In Washington State, lockdown measures were lifted in early May, but I have remained in self-isolation apart from mandatory grocery runs till now. As travel slowly started to resume and my travel bug wouldn’t budge, I decided it’s the perfect opportunity to plan a mini trip to a bucket list destination. This past week I took a road trip to Leavenworth, Washington, and spent three days exploring the small German village and surrounding area. This is a whole new way of travel and this is everything you need to know about traveling during the pandemic!
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To note: I understand that not everyone is inclined to travel, road tripping, or flying. During my entire trip, I wore a mask, followed social distancing guidelines, and any other protocols set by the various places I visited. We can all make the best decisions for ourselves, and this is my personal story and experience.
Before I traveled, I researched all of the travel restrictions for Washington state including mask and social distancing requirements. Also, I researched specific town guidelines for Leavenworth including operational hours for restaurants and shops! There were a few places on my list to visit that were not open during the time I would be traveling.
Planning is a huge time saver and I created an itinerary using my simple planning method (you can find my travel planning process here). Due to the pandemic, many restaurants and shops are choosing not to open until a later phase or have shorted their hours of operation. Be sure to keep this in mind when you are planning your trip!
After I created an itinerary, I wrote a list of supplies I needed before my trip! I included a product list at the end of this post with all of the necessary supplies you may need! Consider buying a luggage cover as it will protect your luggage from other hands touching it and it’s easy to throw the cover in the washer.
Lastly, don’t forget a laundry bag! All of the clothes I wore on my trip went straight into the laundry bag, even if I wore them once! I didn’t want my clothes to contaminate anything else in my luggage.
First and foremost, almost everyone I encountered on my trip was wearing a mask, even when walking outdoors! A mask must be worn in shopping stores, to and from dining tables, and when you can’t maintain a social distance of six feet outside. I highly recommend purchasing a reusable mask, you can find a variety of styles and designs on Etsy or Amazon. Reusable masks are easy to wash, cost-effective, and sustainable. Ensure your mask is 100% cotton so it’s nice and breathable! I have a couple of masks; therefore, I can wash them frequently. By wearing a mask, you are protecting yourself and those around you.
Floor decals, signs, and arrow stickers can be found in restaurants, shops and even outdoors to remind people of social distancing guidelines. Many stores have directional arrows on the floor with one-way aisles and all dining tables in restaurants are placed at a minimum 6 feet distance. At the hotel, one family used the elevator at time and people respectfully waited their turn.
In Leavenworth, the main road was blocked off from cars and small picnic tables were placed throughout the town. I noticed when people were wearing masks, they were less likely to maintain their distance from each other despite having the room to do so. For extra precaution and consideration of those around you, maintain distance when you can even if you are wearing a mask.
During my trip, I stayed at a hotel in Leavenworth and in Bellevue. Neither hotel provided in room sanitizing wipes; however, the hotel in Bellevue had hand sanitizing stations in each elevator and around the hotel itself. In Leavenworth, there were a couple of hand sanitizing stations down the main road of the town. All tables in restaurants were thoroughly wiped down between each customer, including laminated menus.
I highly recommend bringing your own sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer. Wipe down restaurant tables, airplane chairs, and hotel room fixtures before using them. Per the standard, always avoid touching your face and wash your hands frequently.
Dining + Hotel
As mentioned, before guests were seated, each table was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Open restaurants had limited dining and seating options due to social distancing requirements. As a result, waiting times for a table were longer! However, each restaurant offered a pick-up option, and many people utilized this.
When you arrive at a restaurant you must wear your mask to and from being seated and any other time you leave your table. At some restaurants, you order online from the table and at others, a waiter/waitress takes your order. I highly recommend investing in a picnic blanket if you plan to road trip, camp, or visit small towns. You can order to-go food, skip the wait, and enjoy a picnic anywhere you wish!
When I arrived at the hotel in Bellevue, I was given a welcome package with information about the virus and the hotel’s protocols, including a limited dining menu. There was no coffee machine, no robes, and no items in the mini-fridge in the room. All of the items that were removed from the room were available upon request. When I ordered room service, all of the food arrived in to-go containers with disposable silverware and plates. At the door, the tray was handed to me and the associate never entered my room. The instructions from the package I received asked us to either leave the tray in our room or request for it to be picked up, not to leave the tray outside of the door.
Most importantly post-travel, I monitored my health and symptoms. I’m feeling and doing great! If you choose or feel it’s necessary, get tested. If you’re feeling ill, please stay home or take the appropriate measures you feel are necessary to ensure your safety and those around you.
I disinfected everything that was in my luggage, especially if it came in contact with a counter or table! Also, I washed all of my clothes, from my handy laundry bag, even if I only wore them once! I did not want to risk anything in my suitcase being contaminated or bringing something home.
Must-Have Products When Traveling During the Pandemic:
- Hand sanitizer
- Sanitizing wipes
- Picnic blanket
- Beach chair – on sale!
- Camp chair
- Luggage cover
- Laundry bag
So, How Was Traveling During the Pandemic Really Like?
Not as scary as I thought! I appreciate and I am thankful for all of the measures that are in place to best protect us. I have not flown anywhere yet; therefore, I can’t speak to that. An important thing to remember is that not all airlines and hotels have the same policies. Do your research on the protocols and policies set by the hotels and airlines you are utilizing and the State/County you are visiting. For the latest updates on your County or State travel restrictions, visit the CDC website. I believe that this is a new way of travel that is going to stick around for a while! Although our international travels may be put on a pause, we have plenty of time to discover what is in our own backyards. Perhaps this really is the year of road trips!
Save me for later!