Travel

What It’s Like to Travel During a Pandemic

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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Leavenworth, Washington
Leavenworth, WA!

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. 

Pre-Travel

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. 

Travel during the pandemic
My travel buddy (aka my mama) and I wearing our masks!

Masks

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.

Social Distancing 

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. 

Sanitization

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. 

Social distancing floor decals in restaurant - travel during the pandemic
Social distancing floor decals in restaurant!

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. 

Post-Travel

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: 

Travel to Leavenworth Washington
A travel guide to this cute Bavarian town is coming soon!

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!

With love,

Meli

Save me for later!

28 Comments

  • Sharon Holmes

    I’m glad you had a good experience! Sounds like you were well prepared and very careful!
    It’s great to hear that people were wearing their masks. Very important reminder for people to include a laundry bag and to not re-wear their clothes.
    We have a short stay booked in August, for somewhere not far from our home here in the UK and are really looking forward to it!

  • Zori Bogard

    Thank you for sharing these tips and insights. Your pictures are gorgeous and make me want to go there! I am curious whether this destination was less crowded because of the pandemic, or typical for the time of year you went.

    • Withlovemeli

      Thank you! Leavenworth is a popular destination to visit during the Winter time, but since it was my first time, I can say if it was less or more busy. However, I visited from Thursday – Saturday, and Saturday was pretty crowded! We ended up leaving the town and exploring the surrounding areas to avoid large crowds of people.

  • Nathalia

    I’ve been doing quite a bit of road tripping with my partner as he travels for work. It’s been interesting during the pandemic to say the least. Things are about to shut down again in Texas, where out home base is so I’m not sure how it will be over the next few weeks. But previously we follow mask and social distancing guidelines, limit time in public indoor spaces, cook or takeout, and spend time outdoors at state and city parks.

    Nathalia | NathaliaFit – Fitness & Wellness Blog
    http://www.nathaliafit.com

    • Withlovemeli

      I truly believe this will be the year of road trips and it’s so nice that you’re able to travel with your partner! It seems like things are indefinitely changing during this time. Currently, everything in Washington remains as is, but we never know what tomorrow brings! Stay safe during your travels 🙂

  • Maiko

    Such a thorough guide! I’m still a little apprehensive to travel but this is great to know that you can still travel safely during pandemic:) Also love the masks they are pretty!

  • William

    Feeling like air travel will bring a new dimension to the idea of travel during the pandemic. A little nervous for our first flight. Liked your suggestion at the end to take the opportunity to explore your own backyard.

    Enjoyed the read. Take care.

    • Withlovemeli

      I’m so happy you’ve enjoyed the read! I agree, I too have not taken my first flight yet. However, I have a few close friends that have and say it’s less intimidating than they thought. For now, I’ll stay exploring my own backyard!

  • Brittney Fruge

    This is good!! I want to travel during this pandemic since I cannot really go to “public” places! Traveling while doing so safely seems to be the only thing we can do right now for fun and relaxation! 🙂

  • Martine

    Thank you, Meli, for the beautiful pictures of the “German” town and also this piece of advice. I cancelled all my trips (to Britain, to Berlin, to France…) as I was scared on how to travel during a pandemic without causing extra risk. But this gives my travel bugs some hope. 🙂

    • Withlovemeli

      It’s my pleasure! I had some plans later in the fall that were cancelled as well. Fuel your travel bug with some road trips or local travel! I’ve been discovering so many cute little gems I never knew existed around me 🙂

  • Taylor

    This is a great article! I started traveling domestically recently and found it to be safe as well. I like all the precautions hotels, flights and restaurants are taking to ensure guests are safe. 🙂

  • Katrina

    This was super informative! I haven’t travelled yet even though my province is in phase two of re-opening. It’s something I’d still be a little bit cautious of doing, but it’s great to hear that places have great signage everywehre regarding the rules.

    • Withlovemeli

      Thank you! I think being cautious is essential right now, both in traveling and everyday life. Many communities are doing a fantastic job at reminding travelers and locals of social distancing rules and guidelines. It makes a HUGE difference for keeping everyone safe 🙂

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