While the Delta variant has many concerned right now, it isn’t squashing the thirst for vacation people have built up during the pandemic. Research out of Amadeus has found that not only are people booking plenty of travel, but they’re willing to spend more on it and booking earlier than ever. How are they accommodating for the risk of a resurgence of COVID-19? They’re just booking much more travel insurance, too, says the Amadeus data. With many Americans still working from home as a holdover from the height of the pandemic, The Harris Poll says many people are now open to something called the “workcation” – a sort of hybrid work/vacation where one travels to a vacation destination, still on the clock for work understanding they’ll just have to do a little work in between play. TSA numbers tell us that over 2,000,000 travelers went through their checkpoints on July 19, proving the Delta variant won’t be slowing anyone’s vacation plans.
Some people like to bop around boutique hotels and several cities on one trip, while others prefer the laid-back environment of a resort. Everything you need is there, from your meals to your activities to your entertainment and of course your accommodations. During COVID-19, some may even prefer the controlled environment of the resort, where they can depend on some safety protocols, compared to the chaos they may find when they head for the town. If you plan on staying at a resort while coronavirus is still at large, here are some safety tips to implement. And do keep in mind that, while vaccinated individuals are much less likely to get sick than unvaccinated people, the CDC does note that vaccinated people are, in fact, still getting COVID-19. So these tips are good to follow, even if you are vaccinated.
Book a property with casitas-style rooms
While resorts with sky-high towers and penthouse rooms can be fun, they also require one to spend a lot of time inside, in recycled air, and in elevators just to get to your room. When considering which resort to stay at, look for one with many smaller structures rather than a massive tower. Casitas-style accommodations might even mean having your very own cottage, with no shared entrance. At the very least, you may find resorts that have several two- or three- story structures, each with only a handful of rooms in them. Staying at a property like this reduces the time you have to spend indoors with others in hallways, elevators, etc.
Skip the cocktail add-ons
Is it even a real vacation without a colorful, fruity cocktail in-hand? (Or a virgin cocktail for the non-drinkers out there). But perhaps skip the little add-ons like the pineapple wedges, orange slices, or olives. If these sit in exposed bins on the bar top, other guests might have put their hands in them. They also account for the only thing you might consume that the bartender put their hands directly on. On the topic of cocktails, make use of the cocktail servers circling the pool and put orders in with them, rather than crowding around the bar, shoulder-to-shoulder with potentially unvaccinated individuals.
Dine al fresco, at the hotel
Most resorts offer plenty of beautiful outdoor dining space. And if you are at a beach or desert resort, you should make use of the gorgeous views anyways. So dine outdoors if the weather allows. If the outdoor dining is too crowded, you can also take your food to go and eat on the beach, or on one of the benches around the property. Remember that only your resort can promise you any sort of COVID-19 precautions, such as employees taking regular COVID-19 tests or having their temperature taken. Once you venture off the resort to dine, you cannot guarantee outside food vendors have taken precautions. So lean into the resort life, and eat on-site.
Choose a la carte dining
Buffets are coming back in some places. Golden Corral has over 300 locations currently open, and recently put out a statement on how they are keeping customers safe during the pandemic. You may find that the buffet at your resort is open. However, your resort likely also has several a la carte restaurant options, as well as an a la carte menu at the buffet. Buffets are tricky. You stand close in line with strangers to get your omelet. People touch several muffins before choosing the one they want. The silverware is exposed in piles for people to cough on. If you are trying to be extra-safe, maybe avoid buffets for now.
Sanitize rented gear
There are often plenty of activities to try at a resort, from snorkeling to scuba diving to parasailing. The great thing about these is that they’re outdoors, usually naturally socially distanced, and pretty COVID-safe. However, some of these require you to rent gear from the resort that was previously used by other guests, like snorkel and scuba diving gear. Be sure the staff thoroughly sanitizes any rented gear before handing it to you. You may want to keep antibacterial wipes with you to additionally sanitize gear. Some resorts have sanitation guards they’re adding to gear, that are replaced with each new user.
Mask up for indoor entertainment
If you plan on enjoying some of the indoor entertainment offered at the resort, like live music or magic shows, mask up when not at your seat, or when a server approaches your table. Ask to be seated away from crowded areas. If you get up to use the restroom, put on your mask. The best choice though is to seek outdoor entertainment. The concierge can provide you with a list of shows happening during your stay, and you can target the outdoor options. Remember that even if you are vaccinated, others at the resort may not be.
Minimize housekeeping services
Some resorts may notify you that housekeeping services are restricted to when after guests check out, per COVID-19 protocols. However, other resorts may be offering full housekeeping services. If you are visiting a foreign country that hasn’t had adequate access to the vaccine, the staff may not be vaccinated, which means the housekeepers who enter your room may not be vaccinated. Depending on the length of your stay, consider not having a turnover service while there. You can conserve water by reusing towels and sheets, and do your part for the planet. And in doing so, you limit the risk of an infected staff member entering your room during your stay.
Sit with (just) your family
Some resorts like to encourage guests to get to know one another, and they might do this by trying to seat your party at a table with another party for dinner or for entertainment. But it’s safest to sit at a table with just your family. You might meet other guests you like at the resort. You can go for beach walks with them, or hang out by the pool with them. However, you may not want to cram shoulder-to-shoulder at a restaurant or entertainment venue table with another family if you don’t know whether or not they’ve all been vaccinated.
Take a walk
Get in a little exercise while at the resort by walking from one place to the next. You can get in a lot of steps by walking from the lunch restaurant to the beach to the afternoon horse riding lesson and back to your room. Plus, as far as COVID-19 goes, it’s a safer alternative to hopping onto the shuttles circling the property. These might be packed with other guests, and filled with recycled air. If the resort is so large that walking around isn’t sustainable, ask if the resort has scooters or bicycles that you can rent during your stay, to get around the property.