The world is changing everyday. Those changes impact the travel community and how most of us are moving (or not) around the world. Most of us don’t know how to travel during covid, or if we can travel safely during covid. Nearly two months ago I made the difficult decision to move to Mexico and it was the best decision I could’ve made for myself emotionally, mentally, and financially. I’d been sleeping on the floor at my moms house for months. Wondering when and if my work projects would be rescheduled or canceled indefinitely. Worrying about the unarmed Black people being murdered by the police across the country. Wondering if I or someone I knew would be next.
The United States wasn’t where I wanted or needed to be so I had to create a plan to change my environment. After looking into countries open for American tourists I learned that Mexico had remained open during the pandemic and was still offering a 6 month travel visa on arrival. Which sounded like a dream to me, since I’m used to being in countries with one month travel visas.
I did some research before I left the U.S. and took notes during my travel so I could share some helpful tips. As always, it’s important for you to do your own research. Since I shared this in my Instagram Stories the CDC has dropped the 14-day Self Quarantine Recommendation for Travelers. So I’m sure there have been other changes and updates since my flight two months ago. This is just another reminder that this virus is new! We’re learning more about it everyday.
People often forget that you don’t have to board a plane to catch Covid. You can contract Covid-19 at work, at home, or at the grocery store. Every time you step foot outside of your home you are traveling. The key to figuring out how to travel during covid is determining your comfort and anxiety triggers and navigating those.
Even those deciding to travel have anxiety about doing so. There’s so much uncertainty and so much still to learn about this virus. There is risk in nearly everything we do, as well as actions we can take to minimize those risks. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing!
I decided to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles for a portion of my trip. Which meant I had to stop to use the restroom and get gas. While I was on my road trip many public bathrooms were closed or using new standards. I also decided to take the scenic route and drive through a State Park. Which meant less access to gas stations. As a Black, solo, female traveler my last wish is to be stuck in the woods, alone, at night, with no gas. So I did everything in my power to prevent those things. All it took was a bit of planning.
The flight from San Francisco to Mexico was 30 hours long and included 3 layovers. I don’t like doing more than 2 layovers when there’s not an airborne virus plaguing the world. So I wasn’t going to start now! I just didn’t think it was safe to be around an airport full of people for 30 hours. Especially after hiding out and having nearly no contact with people outside of my family for four months. My road trip down to L.A. was to help minimize my contact with others.
I was an anxious mess on my flight. Which for me, looks like a hoodie, an eye mask, two face masks, and my headphones. I brought snacks and a refillable water bottle, but was too scared to remove my mask in public. So I didn’t eat until I was in Mexico in an outside public area social distanced. Most airport restaurants and shops were closed when I was traveling. The ones that were open had ridiculously long lines. So be sure to give yourself enough time to wait in line, or bring what you need. There was no in-flight snack or water service during my flights. I was given a snack pack as I boarded the plane with crackers and a small bottle of water.
I flew on American Airlines from Los Angeles to Mexico and there was no social distancing policy on my flight. Actually, both of my flights were full. Some airlines are still social distancing on flights but it’s become more rare with each passing day. Travelers are juggling their want or need to be in a different place with the fear of exposure and contraction. Which is evident in behavior, or at least I’d like to think that people wouldn’t act this way if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic!
For example, on one of my flights the many next to me was dipping. He had a piece of tobacco in his cheek and every few minutes he would duck down, remove his mask, and spit into a water bottle. We all know to refrain from using tobacco products on a flight. So I want to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, and say that the dipping was helping his flight anxiety.
As I previously mentioned, this recommendation from the CDC has now been changed. But I don’t see any harm in taking extra precaution. Those suggestions focus on how to travel during covid using public transportation. Below are road trip suggestions for those who want to get away.
On the Road Again
If you’re not ready to catch a flight but still want to see the sites. Here are some options of things to do in your state! Grab your keys and go for the day or longer depending on your budget and availability.
Travel Back in Time
Drive-In movie theaters remind me of yesteryear. More specifically, I get a visual of the singing and dancing snacks at the Drive-In movie theater in the movie Grease (“Would you pull that crap with Annette!?”) Find a theater near you with this list of Drive-Ins throughout the United States. Just don’t get “Stranded at the Drive-in”.
