As Florida continues opening in the wake of the COVID-19 situation, we find ourselves face-to-face with a somewhat undefined summer vacation. We are a family that loves travel, adventure, and exploration, and though we have the rough outline of a plan, we still don’t know what the next weeks and months hold for us. I’m just a bit of a planner, so not having a firm idea is disconcerting. Navigation of information will surely be frustrating, if not difficult, as plans and policies change, so it’s helpful to get ahead of the game if you can.

summer vacation COVID-19Stay On Top Of Your Research

Just because you might be ready to head off on your summer vacation, that doesn’t mean your destination is open to receive visitors. Some parts of the country are reopening more slowly than others, and there are some regions that aren’t opening at all. Be sure to visit the tourism or local government resources for your target location to stay up to date with openings, closings, and specific regulations. On the frustrating side, the information will probably be in a state of flux over the next days, weeks, and months as decisions get made. It’s also a  good time to look at your travel insurance and reservations, to familiarize yourself with any refund or rescheduling language and policies. Due to the unique nature of this pandemic, policies aren’t necessarily written in stone, but it can be helpful to be aware of what you’re dealing with before you start writing emails and making phone calls.

Be Considerate Of Your Destination

There are some larger, “tourist” areas that are pretty well equipped to handle an influx of guests and visitors. They have the hospitals and supply chains to support an increase in population, especially during typical vacation months. Smaller, or more remote, locations may not have the same infrastructure and, while tourism is a great boost to those economies, it can also present a strain to an already stressed system. If you know you are heading to one of these locations, please plan to be considerate to the locals. Bring in what supplies you can (especially cleaning and sanitation items like toilet paper and disinfecting wipes). Spend your dollars at local restaurants, but if you plan on doing some or all of your own cooking, try to pack in staples so as not to tax the local supply chain.

summer vacationCheck-In With The Attractions

Chances are, you’ll be visiting some attractions on your vacation. But what if they aren’t open or subject to limited hours due to COVID-19 restrictions? Or what if the attractions aren’t accommodating out of state guests at the moment? There’s no worse feeling than showing up somewhere fun with children in tow (especially with children in tow), only to find out you can’t gain access. Knowing this is in advance allows you to adjust your plans and expectations, as well as to mitigate disappointment. Plus, you’ll be able to plan for the advance purchase of tickets or reservations so you don’t get shut out of your must-see attractions.

summer vacation

Know The Rules

If your vacation is a go, make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules and the policies. Every state, county, and region will have different policies on things like masks and taking temperatures. When you know the rules, it allows you to be better prepared and things can proceed as smoothly as possible. You also have the opportunity to decide if the policies in place don’t work for you and your family, so you can adjust your plans as necessary.

Make The Best Of It

Right now, even the slightest deviation from the everyday routine is cause for celebration in my world. I know that our summer travel plans will undergo a huge overhaul, and while it’s not necessarily what we signed up for, it’s what we have. We are looking forward to new scenery, stimulating a tourist economy, and getting away from the heaviness of the last months. And we also understand that things could change again, leaving us to camp in the backyard or hit up some local staycation spots, and that will be ok, too.

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Jennifer
Jennifer was born and raised in New Jersey, moving to the Sunshine State to attend Miami (Go Canes!). After graduation, she began a decade-long career in Sports & Event Management in South Florida, but moved to St. Augustine to become a SAHM when she and her husband, Keith, were expecting their son. She and Keith are enjoying the crazy and rewarding adventure of parenthood with their middle-school-aged son, a grumble of pugs and a hedgehog. Jennifer holds leadership roles with both the PTA and BSA and believes in the power of community involvement and volunteerism. The family can be found traveling (both locally and worldwide), trying new restaurants, and toeing the start line of road races, near and far. Jennifer owns the blog Runs With Pugs and is a freelance writer and social media consultant.

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