Is anyone else quaran-tired?! As we all grow bored of being stuck at home, we’re seeing more and more travelers reaching out to plan their next getaway.

While it may be a little harder than normal to plan an international trip, our domestic destinations are ready to shine! Until borders reopen and international regulations relax, we expect to see a surge of travelers satisfying their wanderlust by traveling within our beautiful USA.

For those clients who are ready to start traveling ASAP, we’ve put together 5 tips for picking a domestic destination for your next adventure. Have a destination in mind already? Check out our overview of state regulations and openings, plus updates to TSA regulations. You can think of this as your Domestic Travel FAQ!

Luxury Glamping Tent at the Resort at Paws Up in Montana
“Roughing it” in style in one of the luxury tents at the Resort at Paws Up in Montana

Recommendations and Tips for Choosing a Domestic Destination:

Make sure you know the requirements for self-quarantine

While many destinations are now allowing travel across their borders, that doesn’t mean that everything will be open. Restaurants, beaches, and attractions in certain places could still be closed, leaving you quarantined in a hotel room instead of your home. Check out our overview below of which states have the most relaxed travel regulations.

Consider choosing a destination with lots of options to get outdoors

Many states and local governments have restrictions in place on restaurants, retail spaces and attractions… but not on the outdoors! Try to pick a domestic destination with lots open parks, beaches or trails and get outside to enjoy the summer sunshine. Our favorites? States like Montana, Colorado, and Utah.

Make sure that the hotel that you choose is fully open

While hotels are starting to reopen their doors to guests, many of them are doing so in stages. Make sure that the hotel you choose has their pools, restaurants and other public spaces open so that you can truly enjoy your getaway. Not sure what will be open or the safety measures in place? Ask your River Oaks Travel Advisor – we’re in constant communication with our hotel partners to give you up-to-date information.

Consider a hotel room with a bit more space

Fine with traveling but want to be sure you’ll have room to breathe? Many of the hotels that we partner with have stunning standalone cottages, cabins, and villas that your advisor can help you book! Not only will you get some extra space (hello social distancing!) but oftentimes these houses have additional amenities such as kitchens or private pools for guests. Some of our favorite hotels for this are Montage Palmetto Bluff, The Resort at Paws Up, and Blackberry Farm!

Know your airline rules

Choosing to fly rather than drive? Make sure to research the airline that you’re flying with so that you know what their requirements are. Some domestic carriers are only requiring passengers to wear a mask while onboard, while others are requiring them even in the gate area. Worried about airports and social distancing? Consider flying private to avoid the crowds and give yourself the most stress-free travel situation possible! Ask us about private jet options for your summer vacation – our travel team can help you determine if it’s a good fit for you.

Horseback riding at Amangiri in Utah: one of our favorite domestic destinations
Horseback Riding at Amangiri in Utah: talk about social distancing!

Our Guide to U.S. Destinations and Their Travel Restrictions:

Now that we’ve given you a few things to think about when choosing a domestic destination for travel this year, let’s take a look at the various destinations and restriction levels. All U.S. states have begun to ease their restrictions on businesses and social activity, but there are a few different levels of openness to consider. In general, there are three restriction levels for travel within the U.S.: Minor, Moderate and Major.

Minor Restrictions:

In states with minor restrictions bars and restaurants, retail spaces, theaters and other public spaces may be open (although they are still practicing social distancing within these spaces). These states generally do not require a self-quarantine period for travelers from out of state.

States with Minor Restrictions: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Moderate Restrictions:

States with moderate restrictions may have restaurants, retail spaces and other personal businesses open but they have more stringent social distancing parameters than states with minor restrictions. These states may require a self-quarantine period for travelers from out of state.

States with Moderate Restrictions: Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Major Restrictions:

States with major restrictions still have far reaching stay at home orders in place and do not allow non-essential travelers at this time.

*For more details on individual states and their regulations check out this link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/national/states-reopening-coronavirus-map/

American Airlines: One of our many airline partners flying domestically

New TSA Guidelines:

As U.S. air travel begins to slowly reopen, we’re seeing more and more non-essential travelers at the airport. While air travel will continue to be a novel experience over the next weeks and months, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is instituting new guidelines and updates to its security process in order to protect travelers and TSA employees.

  • Travelers will now be allowed to bring up to 12 Oz of liquid hand sanitizer through TSA Checkpoints (superseding the previous 3.4 Oz rule).
  • Travelers will now scan their boarding passes themselves, rather than handing them to TSA agents.
  • TSA checkpoints will institute social distancing measures to allow for an appropriate amount of space between travelers.
  • Travelers will be encouraged (but not required) to wear a mask while passing through TSA checkpoints. You may be asked to remove your mask to allow for visual confirmation of your identity.
  • Travelers will need to place any carry-on food into clear plastic containers and place into bins separately from their bag.
  • Anytime a traveler has a prohibited item in their carry-on luggage, they will be directed outside of security to remove the item, preventing TSA officers from needing to inspect and touch the contents of the luggage.

We’re ready when you are

Our River Oaks Travel Team is excited to see the first light of travel recovery as cities and states begin to reopen. We’re also optimistic about the future as our travel industry partners (whether they are hotels, national parks, airlines or the TSA) begin to institute their new policies for a post-COVID 19 world. Whether you are ready to pick a domestic destination now or are planning for an adventure in 2021, we’re here for you and can’t wait to help you rediscover the joy of travel! Contact us whenever you’re ready to get started.

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