Is traveling during a pandemic safe?

Traveling might actually be safer than it was before COVID-19

Ashlie Fanetti

More stories from Ashlie Fanetti

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Photo by Ashlie Fanetti

Mickey Mouse waves to the crowd during a parade at Magic Kingdom in Disney World. Frequent parades are Disney’s alternative to traditional character meet-and-greets amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over this past winter break, I had no plans. My plan of no plans changed when my parents decided to drive our motorhome across the country to Florida.

It was a welcomed change of plans.

Before we left, I was nervous to leave Wisconsin with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, but my nerves were alleviated quickly as soon as we got going. In fact, by the end of the trip, I had determined that traveling is probably safer now than it ever has been.

My family and I took every precaution and planned the trip so that we would encounter the least amount of people possible to limit our chances of getting sick. We succeeded, and I don’t think I got within three feet of anybody outside of my household the entire three weeks we were there.

Many people have asked me how we traveled safely during a pandemic. The answer is pretty simple: Keep to yourself and take responsibility for your own health and safety. Don’t rely on other people to keep you safe.

My trip lasted about three weeks, almost six days of which were spent driving from Bloomer, Wisconsin to Kissimmee, Florida with a pit stop in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in our motorhome. This was not only a convenient mode of travel, but I think the safest mode as well.

We packed all of our own food and household items and camped in an RV park for the duration of the trip. This way we didn’t have to eat out all of the time and didn’t have to risk our health staying in a hotel. 

Basically, we packed up and moved our home to a temporary spot in the sun. It was really no different than living in my actual home.

I thought the pandemic would put a damper on all of the fun things we could do in Florida, but that was not the case.

The trip was really busy as we shopped, spent a couple of days on the Disney property, toured an orange grove, watched other people spend a lot of money at the Mecum Auto Auction, walked through a crime museum and spent an afternoon at The Atlantic Ocean.

I went to Kissimmee once before in 2013 and looking back on it, I think I felt safer this time around during a pandemic than I did the first time. 

To be honest, I was more concerned about the health of my bank account than I was about my physical health while I was there because there was an outlet mall around every corner and I have a hard time resisting a good deal.

I felt safe because we took responsibility for our own health by masking up in public and social distancing, but also because we only went to structured environments where COVID-19 precautions were strictly enforced.

For instance, we spent a whole day at Magic Kingdom in Disney World and I was probably more at risk to get sick there when I went in 2013 than I was now.

Mask-wearing and social distancing was strictly enforced, temperatures were taken, rides were cleaned and only one party was allowed in a ride car at one time. Not to mention, there were also considerably fewer people there.

I thought it was fun, safe and nothing short of magical.

Traveling right now is completely safe if you are smart about it, take care of yourself the way health officials direct you to and go to places where precautions are taken seriously.

If you do that, I believe you can have the best trip ever and remain virus-free. Happy traveling.

Fanetti can be reached at [email protected]