(BPT) - Thousands of families put travel plans on hold due to COVID-19. As the travel industry is reopening and favorite tourist spots are welcoming guests, people are making vacation plans that keep safety and responsibility top of mind.
If you're ready to travel again, it's important to remain diligent so you can enjoy favorite destinations while prioritizing important health measures. This not only helps protect you and your family, but everyone else — from the workers to the residents to fellow travelers. Here are some tips for traveling responsibly:
Wear a mask when in public
The CDC continues to recommend all people over the age of 2 to wear a mask in public spaces and many municipalities, including in the Myrtle Beach area, are mandating masks in shared spaces. When packing your bags, be sure to pack a box of disposable masks or place designated masks in a bag labeled with each person's name. You might even make the vacation special by getting custom fabric masks made rather than traditional matching T-shirts this year.
Wash hands frequently
Hand washing helps remove and prevent the spread of germs. When traveling, wash hands regularly, especially after touching public surfaces such as at a store or museum. Remember, always wash hands before you eat. Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is best, but if that's not an option, pack plenty of hand sanitizer.
Practice social distancing
Practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others not in your family or travel group. Many public spaces will have signage to remind you of this as well as floor markers. Remember, this applies to everywhere you go, including the beach.
Visit outdoor parks
Expansive parks and outdoor spaces make it easy to stay socially distant and therefore typically do not require masks. Add these options to your travel itinerary. For example, Myrtle Beach State Park in South Carolina is a quiet escape where social distancing is easy, with a nature trail, stunning ocean views and a great fishing spot on Myrtle Beach pier.
Respect one-way walking paths
Many locations have implemented one-way paths to better organize visitor flow and limit the spread of germs. Respect these requests when traveling. Brookgreen Gardens is one such location that is welcoming visitors but asks people follow one-way paths while exploring more than 900 works by 300 of the greatest names in American sculpture history.
Keep it small
Individual or small group tours are great for enjoying time together safely. In Myrtle Beach, Black River Outdoors offers private, eco-friendly kayak tours where visitors can learn about the salt marsh ecosystem and the plants and creatures who inhabit it. Another option is Action Water Sportz, which provides jet ski rentals to satisfy your drive for aquatic adventure.
Explore thoughtful dining options
Restaurants across the Grand Strand are all practicing safe social distancing guidelines. Dining al fresco is a smart option, and with oceanfront views at restaurants Sea Captain’s House, Drunken Jacks or RipTydz you'll enjoy a fresh breeze and tasty foods. Ask about precautions indoor restaurants are taking as well. For instance, Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood requires guests to wear gloves while at the buffet and masks throughout the restaurant except while eating at your table.
Prepare and pack patience
Many things are different due to COVID-19 and it requires everyone to work together. Keep in mind, some attractions and restaurants have limited seating or entry availability. Plan ahead when possible and always be patient. Research location-specific sites like visitmyrtlebeach.com or individual hotel and attraction websites to determine what is open and what safety procedures are in place.