Bring some quarters for the jukebox and let the music take you back. These are The Best Diners in America according to Food & Wine Magazine. Something I like to do when road tripping is check out the locations featured on the reality food show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. See if there’s a place near you. They probably offer delivery or pick-up. If you’re going on a road trip check if any of these locations are near your destination.
Escape into Nature
There’s nothing like the feeling of being surrounded by nature. It’s calming and healing. Finding a secret swimming hole is the thing dreams are made of and ideal during a pandemic! The thing about being a travel blogger is, the places I visit aren’t a secret for long. This list of The Best Swimming Holes In Each Of The 50 States is a great starting point. Let me know if you find any new secret spots!
Take the long way. During my move to Mexico I decided to minimize my layovers and contact with others by driving part of the way. I decided to take the scenic route and took the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). I visited Big Sur for the first time and got to smell the salty ocean breeze for the first time in months. Here’s a list of The Best Scenic Drive In Every State.
The Strange and Macabre
If you’re interested in the strange and macabre look for roadside attractions near you. The list of The Strangest Roadside Attraction In Every State is a bit different to the The Weirdest Roadside Attraction in Every State. Both are a walk on the strange side.
Ghost Towns and abandoned places are another option for a free or low cost self-guided tour. I would suggest listening to podcasts or stories about the places before you visit The Creepiest, Coolest Ghost Town in Every State. This list of The Eeriest Abandoned Place in Every State will give you a some variety. It is the spice of life after all!
Safe At Home
If all of these suggestions about how to travel during covid have you on edge, don’t worry! I have some suggestions on ways you can bring the world to you!
By this point most if not all of us have had either food or supplies delivered to our homes. There are some great Meal Kit services and subscription boxes that can bring the flavors of the world to your front door!
Meal Kits like Gigamunch ($28) give you an authentic taste of a new country every week. Each Gigamunch dinner is an immersive journey to a new country. They work with local immigrants and refugees in Nashville to give you an authentic taste of a new place.
If you’ve never tried a Meal Kit delivery service and are wondering what’s The Best Meal Kit Delivery Services for Every Kind of Cook? Here’s all the info you need. It could be a fun way to try new foods and recipes without having to go out and search for the ingredients.
These subscription boxes range from snacks to meals and all of them offer an international travel flair. These are some of the most affordable, practical and safest ways to travel during covid.
Try The World ($39) delivers the best products from the greatest cities in the world, to your door! A delicious selection of 7 to 8 international gourmet delicacies — delivered to your doorstep every month.
Up & Away Adventures ($40) is a family friendly, educational virtual travel experience that includes games and activities. Each suitcase focuses on one country and comes packed full of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and things to touch, guaranteed to stimulate the senses.
Try The World Snack Kit ($19) is a curated a selection of favorite treats from the Try The World boxes. A delicious selection of all-natural snacks from around the world — delivered to your doorstep. 6 snacks. 6 countries. Every month.
Treats ($14) offers international snacks from a new country every month!
Universal Yums ($15) Each month, you’ll receive a box of unique, delicious snacks from a different country delivered right to your door. No repeats! 0% Yuck, 100% Yum.
Spice Madam ($20) is your one-way ticket to experiencing the world! Explore, discover, and experience a new destination each month through a monthly curated box of spices, recipes, themed music and fun facts from each featured country.
SpiceBreeze ($9) Discover delicious meals from around the world with minimal time and effort. Includes simplified recipes, global fun facts, and freshly ground pure spices – pre-portioned for easy cooking and no waste. No rare ingredients required.
Atlas Coffee Club ($9) brings you coffee from around the world, including micro-lot coffees from Tanzania, Kenya, Colombia, Peru and more. Select a biweekly or monthly delivery schedule, and you opt to have your beans ground or whole.
Those are my suggestions on how to travel during covid and most important how to travel SAFELY during covid, Again, only you know your comfort level and anxiety triggers. So pay attention to how you feel every time you leave your home.
Do you have suggestions or a travel story to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.