What You Need to Know about Coronavirus Honeymoons
Planning your wedding and honeymoon is a big endeavor, and when you add a global pandemic to the mix, trip planning may get a little more complicated.
Resorts, airlines and hotels are doing their best to make your honeymoon experience as special as possible, while also keeping you safe during coronavirus.
While the travel industry has made safety a foremost concern, you likely have some questions:
Can you travel during coronavirus? Where can you travel? Will the experience be the same? What are hotels, airlines and resorts doing to keep you safe when traveling? Are excursions still available?
Honeyfund has you covered. Here are some tips, ideas and guidelines to think about when planning a honeymoon during coronavirus.
Planning Your Coronavirus Honeymoon
A lot has changed this year, and there are few things you want to consider when planning your honeymoon during coronavirus.
Should You Travel?
One of the first questions you should ask yourself when planning a honeymoon during coronavirus is, “Should you travel?”.
Many U.S. states have put shelter-in-place guidelines into effect, which means residents are being ordered to stay in their homes except for essential activities such as permitted work and grocery shopping.
Non-essential travel is also being strongly discouraged. While there is no clear-cut definition of essential vs. non-essential travel, we could argue that your honeymoon is essential to starting off your marriage on the right foot.
Does that make your honeymoon essential travel? That’s for you to decide.
In all seriousness, following the guidelines outlined by the CDC will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help us start to return to normal life. However, no one is going to stop you from traveling, unless there are travel restrictions for your destination. It is up to you and your risk tolerance as to whether or not you should travel.
The Texas Medical Association created a chart showing the risk levels of various activities including dining out, traveling and being outside. Below is the chart, so you can see where these various activities fall on their scale.
Your Honeymoon Destination
Right now (as of August 2020), travelers coming from the United States cannot travel to countries in the European Union which includes countries such as Italy, France and Spain. Even within the United States there are travel restrictions and guidelines you need to follow.
For example, according to this article by the New York Times, if you are planning to travel to Hawaii, you would need to isolate yourself for two weeks, or until your stay is over, whichever is shorter. However, beginning on September 1, if you can show proof of a negative COVID test within the last 72 hours once you arrive in Hawaii, you would be able to avoid the isolation restriction.
Every state and country is going to have different guidelines and restrictions, so make sure you know what they are before you book your honeymoon. CNN.com put together a good list of countries that have reopened to US tourists which you can check out here.
Additionally, if you decide you are going to still take your honeymoon this year, and there are no travel restrictions for your destination, you may want to consider how affected that area has been by COVID. If the numbers are high, the likelihood you will come in contact with someone who has been affected by COVID goes up. Taking that risk is up to you, and you need to make that determination for yourself.
Knowing what safety measures to take can also help you avoid contracting COVID-19 when you take your honeymoon during coronavirus. This includes things like wearing a mask in public places, frequently washing and sanitizing your hands, adhering to social distancing protocols and following the guidelines laid out by airports, airlines and resorts.
You should also know the signs of COVID. If you have symptoms, then it might be wise to not go on your honeymoon to help protect others from getting sick. Another thing you can do is get a COVID test before you leave for your honeymoon and when you return to make sure you haven’t contracted the disease.
Another way to stay safe while traveling during COVID is to consider using a vacation rental instead of staying at hotels or resorts. Vacation rentals (available on VRBO, AirBNB and many other travel sites) are usually private residences that you can rent out, and they are available in most locations across the United States and internationally. They can be cheaper than resorts and allow for more intimate time with your partner.
When it comes to vacation rentals, you will still want to take the proper precautions. Ask the hosts when was the last time someone stayed in the home, what are their cleaning procedures, will they be cleaning the home before you arrive, do they have any symptoms of COVID, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions. You and your partner’s health are number one priority, and if the host wants you to stay in their home, they should be willing to answer a few questions for you.
Another option is an RV rental, which essentially allows you to take a tiny home with you on a road trip! You can rent them anywhere from sites like RVShare.com.
Finally, if you’re traveling internationally, check with your health insurance provider to see if they cover you while traveling overseas. If they don’t, consider applying for traveler’s insurance just in case you get sick while away from your home country.
Financial Impact of COVID
COVID-19 has affected many couples financially. If you aren’t in a financial position to pay for a honeymoon right now, then you need to do what is best for you and your family. Don’t plan a honeymoon because you feel like you have to. If you need your honeymoon money to pay for your living expenses or start your emergency fund, by all means do it. Your well-being is more important than taking a near-term honeymoon. You can always take it next year!
If you’re still planning on taking your honeymoon this year, this could be an opportunity to take a honeymoon closer to home, which could save you money on your dream trip. Find a resort in a neighboring state or road-trip to a beautiful location within a few hours of your home.
You could also take two trips: a mini-moon immediately after your wedding and a bigger honeymoon in the future. This could help you reduce the cost of your immediate trip and give you more time to save for a bigger trip down the road.
What are Airlines and Resorts doing to Keep Honeymooners Safe?
We’ve talked about what you can do to plan honeymoons in the safest way possible during coronavirus, so what are airlines, hotels and resorts doing to keep you safe?
