CORONA VIRUS 2020: TRAVEL TIPS
When restrictions are eased and travel begins again, what are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from Covid-19?
The prediction is that most visitors will return to the Emerald Coast of Florida by getting in their cars, turning on a favorite playlist, and driving down. Many are going to pack much more of their groceries and supplies either because they have already stocked up on nonperishable items or because as much as they want to get out of their own house, they expect to cook more and want to be prepared for limited restaurant and bar offerings.
In addition to groceries, many of the families will bring their outdoor equipment so they can spend time on the beach swimming, snorkeling, collecting seashells, and soaking up lots and lots of “Vitamin Sea”! Feeling like they have spent plenty of time in front of screens, they want to be outside and free from technology to explore and experience nature.
Visitors should feel confident they are just as safe in their vacation rental as they are at home. Property management companies and hotels are updating their procedures and policies for cleaning and sanitizing units. Some are blocking entire days for the units to remain unoccupied as a precaution, along with providing sanitizing products for guests in the units. Hilton was one of the first hotels to announce its new plan, CleanStay. Others will likely follow with specifics on their websites.
The goal of this article is to help families identify steps they can take before beginning their trip as well as upon arrival at their unit to keep their families safe. I am not an expert on disease or have any medical training, I am sharing the steps I will take so that I can confidently travel again.
CDC Travelers Health
Conduct daily temperature checks for family members 2 weeks before leaving for vacation. Check for headaches and body aches as well.
Be sure all vaccines are up to date.
Stock up on over the counter meds and be sure your prescriptions are filled and up to date before traveling.
Pack only washable items, no items requiring dry cleaning.
Bring extra towels (minimum of 2 per person) for pool/beach.
Create a disinfecting basket or bag with supplies (disposable gloves, antibacterial wipes or spray and paper towels, hand sanitizer, hand soap) to use during travel (road trip) and for initial wipe down of the unit.
Also, include dishwashing detergent for machine and to wash by hand, as well as laundry detergent (or include in grocery delivery order so items are in the unit and available upon arrival).
A list of Basic Set Up items is available on my website under the Grocery Delivery tab, Free Resources.
PRE ORDER GROCERIES–NO CONTACT DELIVERY:
I am committed to helping my customers START THEIR VACATION SOONER!
Organized Occasions Concierge
With the need for additional precautions and the typical travel day challenges, having your unit stocked with supplies is even more valuable than before.
During the entire process of shopping and delivery, I follow guidelines of OHSA to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Some of these steps including wearing a mask while shopping, packing, and delivery. Cleaning and disinfecting my vehicles’ interior before loading. Packing and transporting your items in my bins and cart during delivery. Keeping bins on the cart or placing on the floor, never on the countertops inside units. Countertops will be wiped with antibacterial wipes before items being unloaded.
As a licensed and insured Concierge Service, I gain access to the unit from the property management company allowing me to deliver your order BEFORE you arrive reducing the contact you have at stores not only with staff but also with other travelers and residents. This step alone may be one of the most important to minimize your exposure!
UPON ARRIVAL–STEPS TO TAKE:
Unloading Car: If using a community or property cart, treat it like a grocery cart and wipe down before loading items on to the cart.
Elevators: Most companies I have spoken with intend to have wipes available by the elevators in the lobbies. However, if you are staying in a large complex with multiple elevators you may want to bring your own just in case the ones in the elevators run out. Also, try to use elbows or something other than your hands to touch buttons and hold doors when possible.
Front door locks: Wipe both the lock keypad and the knob or handle with an antibacterial wipe before using.
Unit Interior: Wipe/Spray as soon as arrive and daily after returning from outside areas.
Focus on High Touch areas:
- Light and lamp switches
- Doorknobs (including the exterior handles—front door, balconies and patios; bathroom doorknobs, and closet door pulls)
- Bathroom and Kitchen sink handles
- Shower handles
- Toilet lid and flush handle
- Remotes (television remote, any smart remotes for closing drapes, adjusting fans or turning off lights)
- Alarm clocks
Kitchen: Run all dishes through the dishwasher and wash and dry pots and pans. Or use paper products and single-serve items like beverages, chips, and snacks. Wipe cabinets and pantry shelves before putting groceries and paper products away. Also, wipe the top of the fridge if you intend to put items there.
