How to travel safely during the pandemic

Our tips for navigating coronavirus and travel

Published August 2020


These are, dare we say it, unprecedented times. You’ve probably heard that phrase more often than you would care to over the past five months or so, but hey, it’s true.

By now, you’re probably feeling like a break from confinement is long overdue. And, you’re in good company. In our new study conducted this month, we received 1,800 responses and more than 92% said they were ready to travel at this stage in the pandemic.

Fortunately, there are ways you can stay safe while traveling, and make choices to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Hear us out.

1. Embark on a road trip.

There’s really no need to brave a germ-filled airport when you could load up the car and hit the open road. Our study found that 87% of respondents prefer to drive, and only 12% would consider flying right now. Most road trippers are sticking close to home, too. This summer, the average vacation driving distance is down 19%, or 73 miles, across the U.S.

Plus, by traveling via car, you can bring the whole family for a fraction of the cost. We found that nearly 40% of people are bringing kids along on their next vacation, while more than a quarter will have their dog in tow!

2. Pick a remote destination with plenty of outdoor activities.

Instead of traveling to the heart of a crowded city, head to a hidden gem where you can safely keep six feet between you and the next person.

The past two months, we saw a 3–4x spike in searches for "lakefront vacation rentals," and our recent survey confirmed that 75% of respondents want to vacation near a large body of water, with waterfront homes taking the lead (54%) as the most sought-after type of vacation rental.

When selecting your vacation spot, think about skipping the crowded restaurants and bars. Opt for more outdoor activities like hiking densely wooded forest trails, cooling off in the water, or biking through the mountains.

3. Keep tabs on local regulations.

Research local regulations and COVID-19 case count in the destination where you’re planning to travel. This will help you assess safety and understand potential risks. And, while you’re at it, stay apprised of new developments in your hometown in case the local government enacts travel restrictions that could affect your plans.

4. Choose a spacious vacation home that’s professionally cleaned and managed.

We may be biased, but we like to think professionally managed accommodations have become the standard for safe travel.

And, data shows the demand for properly sanitized vacation rentals is strong. In May and June, we saw a significant increase in Google searches for "vacation home cleaning" and “vacation rental COVID cleaning.”

At Vacasa, we outline our Vacasa Premium Clean program on our website to show consumers like you that safety is our top priority. Across our inventory, the vacation rentals we manage are cleaned to CDC standards, and we equip our valued staff with PPE and hospital-grade disinfectant.

5. When choosing your vacation rental, think about how to minimize exposure.

During your search for the perfect vacation home, look for options like contactless check-in and access to private amenities. Take it from us: you do not want to be touching a credit card machine, or get jammed in an elevator with 10 people right about now.

Also, make sure the vacation home you choose has essential features like a full kitchen, so you can avoid dining out and enjoy a home-cooked meal.

6. If you’re thinking of visiting local businesses, plan ahead.

Not all workplaces have the same measures and policies in place. Reduce risk of exposure by reading business reviews and calling to ask important questions that will help determine where you feel comfortable visiting well in advance of your trip.

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