How to plan travel during a pandemic

Editor’s note: Ms. Gabrielle Farringer, business manager for the Connection, recently traveled with her family. From her experience, she shares helpful hints for the would-be traveler during the pandemic.


With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, it might be safe to assume that this would be the time to stay close to home. Travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic is not just feasible, but in certain ways can still be enjoyable.   

My husband and I recently traveled to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. We discovered, through trial and error, some great tips for traveling during a pandemic. While visiting both resorts, we noticed how stringent the entertainment facilities are about social distancing, hand washing, sanitizing, and mask wearing. At Walt Disney World, for example, the personnel are diligent about wearing a mask and the cast members will often reprimand people for either not wearing them or taking them off (even for a second) unless the patron is stationary while eating or drinking.  

Cinderella’s Castle greets you as you enter at Magic Kingdom. Photo credit: Gabrielle Farringer, Business Manager

We stayed at Pop Century Resort in Walt Disney World and at Loews Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. The room-provided TV programs that stressed safety and social distancing and the housekeeping never entered the rooms during our stays. We used mobile order for food delivery as much as possible and the lines at rides were spaced out between visitors but moved quickly. 

A huge positive about traveling during the pandemic is that so many travel destinations are offering discounts. Our flight was deeply discounted, as much as half off the normal price. During this unprecedented time, it can be more affordable to travel, now more than ever before.  

When planning a trip, check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, https://www.cdc.gov, to read about the number of cases in the area. It is also a good idea to check the travel restrictions, which can include quarantine restrictions upon arrival or after returning home.  

A replica of the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars movie franchise is featured at Galaxy’s Edge at Disney Hollywood Studios. Photo credit: Kenneth Farringer

Extra tips to keep in mind

Masks

Bring plenty of breathable masks for the trip, as well as hand sanitizer. The masks should be packed in a plastic bag or paper bag separately to avoid contamination. During our trip, our masks were kept in small plastic bags.  

While traveling, wear a mask over the nose and mouth. The CDC website states that people should wash their hands before putting the mask on and that it should fit snugly around the nose and mouth. The mask should be light and breathable with no exhalation vent. We discovered a good strategy for mask wearing, which is to bring along extra masks in your bag for the day.  

Gabrielle Farringer, Business Manager at TCC Connection, enjoys a hot day at Epcot Photo credit: Kenneth Farringer

Travel

If flying to the destination, leave early to give plenty of time to get through security. Consider that as time goes on, the flight may get crowded. Also, be aware that mask wearing is required at airports across the U.S.   

 In the case of driving to the destination, pack snacks to limit stops on the road. We drove to Eureka Springs, Ark. and Branson, Mo., this past summer. We planned our stops on the way to our destinations to increase social distancing. 

Overnight stay

A good idea if staying in a hotel or an Airbnb is to bring along extra sanitizing wipes to wipe down things like door handles, remotes, and phone. We wiped down the surfaces in the rooms before we unpacked.  

A reproduction of Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter movie franchise is one of many features at Universal Orlando. Photo credit: Gabrielle Farringer, Business Manager

Attractions

If traveling to a theme park such as Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando, take extra precautions such as bringing along extra masks. It can get hot in the parks and the masks may get sweaty and harder to breathe with during your walks in the parks.  Use mobile order to order food whenever possible to encourage social distancing.  

We enjoyed our vacation despite the circumstances and discovered that travel can be enjoyed during this critical time; it just takes some careful planning. 


You can follow along on the adventure via Farringer’s vlogmas series premiering on YouTube on November 27th!