COVID 2021: Travel Tips
Planning to travel to the beach or other favorite vacation spot? What are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from Covid-19?
Visitors are returning to the Emerald Coast of Florida in record numbers! Some are getting in their cars, turning on a favorite playlist, and driving down. Others are catching one of the new flight routes to Pensacola and Destin. Everyone should plan on purchasing more groceries and supplies and expect to cook more because there are limited restaurant and bar options.
Many of the families bring their outdoor equipment so they can spend time on the beach swimming, snorkeling, collecting seashells, and soaking up lots and lots of “Vitamin Sea“! Or they may rent items to use during their visit. Feeling like they have spent plenty of time in front of screens, they want to be outside and free from technology to explore and experience nature.
Visitors should feel confident they are just as safe in their vacation rental as they are at home. Property management companies and hotels have updated their procedures and policies for cleaning and sanitizing units (more details about these procedures found below). Responsible companies and owners will post information about their cleaning procedures on their booking sites along with a door hanger or signage in the units.
The goal of this article is to help families identify steps they can take to keep their families safe. I am not a disease expert or have any medical training, I am sharing the steps I will take so that I can confidently travel again. You can choose to do nothing when you arrive, or you may feel even more steps are necessary—personal choice and personal responsibility.
CDC Travelers Health
Conduct daily temperature checks for family members 2 weeks before leaving for vacation. Check for headaches and body aches as well.
Be sure all vaccines are up to date.
Stock up on over-the-counter meds and be sure your prescriptions are up to date before traveling.
Pack only washable items, no items requiring dry cleaning.
Bring extra towels (minimum of 2 per person) for pool/beach.
Create a disinfecting basket or bag with supplies (disposable gloves, antibacterial wipes or spray and paper towels, hand sanitizer, hand soap, and Lysol or similar spray for soft surfaces) to use during travel (road trip) and for initial wipe down of the unit.
Also, include dishwashing detergent for machines and to wash by hand, as well as laundry detergent (or include in grocery delivery order so items are in the unit and available upon arrival).
A Household Set Up package is available on our order form that includes all these plus more.
Pre Order Groceries–no contact delivery:
We are committed to helping our customers START THEIR VACATION SOONER!
With the need for additional precautions and the typical travel day challenges, having your unit stocked with supplies is even more valuable than before.
During the entire process of shopping and delivery, we follow the guidelines of OHSA to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Some of these steps including wearing a mask while shopping, packing, and delivering. Cleaning and disinfecting vehicles’ interior before loading. Packing and transporting your items in bins and carts during delivery. Keeping bins on the cart or placing them on the floor, never on the countertops inside units. Countertops will be wiped with antibacterial wipes before items being unloaded.
As a licensed and insured Concierge Service, we gain access to the unit from the property management company allowing us to deliver your order BEFORE you arrive reducing the contact you have at stores not only with staff but also with other travelers and residents. This step alone may be one of the most important to minimize your exposure!
UPON ARRIVAL–STEPS TO TAKE
*** THE VACATION RENTAL MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION (VRMA) AND THE VACATION RENTAL HOUSEKEEPING PROFESSIONALS (VRHP) HAVE PUBLISHED THEIR CLEANING GUIDELINES FOR COVID-19. THE GUIDELINES CAN BE FOUND AT: https://www.vrma.org/page/covid19
Unloading Car: If using a community or property cart, treat it like a grocery cart and wipe it down before loading items onto the cart.
Elevators: Most companies intend to have wipes available by the elevators in the lobbies. However, if you are staying in a large complex with multiple elevators you may want to bring your own just in case the ones in the elevators run out. Also, try to use elbows or something other than your hands to touch buttons and hold doors when possible.
Front door locks: Wipe both the lock keypad and the knob or handle with an antibacterial wipe before using.
Unit Interior: Wipe/Spray as soon as arrive and daily after returning from outside areas.
- Focus on High Touch areas:
- Light and lamp switches
- Doorknobs (including the exterior handles—front door, balconies and patios; bathroom doorknobs, and closet door pulls)
- Bathroom and Kitchen sink handles
- Shower handles
- Toilet lid and flush handle
- Remotes (television remote, any smart remotes for closing drapes, adjusting fans, or turning off lights)
- Alarm clocks
Kitchen: Run all dishes through the dishwasher and wash and dry pots and pans. Or use paper products and single-serve items like beverages, chips, and snacks. Wipe cabinets and pantry shelves before putting groceries and paper products away. Also, wipe the top of the fridge if you intend to put items there.
Travel Clothing: Once everything is unloaded and, in the unit, remove travel clothes and wash them immediately. Wash all dish towels used in the kitchen.
Bedding: Most units have removed decorative pillows and bedspreads. Option for kids–bring your sleeping bags and pillow to place over the bedding. For adults, spray sheets with Lysol before use. Lightweight blankets might also be good to pack since you will not have spreads or comforters on the beds. Wash and dry sleeping bags and blankets before leaving the unit and immediately place them in the car, or pack and plan to wash along with all items in the suitcase upon arrival home.
Inside Unit–Set up areas for:
- Outdoor Gear (Chairs, Pool Toys, Floats, Umbrellas)
- Dirty Clothes, Swimsuits, Wet Towels
Place items in these areas when returning to the unit to keep away from the furniture and other clean items
Community or Resort Common Areas–Pools/Playgrounds/Gyms/BBQ Grills:
Although in the past you may have enjoyed “borrowing” board games or movies from the resort office, you will need to bring your games, cards, and DVDs as most of the properties will no longer provide these items for guests. Although sunshine is a natural disinfectant, outdoor toys may not be available in units with many owners opting to remove items as a precaution.
Check with the management company to see if Playgrounds, Gyms, and Game Rooms are open and if they have added sanitation stations in these areas. If not, you may want to skip or take extra precautions (wash hands, wash clothes, don’t touch your face), and avoid the area if you feel too many other guests are using.
Outdoor Grills should be treated like any other high-touch surface (Wipe the handles or tray areas before use). The heat from gas or charcoal will destroy any viruses on the grill surface so your food will be safe. I have always recommended using foil pouches or disposable grill trays for cooking and easy clean-up and encourage you to continue at this time. Also, consider purchasing several disposable table clothes ($1 at Dollar Tree) to place on outdoor tables if you plan to eat outside.
While on vacation the last thing you want to think about is cleaning, but in the current pandemic, maintaining a clean environment is one of the most effective steps you can take to keep your family members healthy.
Wash towels daily.
Wash hands frequently–Don’t touch your face (except to apply sunscreen)
Take hand sanitizer to the beach/pool to use if sharing chairs, umbrellas, toys, or other equipment.
Wipe down coolers with anti-bacterial wipes/spray before loading and after unloading each day.
Check with local authorities (Lifeguards, County governments) on regulations for party size
Maintain proper distance in common areas (elevators, pool decks, lobbies)
Practice social distancing guidelines when inside restaurants and stores.
Support Local Businesses
Order take-out to support local restaurants.
A list of restaurants offering takeout and delivery is available on chamber websites and social media posts.
Shop online with local stores if possible, for souvenirs, and follow occupancy guidelines at the stores.
Get out and enjoy the fresh air, the sunshine with sunscreen applied, and the saltwater! These may be the secret “ingredients” to destroying the virus!
If you would like to use Grocery Concierge to deliver your items to Navarre Beach, Pensacola Beach, or any of the areas in south Santa Rosa County, please contact us by email shopper@Grocery-Concierge.com or visit our website to complete an online order form. Orders are needed 3 days before check-in.