Staying in a Hotel This Summer? Here Are 10 Tips to Be Safe and Healthy
It's probably been months since you grabbed a coffee at your go-to spot on your daily commute, let alone cashed in any of those well-deserved vacation days. Many people's lives — including their work — have been driven indoors amid the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But now, with some retail stores, restaurants, and hotels reopening around the country, you might be starting to think about booking a little getaway. Perhaps a road trip to avoid flying? No matter your destination, hotel stays will likely be involved, but what steps can you take to make sure you're being smart to keep yourself and others safe and healthy?
"Hotels are actually a very safe place right now," Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, who helped create new safety guidelines for hotels to follow during COVID-19, told POPSUGAR. "In fact, a group of medical experts recently released a list of all of the activities that people would want to do this summer. They put them on a scale from one to 10 with 10 being the least safe like an indoor concert and one being the most safe like staying quarantined in your house. Staying at a hotel ranked right up there with golf and camping."
That said, there are still some precautions you should take when you're away from home. Here, Rogers shares his top hotel hacks for safe summer travel.
The Pool Is OK
If a hotel's pool is open and you want to take a swim, you can. "The virus just can't survive in a chlorinated pool setting," said Rogers, who added that you'll just need to be extra vigilant to make sure there are no crowds and to ensure you're being caution when outside the water as well. "If you properly space between you and [the] next group, you should be in great shape."
Wear a Mask
"Enjoy the hotel's amenities if you are able to while social distancing," said Rogers. "But you should always wear a cloth face covering in the lobby or other common areas."
Skip the Hotel Gym
Many hotel gyms will likely remain closed, but just in case they aren't, you should still exercise outside if you can. "If you have the opportunity to be outside, that's always preferable," said Rogers. "If the weather is nice, ask the hotel ahead of time about popular hiking trails or go swimming at the beach instead."
Skip the Spa
If you can skip spa treatments altogether, you should, otherwise you can try requesting a massage outside (like on the beach) rather than visiting the hotel spa. "It's not good to be around a whole group of people," said Rogers. "If you can get outdoors and the person working is going to have a mask, you're in good shape."
Keep Your Hands Clean
"Wash your hands or utilize provided hand sanitizer stations after any interactions," urged Rogers. "Hand sanitizers and wipes will be there for you to use at your leisure, so make sure your hands are clean at all times and don't touch your face. Those are just good practices."
Pass Up Daily Housekeeping
"The CDC recommends having as few people come into your room as possible," explained Rogers. "So keeping the housekeeping crew out of your room makes sense. You could request extra towels [at the start of your stay], or they can bring you new towels and leave them outside your door."
Check In Online
"Use options for online reservation and check-in, mobile room key, and contactless payments," said Rogers. "There are things you can take advantage of as a consumer to check into your hotel room without ever having to go through the lobby. Every major brand has an app now, so all you have to do is download [and go]."
Request Al Fresco Dining
"The trend has been to create a lot more outdoor seating for restaurants," said Rogers. "People enjoy being outdoors and it's safer anyway, so I think you're going to see a lot more of that at hotels right now. I think the dining options will still be there, but the setting will be a lot more geared toward outdoor dining. You can also take advantage of grab and go food options or request contactless room service delivery, too."
Take the Stairs
Opt for the stairs instead of elevators whenever possible during your hotel stay. This will cut down on your interactions with other guests, reducing the risk of possible health concerns. "Avoid riding the elevator with guests other than the ones you are traveling with," urged Rogers. "And always try to stay with your own group."
Park Your Own Car
"Ask about options for self parking where possible," said Rogers. "Or disinfect contact points within the vehicle after utilizing valet."