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How to have a COVID-safe honeymoon

Isuru, Co-Founder of Hitchd
Isuru from Hitchd
Jun 29, 20207 min read
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The coronavirus pandemic changed the world as we know it. Few lives and industries have managed to make it this far into the pandemic unscathed, and most health experts say that life cannot return to what we considered normal until a vaccine is available and widely distributed.

And yet, some countries, states and regions have started to reopen. New Zealand, for example, hasn't had a case of coronavirus in weeks. Italy and Spain have come out of their lockdowns. Some states in the U.S. have seen cases steadily decrease.

With all of this reopening, couples whose plans for a honeymoon were sidelined by the pandemic have started thinking about taking their long-awaited honeymoons. It may seem like an absurd idea, but after so much chaos and uncertainty, it's perfectly reasonable for couples to want to get away and celebrate their love.

Luckily, there are ways to travel safely with COVID-19, and while couples may not be able to experience a honeymoon like the pre-coronavirus days, they can still enjoy a fantastic trip that reminds them what's really important in life.

With a few precautions and some forward-thinking, you and your spouse can plan a wonderful COVID-safe honeymoon. Here's how to plan the perfect COVID-safe honeymoon.

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Go national, not international

For many couples, a honeymoon is a chance to get out of the country and see a part of the world you've always wanted to visit. But in the midst of a pandemic, taking an international trip, which usually involves planes, airports and lots of lines, is not worth the risk. If you happen to be on a plane with someone who has the coronavirus but is not showing symptoms, then there's a very good chance you could catch it and pass it on to your loved ones when you return.

For a COVID-safe honeymoon, choose a location within your own country. Not all countries are taking the coronavirus pandemic as seriously as others. While we know that wearing a mask can help stop the spread of the virus, some countries have not mandated wearing them. Some countries may have more relaxed cleaning policies that could put you and your partner at risk. Rather than enjoying your time together, you and your partner may be more worried about your health.

A national location will also help stretch your honeymoon fund a little farther. Couples who use honeymoon funds like Hitchd to help pay for their COVID-safe honeymoons will save money on airfare, one of the biggest expenses, by driving instead. Other expenses, such as currency exchanges and conversions, won't be an issue if you choose a national over an international destination. Your guests will be able to focus more on giving fun gifts, like a round of drinks or souvenirs, and you'll save a little on your honeymoon.

Instead, choose a destination within your country that you can easily drive to and avoid public transportation. This way, you can sanitize your car as needed and travel as you please.

Before you choose, however, read up on what's open and available before making your choice. You don't want to take a COVID-safe honeymoon only to find out that all the activities and events you wanted to do are closed or canceled. It would be a shame to travel from Sydney, Australia up to Brisbane only to find that tours of the Great Barrier Reef are not running.

Remember, many essential workers need to use public transportation and aeroplanes. Don't put them at risk.

Invest in travel insurance and read cancellation policies

Spikes in coronavirus cases can happen anywhere, even in locations that seem to be doing much better.

As you begin booking accommodations and other activities online, opt for any travel protections or insurance that are offered, even if it costs a bit more. Read all cancellation policies and keep track of your drop dates. You'll have peace of mind knowing that you can get your money back if you have to cancel your honeymoon last minute.

Think of it this way: Six months ago, the last thing that anyone would expect to force them to cancel a trip would have been a pandemic — but here we are. Don't relax just yet. Invest in travel insurance and read all cancellation policies for car rentals, accommodations and any tickets you buy.

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Follow destination news and coronavirus updates

No matter where you decide to spend your COVID-safe honeymoon, it is important that you start following the news to keep track of the local outbreak. Major cities and states within the same countries are experiencing different positive case numbers, and some cities that had few cases early in the pandemic are starting to see a major increase.

Once you choose your COVID-safe honeymoon destination, look up the local health department and news outlets. Start following them on social media or subscribe to email newsletters.

Keeping up with local news will help you gauge how safe it will be to travel to your preferred destination. If cases start to increase — and testing does not increase — then you may want to rethink your destination. Reading local news will also tell you how seriously local leaders are taking the pandemic. If numbers keep increasing and politicians continue to reopen and remain lax on mask-wearing, then it may be time to pick a different destination.

