We’ve all been locked in for a while, plans canceled, etc. A summer vacation might seem like the ideal way to get over the quarantine blues.
Unfortunately, we all have to think very carefully about when, where and, yes, whether we should travel this summer.
The Key Factor
The key factor in your decision should be the COVID-19 numbers both where you live and where you are planning on going. As these are rapidly changing, it’s not a good idea to make long-term plans right now.
Case numbers are not the only thing to look at. This site gives effective transmission rates based on modeling for all fifty states.
Above 1 is bad. Below 1 is good. If possible, also look at death and hospital rates.
Bluntly, if your area has a transmission rate significantly above 1, you should not travel. (And should seriously consider staying home completely). If the area you are planning on going to has a transmission rate significantly above 1, then…don’t go there right now. Right now, I would definitely not even consider going to Arizona or Florida. That’s going to change. The pandemic is moving around.
It’s irresponsible to travel out of an area with a high transmission rate. You risk taking the virus with you on vacation and dropping it in a rural community that already has less in the way of medical response.
And if you travel to an area with a high transmission rate you run the risk of bringing it back with you. If you absolutely must, plan to self-quarantine for 14 days afterwards.
Your vacation is not worth the high risk of getting sick.
What About Overseas?
I’m going to be blunt here: Americans are not going to be welcome on the global stage until, oh, probably 2021. The Canadian border is closed through August. The EU is almost certainly going to recommend that member states exclude American travelers for right now. Some Caribbean islands are barring tourists altogether.
Save the overseas vacation for 2021 or 2022. I don’t plan on going to Europe until 2022 (in part because I have high-risk relatives I want to visit). Depending on how things look, I’m considering Canada for 2021, but if the border is still closed or there’s still a lot of transmission variance…
If you really want to go overseas, don’t book anything more than you have to in advance. Travel insurance is unlikely to cover you if you have to cancel because of changes in the rules, but may cover you if you are actually sick.
But I wouldn’t recommend it right now.
What is the Safest Vacation to Take?
But you really want to go somewhere? The safest vacation to take is probably a road trip to camp away from other people. (RV sales are up).
This might even be a great time to explore local destinations that you have never bothered with because they’re right there and you can always go to them.
Local state parks might be a great choice (avoid National Parks unless you can get good advice on where is really going to be uncrowded). National Forests are also a good option; people tend to kind of forget they are there in favor of places like Yellowstone and Yosemite. They can still be spectacular.
Check whether facilities are open (and please wear a mask if using a public restroom).
Taking a series of local day trips is probably better than an actual vacation right now.
I get it, we all want to get out there, but none of us want to get sick.
Don’t travel out of or into a hotspot. Avoid going out of the country. And look into local, off beat destinations which might offer a great trip without the risk.