Travel Clothing: Once everything is unloaded and, in the unit, remove travel clothes and wash them immediately. Wash all dish towels used in the kitchen.
Bedding: Remove and store decorative pillows, bedspreads away from personal items and suitcases (Bring large trash bags to place items in—don’t worry about replacing on beds, just leave in bags for cleaning service. They will appreciate knowing the items were not in contact with you as well.)
Option for kids–bring your own sleeping bags and pillow to place over the bedding. For adults, spray sheets with Lysol before use. Lightweight blankets might also be good to pack since you will not have spreads or comforters on the beds. Wash and dry sleeping bags and blankets before leaving the unit and immediately place in the car, or pack and plan to wash along with all items in the suitcase upon arrival home.
INSIDE UNIT–SET UP AREAS FOR:
Shoes, outdoor gear, and dirty clothes. Place items in these areas when returning to the unit to keep away from the furniture and other clean items.
COMMUNITY OR RESORT COMMON AREAS–POOLS/PLAYGROUNDS/GYMS/BBQ GRILLS:
Although in the past you may have enjoyed “borrowing” board games or movies from the resort office, you will need to bring your own games, cards, and DVDs as most of the properties will no longer provide these items for guests. Although sunshine is a natural disinfectant, outdoor toys may not be available in units with many owners opting to remove items as a precaution.
Check with the management company to see if Playgrounds, Gyms, and Game Rooms are open and if they have added sanitation stations in these areas. If not, you may want to skip or take extra precautions (wash hands, wash clothes, don’t touch your face), and avoid the area if you feel too many other guests are using.
Outdoor Grills should be treated like any other high touch surface (Wipe the handles or tray areas before use). The heat from gas or charcoal will destroy any viruses on the grill surface so your food will be safe. I have always recommended using foil pouches or disposable grill trays for cooking and easy clean-up and encourage you to continue at this time. Also, consider purchasing several disposable table clothes ($1 at Dollar Tree) to place on outdoor tables if you plan to eat outside.
I realize that while on vacation the last thing you want to think about is cleaning, but in the current pandemic, maintaining a clean environment is one of the most effective steps you can take to keep your family members healthy.
Wash towels daily.
Wash hands frequently–Don’t touch your face (except to apply sunscreen)
Take hand sanitizer to the beach/pool to use if sharing chairs, umbrellas, toys, or other equipment.
Wipe down coolers with anti-bacterial wipes/spray before loading and after unloading each day.
Pelicans are excellent at social distancing!
Check with local authorities (Lifeguards, County governments) on regulations for party size (at the time of this article-no parties over 10 allowed to gather)
Maintain proper distance in common areas (elevators, pool decks, lobbies)
Practice social distancing guidelines when inside restaurants and stores.
SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES:
Order take out to support local restaurants.
A list of restaurants offering takeout and delivery available on chamber websites and social media posts.
Shop online with local stores if possible, for souvenirs, and follow occupancy guidelines at the stores.
Get out and enjoy the fresh air, the sunshine with sunscreen applied, and the saltwater! These may the secret “ingredients” to destroying the virus!
If you would like to use Organized Occasions Concierge to deliver your items to Navarre Beach, Pensacola Beach or any of the areas in south Santa Rosa County, please contact me (call or text 817-797-0870, or email email@example.com) or visit my website to complete a Grocery Questionnaire and a Grocery List (submit forms). Orders are needed 3 days before check-in. Mention this blog post and receive ½ off your delivery fee (A $25 savings).
Wishing you safe travels and the most relaxing and enjoyable vacation,
Owner-Organized Occasions Concierge
Organized Occasions Concierge, Navarre, FL: I created Organized Occasions to help others make positive changes in their lives. I focus on three areas: Nutritional Coaching with Meal Planning and Grocery Delivery; Home Organizing; Event Planning with Wine Tastings from the Boisset Collection. As a concierge service, I am committed to helping my customers shop for supplies, provide guidance on quantities needed, and introduce local merchants and products while suggesting easy to prepare recipes and ideas. I believe every day is an occasion to be celebrated. And every occasion is best when organized!