How to Vacation Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic

mom hiking with her young children

Summer is here, and for many families, that means it’s time for a vacation.

But with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, traveling now comes with new risks. Taking the right safety precautions is more important now than ever before.

If you’re planning a trip this summer, here is what to keep in mind.

Outdoors are safer than indoors

Many beaches, parks and other outdoor spaces have reopened, usually with restrictions. If you’re looking to get away for a few days, consider taking a camping or hiking trip. Spending time outdoors is also great for your mental and physical wellbeing

Just remember, if you’re traveling to a popular tourist spot, it may be hard to observe physical distancing guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay six feet away from others who are not in your household.

Before you book your vacation, think about how crowded it’s likely to be. You might want to seek out locations that are off the beaten path instead. Or think about visiting during less popular hours and choosing activities that will take you away from crowds. For example, rent a kayak or paddleboard instead of playing mini-golf.

Take a road trip

Driving your own car is the safest way to travel right now. Pack a cooler full of snacks and drinks so you don’t have to stop for food. Make sure to have hand sanitizer and face masks with you for when you do have to stop. If you use cloth masks, bring extras with you in case you aren’t able to wash them every day. A good rule of thumb is to have a mask for every day that you are away.

This summer, think about traveling to see relatives and staying at their houses instead of a hotel or resort. If you have family members who are high risk, such as older family members or family members with pre-existing conditions, we recommend quarantining for a week before you travel to see them.

If you do have to fly, try to book a flight that’s early in the morning or late at night, when fewer people are flying. Wear a mask any time you are in the airport, even if you are in an area with relaxed restrictions, and while on the plane. Bring your own snacks and an empty water bottle or a thermos that you can fill up at the airport, and wipes so you can clean off your seat on the plane.

If COVID-19 is spreading in your area, or in the area that you plan to visit, consider postponing your trip. And if you are sick, don’t travel.

Consider “staycations” and day trips

The safest way to enjoy your summer is still by staying at home. But if you want to get out of your house, now is the time to plan some fun day trips. This way, you are still beginning and ending the day in your own home.

If you have kids, it’s time to get creative!  Rather than visiting public pools, set up a sprinkler in your yard for your little ones. Arrange play dates that are outside. The same thing goes for adults. Host gathering with friends outside instead of inside.

We know that after several months of stay-at-home orders, everyone wants a change of scenery and a return to normal life. But remember, we must do our part to protect others and ourselves and slow the spread of COVID-19.


Michael Remoll, MD, is the director of emergency services at Anne Arundel Medical Center.



Stefanie OsterlohStefanie Osterloh, CRNP, is a nurse practitioner at Doctors Community Practices at Crofton.