Last year saw most family vacations canceled and postponed to an uncertain future. Combine that with quarantine and lockdowns, kids doing virtual school at home, parents working from their kitchen counters, and the result is an overwhelming sense of needing to get out and do something. But now that travel restrictions are easing, what does travel look like, and which destinations are the best choice?
First, let me preface this by saying if you still do not feel comfortable traveling there is no judgment here. Every family has to make a personal decision for what works best for them. It is absolutely important for you to feel comfortable while on vacation because anxiety and relaxation do not mix well! But for those who are interested in planning a vacation with their family, here are the destinations that I would recommend.
Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando
If you are concerned about flying then choosing a domestic vacation destination might be the best option for you. Both Walt Disney World and Universal are doing a fantastic job keeping their guests safe with new precautions and safety protocols. This includes requiring everyone to wear a mask and social distance. What I really appreciate about these theme parks is that they are actually making sure every guest complies. They are not afraid to remove guests who refuse.
What to Expect
When you arrive at the parks your temperature will be taken. Lines for rides are spaced out with six feet between parties. Seated entertainment has guests spaced out in alternating rows and with gaps in between groups. Sit-down restaurants have spaced-out tables. Quick service restaurants require mobile ordering and you are only allowed into the building when your food is ready to pick up. Entertainment that would normally draw a large crowd has been temporarily canceled or re-imagined in ways that space out crowds. Even the bus transportation is socially distancing riders, which sometimes means waiting a little longer for a bus. However, it also results in a much more comfortable bus experience.
In addition, there has been an increase in handwashing stations, and hand sanitizer stands and rides are regularly sanitized throughout the day. Room service at the resorts has added additional sanitizing measures and no longer enters your room daily but will bring you fresh supplies as needed. This is all on top of the parks instituting a strict reduced capacity limit, even lower than what the state of Florida has mandated. The benefit of this is that the parks are less crowded than normal and ride times are not as long. If you dread going to theme parks because of the crowds then this is a great time to go and experience these destinations in a whole new way!
All-Inclusive Resorts in Cancun or Punta Cana
Mexico and the Dominican Republic are my top suggestions for those families looking for a tropical, beach resort vacation. Neither of these countries are requiring a Covid test in order to travel there, but they do require completing a health declaration form. I should note, though, that all travelers to the US are required to submit a negative Covid test result before boarding your plane back home.
But What Is International Travel Like Right Now?
Masks are required on all flights as well as in all airports, and airlines have increased sanitization measures. Once you arrive at your destination airport you will have your temperature taken and you will have to present your health form. Hand sanitizer is available everywhere and social distancing has been implemented in all lines and public gathering areas. Private transportation is a great option for getting to your resort. Should you choose a shared shuttle there is social distancing enforced on those as well.
When you arrive at your resort the staff will sanitize your luggage before bringing it to your room. You will have your temperature taken again and be required to fill out a health declaration there as well. The staff at the resorts are all required to wear masks at all times, however, once on property guests are not required to wear a mask unless social distancing is not possible. But with lower capacity and lots of wide, open outdoor spaces, social distancing at a beach resort is really quite easy to do.
Final Tips & Recommendations
I only recommend premium, all-inclusive resort brands right now. As they are doing the best job of reducing capacity at their resorts. They are implementing increased cleaning and sanitization efforts, and most are offering free Covid testing on-site for your return flight to the US. The staff at these resorts is very appreciative of anyone who visits as tourism is their main source of income. You can feel the love and gratitude from them and they are doing everything they can to give all of their guests a fabulous vacation experience.
I can not stress how important it is to use a Travel Agent. Especially in these current times, to make sure you are up to date on all the restrictions and procedures. A Travel Agent will also give you the best advice on which destinations will work for your individual priorities and concerns. While we are still dealing with this pandemic and safety precautions should be taken, it is possible to travel and have a fun and relaxing vacation with your family. That is if you do it smartly and are equipped with the facts.
is a family vacation travel expert and plans amazing vacations for her clients with her agency, Mystical Dream Travel. Connect with her for all your travel questions and needs at Facebook.com/colleen.mysticaldreamtravel