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    Now that the vaccine roll-out is underway, many people are starting to think about traveling again. However, whether we like it or not, a post-covid vacation is going to look different than it did before.

    With that in mind, we have five tips for planning what’s likely your first vacation in a long time. Read them over so that you have a better idea of how you can plan to travel and still stay safe.

    Post-COVID vacation time: 5 things to think about

    1. Research local guidelines and restrictions.

    If there’s one thing that has held true throughout the entire pandemic, is that each destination has its own pandemic-related guidelines and restrictions. If you’re looking at international travel, it’s likely that the country you’re going to will have a uniform policy. However, if you’re thinking about domestic travel instead, be aware that COVID policies often change from state to state, and sometimes even on a local level.

    Luckily was kind enough to make a travel reopening guide. This spreadsheet tracker includes information about post-COVID vacation travel restrictions and quarantine rules for various popular travel destinations. In addition, it has information about whether popular tourist attractions are open and what their restrictions may be. Best of all, the site updates the tracker on a regular basis.

    2. Find flexible travel options

    Once you’ve picked your travel destination, the next step is to take care of the logistics. For example, you need to figure out how you will get there and where you will stay. In most respects, this process will not be much different than it would be normally. You’ll still want to book travel options that fit your lifestyle criteria and your budget. However, in this case, you should look to book flexible travel options whenever possible.

    Fortunately, there should be plenty of flexible travel options available. While most airlines and hotels already offer the option to purchase travel insurance for a small fee, this is one time when it might be worth taking them up on it. In addition, many tour providers are also offering the opportunity for fee-free cancellations. Do your best to look for those options so that you have the opportunity to cancel or reschedule your trip if need be.

    3. Plan socially-distant activities when possible.

    After many of the key trip logistics are taken care of for your post-COVID vacation, it’s important to think about what you will do while you’re on vacation. Here, the activities you choose will depend largely on the type of vacation you intend to take. However, whenever possible, it’s important to try and plan to do things that can be safely socially distanced. That way, you and the rest of your traveling pod can remain as safe as possible.

    Again, how you remain socially distant will depend on the type of activities that you will be engaging in during your trip. For example, if you are sightseeing, you may want to try and pick off-peak hours for your tours. On the other hand, if you’re going to spend the vacation laying on the beach, you may want to invest in a large tent or blanket that can help you stay distant from other beachgoers.

    4. Consider your meal options.

    The next thing to think about for your post-COVID vacation is your meals. In the current pandemic world, meals are often one of the toughest areas to negotiate while traveling. After all, since you have to take your mask off while you eat, it is a higher risk activity than most other things. Plus, each locality has its own guidelines for eating in restaurants.

    If you feel comfortable eating out at this juncture, your first step should be to research the indoor and outdoor restaurant guidelines where you are going. Figure out whether or not you feel comfortable eating indoors, and make reservations appropriately.

    With that said, if you don’t feel comfortable eating out, that is okay too. In this case, you may just want to make sure you book accommodations that will give you access to a kitchen. You will also want to look into where the nearest grocery store is in comparison to where you are staying. Then, be sure to block out some time to go grocery shopping at the beginning of your stay.

    5. Don’t neglect basic precautions during your post-COVID vacation.

    This should almost go without saying, but you should be sure to adhere to the basic COVID precautions during your vacation. By that, we mean making sure to wash your hands regularly, to wear your mask when you’re around strangers, and to remain as socially distanced from other people as possible.

    Before you go on your trip, it may be worth it to go shopping for some personal protective equipment. Make sure you have plenty of masks or face shields for your travel. In addition, be sure to grab plenty of hand sanitizer, especially if you are going to be traveling to a place where you are going to be around crowds of people. Restrictions are lifting and everyone is excited for things to get back to “normal,” but don’t forget to protect yourself.

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