Airlines are doing the best they can to keep you and your partner safe while traveling for your honeymoon. They want you to travel this year just as much as you want to.
Most airlines require passengers and staff to wear facemasks at all times while on the plane to help reduce the risk of spreading the disease. They are also taking cleaning very seriously. Planes are being cleaned throughout the day with industrial grade disinfectant, and they are cleaning everything including seat back screens, arm rests, seat belts and other commonly touched surfaces. Some are going as far as taking planes out of service, if a passenger showed signs of COVID while on board.
In-flight services are being reduced on most airlines including food and beverage services, and flight attendants are being equipped with sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer to help passengers stay healthy.
Airlines have also improved their air circulation systems to keep unwanted germs from circulating throughout the plane.
Do NOT expect social distancing on the plane. Airlines are so financially squeezed they are not consistent about spacing people in every other seat or row. DO expect to wear your mask the entire time you are in the plane. Which means shorter flights are recommended over longer ones.
What about resorts and hotels?
How are hotels and resorts changing their procedures to keep you safe while you enjoy some one-on-one time with your new spouse?
Starting with the basics, many hotels are reducing or removing points of contact that are frequently touched such as door handles, key cards and seating in common areas. This can be as simple as keeping doors propped open. Additionally, these surfaces are being sanitized on a regular basis. You will also see plenty of sanitation stations throughout the premises. Some resorts are even doing temperature checks on guests when they arrive at the resort, and before sitting down to dine in an outdoor dining room.
Contactless check-in/out and touchless ordering for food and drinks are also becoming common to keep you from touching menus and other common items.
Some resorts are reducing resort, pool and restaurant capacity to make sure guests can be properly distanced and stay safe while traveling to that particular destination. Expect to have to make reservations to partake of any of the resorts restaurants, pools or other activities.
Like airlines, cleaning is being taken very seriously at resorts. If you are staying somewhere for two or more nights, housekeeping will either not be available, or they may ask you to request it. You’ll have to tell them if you want your room cleaned and how often. In addition to cleaning the normal things like towels and sheets, housekeeping is focusing on cleaning surfaces like TV remotes, light switches, faucets, door handles and other surfaces that are commonly touched by guests.
If you have dirty towels, some places are asking that you leave your dirty towels outside your door and they will leave a vacuum sealed bag of clean towels outside your room. Some hotel brands are even using new technology such as cleaning rooms with UV light technology to further clean your room.
Restaurants and bars at hotels and resorts are limiting capacity, implementing touchless menus and expanding room service options for guests. Buffets are not going to be as common in order to limit lines and to avoid people standing in close proximity to each other. One resort is even allowing guests to order their food and eat it anywhere on the premise, including by the pool, ocean or some other quiet place in the hotel, so you can have an intimate dinner experience. Be sure to make a reservation if you plan to dine at an on-property restaurant.
Hotel staff are being trained rigorously in how to clean rooms and common areas properly, and depending on the resort, they may be temperature checked to make sure they don’t have COVID.
How to Have Fun on Your Honeymoon during Coronavirus
A lot is changing in the travel and leisure industry due to COVID, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while traveling for your honeymoon.
Spas are still open at many resorts, and while your massage therapist may be wearing protective gear, this is better than no massage at all. Spas typically have high quality cleaning protocols, and they are taking that even further during this time.
Pools are also remaining open by limiting their capacity to make sure people feel safe. You will still be able to sunbathe, relax in the pool and sip on your favorite drink, it might just be with less people around. Be sure to make a reservation.
But what if you like to mingle when you travel? You can absolutely do this, just make sure the other couples you mingle with feel safe and that you’re following the necessary social distancing guidelines.
Being outside is one of the best ways to avoid contracting COVID, and it is also great for the mind, body and soul. Spend the day on a secluded beach or take a hike in the mountains to create some intimate one-on-one time with your spouse. And make sure to delete all your email and social media apps, and turn off all notifications on your phone. You’ll be surprised how much fun you can have — anywhere — when your time isn’t sucked into the digital world.
If you were planning excursions like snorkeling, horseback riding or guided tours, check-in with the excursion provider to understand if they are still offering excursions and what their cleaning procedures are. If you don’t feel comfortable with it, then don’t do it. Your health is more important than a few bucks, and you can always ask for a refund.
Your Coronavirus Honeymoon
Your honeymoon is a special time to create lasting memories with your new spouse. And let’s face it, when the two of you are together everything is fun!
That said, the honeymoon standbys like exotic beaches, outdoor adventures and overseas touring are not quite what they were during the pandemic. But, if you have at least a medium risk tolerance you can still manage these adventures! Remember that the really special part is being able to unwind, relax and spend all day with your partner. You can have great conversations and create amazing memories with your partner, no matter where you decide to travel.
COVID-19 may alter or delay your travel plans, but as we have seen, there are still plenty of options to take a fantastic honeymoon. And if you would rather wait until COVID dies down before taking your honeymoon, consider a mini-moon or stay-at-home honeymoon right after your wedding.