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When will it be OK to travel again? What is the definition of travel, exactly? These are the questions I kept asking myself lately. The last few months in my household have been stressful, to say the least. This whole virtual school has been a challenge. Did I say challenge? I meant “slash my wrists”, “get me out of here” type deal. Since the first option is out of the question, I turned to the latter.
Not too long ago, many counties in Florida (where we live) have opened their beaches back to the public. I’m sure you have seen the photos of the crowds, as well as the story of a local lawyer dressed like a grim reaper to make a point
Only in Florida…
As a local who lives here, I can tell you that some beaches get more crowded than others. There is no question that spring break in Miami should have been cancelled this year. On the other hand, there are spots where social distancing is much easier to implement. Siesta Key in Sarasota is one of those places.
So, as soon as Florida governor lifted “stay at home” order for my state (except for Miami and the surrounding area), I was planning to drive to the beach for the day in order to save my sanity. But then I started thinking… What if we book a two-night stay instead?
Even though social distancing in Florida is still recommended going forward, the hotels are once again allowed to accept any customers, not just essential workers. I wouldn’t be comfortable staying in a multi-story resort, but an apartment with an outside entrance would cut back on human interaction substantially.
So, that’s what I did by booking Tropical Breeze Resort and using Expedia points (it’s a VIP property). I’ll have a separate post with a review later on, but here are a few thoughts. Overall, this place was a decent option in the era of social distancing. BTW, why don’t they call it physical distancing instead? Anyway, they even let you check in over the phone, and you use a code to enter the apartment.
That said, there were quite a few people walking the streets near the resort, as well as the beach. We did our best to keep our distance, but it was challenging at times. I also took the kids to the pool, something that in hindsight I probably should have avoided. There was only one family there, but it’s still unnecessary exposure. Try telling children that they can’t play with other kids in the pool. It’s not that simple.
We brought our own groceries, and I used Lysol wipes to clean all the surfaces in the apartment. If there was any virus present, I’m confident I got rid of it. As far as the beach crowding goes, it does depend on the day of the week, but here is a photo at 10 AM on a Sunday morning:
The beach does get a bit crowded at sunset, but it’s definitely possible to find a deserted spot. So, was it worth it? Well, ask me in about 10 days or so (the incubation period of Covid-19). I can tell you this short getaway did wonders for my mental health. Walking on the beach was just what the doctor ordered. I’m ready to face the virtual school again.
Was it really travel?
Technically, yes. But keep in mind, we were planning to go to the beach anyway. We would most likely still pass by other folks and have to use public bathrooms. In this case, we had a clean apartment within walking distance of the beach. We also enjoyed a stretch of the sand located far from the parking lot (less accessible to the public).
Obviously, nothing is safer than staying at home and not going anywhere. But let’s face it, that’s easier said than done. The kids (and me!) definitely appreciated fresh air and sunshine. And I guarantee you, access to our beautiful Florida beaches is something I will never take for granted again. Ever.
Things to consider when making any travel plans
I’ve mentioned before that my family probably won’t fly until at least April of next year . This isn’t something I personally feel comfortable with, but won’t judge those who choose to do things differently.
It goes without saying that I would never encourage anyone to break the law. Regardless of how we feel about stay-at-home orders, I strongly believe in complying with government’s regulations. Once those are lifted, it becomes a personal choice. Also, every family’s situation is different, so it’s impossible to make a blanket recommendation.
I also believe where you live as well as where you plan on going matters. In my case, Siesta Key has a rate of Covid-19 infection that is similar to my hometown. Flying from NYC to somewhere like Kauai is a whole different beast. The island would not be able to handle an outbreak, and medical system would quickly get overwhelmed. Even though 14-day quarantine for visitors seems draconian to some, I completely understand the logic.
The pandemic is obviously very real and not a hoax, despite what some TV pundits may tell their gullible audiences. One of our relatives works as a respiratory therapist, and he mentioned that so far they weren’t able to wean even one Covid-19 patient off a ventilator in his hospital. The current situation needs to be taken seriously, period.
On the other hand, it’s important to use common sense. Not too long ago, Nancy mentioned that she has booked a cabin in the woods for an upcoming getaway. They will drive there and bring their own groceries. I fail to see how this is more dangerous than staying at home. As long as you disinfect everything to the best of your ability, how is it irresponsible?
Once again, I encourage everyone to follow the laws and use common sense. There will be a lot of judgment in the travel community during upcoming months and possibly years. I respectfully encourage everyone to mind their own business. Stay safe, folks.
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.