Although your vacation plans may be on hold this year due to COVID-19, it doesn’t mean vacationing is completely off the table.
According to Expedia’s 2020 summer travel report, Canadians are adjusting to what vacationing may mean for them this year.
The report, which surveyed 1000 people above the age of 18, found a 20-per cent increase in inter-provincial travel compared to last year.
What’s more, a quarter of Canadians are planning road trips, and local hotel stays are commonly searched on their database.
“We want to promote our local destinations and regional tourism, and we need to cultivate business for our local companies,” said Joanne Gellatly, a professor of the school of hospitality and tourism management at George Brown College in Toronto, not affiliated with the report.
Although traditional travel is left on pause for the time being, there are numerous ways to get out of the house and still protect yourself and others.
This includes following your own city’s rules and regulations, such as wearing a mask and physical distancing from those outside your social circle. And if you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should avoid leaving your home.
Donna Lee Rosen, president of MaJic Communications and professor at George Brown College’s School of hospitality and tourism management, says it’s important for everyone to get outside and take a break from work this summer.
“I think it’d be very enlightening for individuals to learn the history of the country we are living in,” she said.
Below, we round up summer getaway ideas you can still enjoy safely.
Road trips are a nice way of enjoying a scenic route and exploring areas you haven’t been to before.
Sue Horton, a professor at the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, previously told Global News, only travel with household members and avoid making too many pit stops. If you’re staying overnight at a hotel or rental unit, make sure you carefully read and follow their safety regulations.
“It’s the kinds of vacations people took in the 1950s when air travel was expensive but gas was cheap… and you would pack food,” she said.
While renting homes in rural areas with small communities may seem ideal, many of the residents there may not appreciate visitors from different parts of the city, said Marion Joppe, a professor at the School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management at the University of Guelph, in a previous report with Global News.
With that in mind, it is important to be mindful of the community you choose to stay in overnight stay and to respect the community’s members. Avoiding going to local grocery stores by packing your own food.
“There’s all these concerns that play into it as well,” she said. “People aren’t necessarily welcome, or made to feel welcome, in some of the communities because people are anxious.”
Given that local hotels are open and most regions of the country, it won’t take much book a room.
“I strongly encourage staying at a brand hotel. There are the standards there, there’s a checklist system and it’s qualified people running the operations,” said Gellatly.
She added hotel chains guarantee thorough cleaning and offer reliability, which is key to staying safe and having a great vacation during the pandemic.
Although cottages seem ideal when it comes to the idea of physical distancing given the isolation, there are many precautions Canadians must take to ensure everyone is kept safe.
Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, previously told Global News people renting cottages need to super mindful about being in a smaller city or township.
“Bringing your own food and your own stuff to drink and not going to any grocery stores, (liquor stores) or drug stores is the No. 1 thing,” Furness said.
“The less contact the better.”
Parks and zoos
Now that Parks Canada is able to reopen again, Canadians have the option to visit provincial and national parks.
Rosen says when visiting these parks or zoos, it is key to remain physically distant from those around you and keep to yourself with the proper attire, including a mask when others are close.
While precautions must be in place to avoid the spread of COVID-19, remaining outdoors rather than indoors is a much safer option, said Kate Mulligan, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, in a previous Global News report.
“There are safer ways to socialize right now,” she said. “One of the safest ways to do it is by getting outside where the risk of transmission is quite low.”
Beaches and lakes
Canada boasts some of the most beautiful beaches, by driving further away from the city and to the outskirts, you’d be surprised how blue the waters are and enjoyable it is to swim in your local lakes and beaches.
When visiting beaches in your province, keeping distance around those around you to avoid a crowd is vital, said Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, previously said to Global News.
“If you can go to the beach and set down your blankets or your towels, and make sure there’s enough of circumference around you and other people, that’s going to be ideal,” Tuite said.
With some campgrounds open, read each site’s regulations carefully. When it comes to safety, think about the size of your group.
A concern with camping is going into larger groups and neglecting social distancing regulations, said Furness, in a previous Global News report.
“That’s starting to make me less comfortable, particularly because hygiene is not No. 1 when you’re camping,” he said. “So mixing households, and there’s not a lot of washing going on or hand hygiene, the risk is going to go up.”
— With files from Global News’ Meghan Collie, Olivia Bowden, Laura Hensley