Pack extra masks and gloves

There's nothing wrong with being overprepared. Before you head out on your COVID-safe honeymoon, here are a few extras to throw in your suitcase:

  • Face masks or coverings
  • Disposable gloves
  • Extra bottles of hand sanitizer
  • Metal eating utensils
  • Disinfecting cleaning supplies
  • Extra napkins or cleaning clothes

Since you're traveling by car, you won't have to worry about getting these bottles through airport security. Having these supplies handy will help you stay safe no matter where you are.

Look for smaller accommodation

The fewer people you come into contact with on your COVID-safe honeymoon, then the less likely you are to contract the virus. This can be tricky, however, when you're staying at a large hotel — and that's assuming that resorts and hotels have reopened in your destination.

While many of the reopened resorts have capacity limits set at 50% and even 25%, that's still a lot of people, including staff, coming on and off the property. Instead of booking at a major resort, try renting a house on Airbnb or VRBO.

Having your own home limits the number of people you'll be in regular contact with and allows you to set your own level of cleanliness. Sure, you may not have someone in to make the bed and replace towels every day, but you'll have a little more privacy for your COVID-safe honeymoon, and you'll feel more relaxed knowing that you're limiting the potential spread of the virus.

If finding a rental proves too difficult, then opt for a smaller bed-and-breakfast instead. It's all about limiting your contact with others, and a small bed-and-breakfast will have fewer guests and staff members.

Regardless of which accommodations you choose, disinfect your house, apartment or room when you arrive. Spray doorknobs, light switches and other surfaces. No one wants to clean on their honeymoon, but if it will slow the spread of the virus, then it's worth the extra steps.

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Book outdoor activities as much as possible

Anyone can catch the coronavirus in just about any space, but your chances of catching it increase dramatically when you're indoors. As much as you can, spend your COVID-safe honeymoon in the great outdoors.

Scientists and public health experts say the transmission is low in the outdoors, but not impossible. According to an article in the New York Times, a study of more than 7,300 coronavirus cases in China found that just one of those cases was connected to an outdoor transmission. The person had a conversation outdoors with a traveler who had just come from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Of course, crowded outdoor spaces can still pose a threat. If you are out and about, wear a mask and do your best to stay six feet apart from others. If a beach is looking crowded, try to go farther down and away from the crowds.

Outdoor tours can be a lot of fun, but you do need to take precautions. When booking a tour, book a private one to minimize your contact with others. Bring extra hand sanitizer and avoid shaking your tour guide's hand, as impolite as that may seem. Wear your mask throughout the tour and try to stay six feet apart from your guide as much as possible.

Self-isolate after returning

Even if you've followed every precaution used hand sanitizer liberally throughout your COVID-safe honeymoon, there's always the chance that you and your partner could have caught the virus. When you return home, it's best to self-isolate for two weeks to allow symptoms to show.

Remember, symptoms of COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to show themselves. During that time, you can still spread the virus to others. Avoid this by staying at home and away from others for two weeks. Have groceries delivered and minimize the amount of time you spend outside around others. Wear a mask everywhere you go and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

If you need to return to work right away and you cannot work from home, wearing a mask and gloves should be essential. Be extra vigilant about staying six feet away from others, and carry extra hand sanitizer in your pocket or purse just in case.

You may be excited to share your trip with loved ones but do so over Zoom. If you've had people over before the COVID-safe honeymoon — even if it's six feet apart and in your backyard — do not invite anyone over for those two weeks. You don't want to keep spreading the virus if you've been infected.

During those two weeks, you and your partner should watch for any symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath or fever. If either of you displays symptoms, get tested and contact your doctor to find out what's appropriate for medical care. Hospitals in your area could be overwhelmed, so don't go to the emergency room first. You could end up spreading it to other vulnerable people.

After so many weeks in lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders, it makes sense that so many couples want to finally take their honeymoons and use their Hitchd gifts to celebrate their union. If guests at your Zoom wedding weren't able to give a gift, then creating a Hitchd account is a great way to help guests give gifts in just about any monetary amount without having to handle cash or send a card.

Just because cities, states and countries are starting to reopen doesn't mean we can return to what life was like before the pandemic just yet. If you do plan a COVID-safe honeymoon, the best thing you can do is research your location and stay on top of that location's news and case numbers. You may be quick to cancel your trip if case numbers spike one day, but if you're following updates regularly, then you'll be able to make a more informed decision before canceling plans.

Above all: be safe and have fun. Your COVID-safe honeymoon will be one you'll never forget and one you'll tell your kids or your nieces and nephews about for years to come.

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