HOW TO SAFELY TRAVEL TO THE FLORIDA KEYS DURING A PANDEMIC
Maybe you have vacation days to spend. You want to go somewhere, but you also want to stay safe. Getting on a plane or staying in a large hotel might not be your best move right now. So, how can you feed your need to get away to the warm sunny shores of Florida, and still keep yourself and your family safe? The answer lies in a good old-fashioned road trip!
ROAD TRIPS ARE THE BEST OPTION, IF YOU DO THEM RIGHT
If you’re planning a driving trip and your region lifts its coronavirus-related restrictions, consider these tips from the experts for staying safe and lowering your risk of getting sick both on and off the road.
Plan Your Route
Now more than ever, preparation is key. Do your research and map out what stops you will make while on your way to your destination. Match up a destination with your favorite activities. Once you’ve zeroed in on the best places to hike or kayak, or to partake in other outdoor activities that lend themselves well to social distancing, check the proximity from these activities to the nearest independent Inn or Bed and Breakfast. Staying at one of these properties can be one of the best decisions you’ll make while traveling during the pandemic. By booking accommodations at an Inn or Bed and Breakfast, you can skip the crowds at the hotels, making social distancing easier.
When you’re considering the stops on your route to the Florida Keys, the CDC suggests taking these factors into account:
• Whether COVID-19 is spreading in your community or the area you’re visiting. If so, you may have a higher chance of becoming infected or infecting others.
• If you or a loved one who is remaining at home has an underlying condition that might increase the risk for complications from the disease.
• If you’ll be able to maintain a 6-foot distance between yourself and others during travel and at your destination.
• Whether the destination or your home state requires that visitors quarantine themselves for 14 days upon arrival.
Before you depart, make sure your car is in good shape; consider having it serviced or inspected if you have any doubts. Map out the roadways you’ll be taking and the states you’ll be passing through, and be aware of any relevant travel advisories.
The Federal Highway Administration maintains a directory of state transportation department websites, which should have the latest information about state-specific coronavirus-related changes along with links to other state resources such as traffic and weather alerts.
PACKING PANDEMIC SUPPLIES
Next, get your supplies in order. This includes products for keeping hands and surfaces clean and sanitized. Geriatrician June McKoy, associate professor of medicine at Northwestern Medicine, recommends packing hand sanitizer, disinfectant wet wipes, disposable gloves, sealable disposable plastic bags, and tissues.
Clean that car! Perhaps even more dangerous than sitting on a plane, is sitting in a rental car. If you rent, make sure to wipe down and sanitize surfaces. Open the windows and doors and give the car time to air out for five to 10 minutes. Wear disposable gloves while pumping gas, rather than worrying about wiping down the nozzle itself (after you’re done, discard the gloves in a nearby trash can or seal them in a plastic bag for disposal later). Pay for gas with cards, not cash. This eliminates the face-to-face interaction necessary for a cash transaction, and cards, unlike cash, can always be cleaned with a disinfectant wipe after use.
Stock up on snacks. Pack a cooler filled with your own snacks and bottled water. This will help cut down on stops during your trip. You never know what will be available at your destination.
Pack a pandemic preparedness bag. Fill your bag with masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, basic first aid supplies, and a thermometer. Fever is the most common Covid-19 symptom, so bring a travel thermometer to monitor your temperature. Carry isopropyl alcohol wipes and use them to wipe down your phone. Major smartphone manufacturers say they won’t harm devices.
Innkeepers understand that these are still uncertain times and there’s now enhanced caution surrounding cleaning protocols. That’s why they’ve made it a priority to ensure their inn provides a clean, safe haven for guests. Below are some ways Inns and Bed and Breakfast hotels are more pandemic appropriate for your family.
They place a welcome letter in each room describing what they did, along with a disinfected room key as an added effort to reassure guests.
Disposable coffee cups and water cups or bottles.
Staff will not enter guest rooms during a stay for housekeeping purposes unless directly requested.
Inns and Bed and Breakfast staff comply with state mask laws. You should always bring your own mask to use in the common areas, but if you forget, most properties have a mask amenity and will provide one for you to use during your stay.
Most Inns will ask that you maintain social distancing in addition to wearing your mask in all common areas.
Innkeepers will ask that you stay home if you’re exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19, or have been around others who are sick. Many are including that in their booking policies.
Make sure the Inn has your correct mobile number, as many are now using text messaging to continue to provide great service while minimizing social contact. This often includes self check-in and checkout procedures for a contactless experience.
AREAS OF INTEREST
Florida Parks are a great place to visit during the pandemic and are conducive to maintaining social distance. State parks like Bahia Honda, Long Key, Curry Hammock, and John Pennekamp are some of the best stops from Miami to Key West while Dry Tortugas National Park at the very end is a rarely visited treasure. In addition to beautiful parks, the Overseas Highway is home to several historic sites such as The Ernest Hemingway House and Key West Historic Seaport.
The Keys are also home to some of the most beautiful and historic Inns and Bed and Breakfasts in which to stay, including Westwinds Inn Key West, Key West Bed and Breakfast, and The Mermaid and The Alligator to name just a few. My Favorite Inn is a great resource to help you pick the best Independent Inn for your getaway!
After months of closures due to COVID-19, these Innkeepers will be excited to see you and your family! Let My Favorite Inn help you come to your senses. The waves lapping, sand between your toes, and crisp coastal air will recharge you. The steam rising over a plate of fresh shrimp or a day on the ocean as a big fish pulls at your line will give you renewed energy and joy. Let us help you experience the sights and sounds of Florida’s beautiful coastline and their historic Inns.