it be available in New York state. We are keeping our eyes and ears on the situation right up until we hit the road and head to the Hamptons.

We are still planning on cooking the majority of our meals at the house, we have reservations for one outdoor dining night, and are brinigng our face masks and planning on limiting our time around others. We are still being cautious and not taking risks.

Even though we will be in the house most of the time – this doesn’t mean that we aren’t treating this as special trip. One of my friends is planning a special birthday dinner surprise for those who have turn (during quarantine) or about to turn 40. We are requested to where some of our finest and treat it like we are going to a party. Not only that – the point of this trip is to be together and enjoying each other and that is just what we are planning on doing.

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