Explore Safely During COVID-19
Let's face it - the COVID-19 pandemic has changed, and may forever alter, how we travel.
Add to safety concerns the fact that events and programs across the country are still being postponed or canceled, and it can be difficult or even overwhelming to plan a getaway, be it a summer vacation or a quick day trip.
But there are ways to beat the cabin fever while ensuring that safety remains a priority. The following tips will help you bring the right balance of caution to your next adventure.
Do your homework. When visiting Leland or another locale, you may be tempted to head to your go-to travel website to search for top-rated restaurants, shops, and must-see attractions. But in light of the pandemic, that research should extend beyond customer reviews. Jot down a list of the places you want to go, then check websites or make a few phone calls to make sure those places are open. The last thing you want is for your family to feel like the Griswalds when you arrive to a closed theme park or other beloved location after a long car trip together. Even if businesses and attractions are open, they likely have shortened hours and safety requirements in place and most certainly are operating under mandated occupancy restrictions.
Keep it simple. When you only get one or two vacations a year, it can be tempting to try and cram in as much fun as possible. Even without COVID-19, that much "fun" can turn out to be, well, not so fun, after all. With all the delays that can come with new safety guidelines - longer lines and restaurant wait times, to name two - scale back your expectations and activities list to avoid bringing stress into your rest and relaxation time. Be flexible and keep an open mind. You may not be able to hit all the hot spots you had hoped to, but you may also discover some new favorite places in the process.
Get outside. If nature doesn't normally call you, this may be a good time to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Wide open spaces - like Leland's wooded walking trails or nearby expansive shorelines - allow you and your friends or loved ones to spread out comfortably and keep your distance from others. You may discover you are an outdoorsy person, after all!
Come prepared. We're all used to keeping a mask close by when heading out to the grocery store or bank. The same should apply, even on vacation. Make sure you have your personal protective equipment and a bottle of hand sanitizer handy with you at all times in case you wind up somewhere unexpected at which you'll need those items. Even if you're armed and ready for safety, you can't be sure that others will do the same. In an unfamiliar place, it's especially important to trust your instincts and remember the basic COVID-19 guidelines, like social distancing. If you're concerned that too many people are in one place at one time or others around you aren't observing the six-foot rule, simply head somewhere else.
Shop local... even if you aren't one. Considering small businesses are the backbone of any community, it's more important than ever to give them your support. Buying local at home and while traveling is the best way to help. Shops, restaurants, salons, and other establishments are eager to welcome customers back and motivated to ensure the safety of patrons and employees alike. Plus, small businesses help you absorb the culture and personality of the place you're visiting. Leland has lots of local stops you'll want to keep on your to-do list - unique places you won't find anywhere else but here - that all come with a refreshing dose of southern hospitality. And who can't use a little of that these days?