Maybe you already had a reservation for a winter getaway at an all-inclusive resort. Or perhaps you’re just considering taking advantage of the lower rates and heightened cleaning protocols. Either way, if you’re jetting off to an all-inclusive, you’ll want to do a little pre-planning to make the most of your trip—and have the safest stay possible. Here’s how.
Editor’s note: In addition to these safety tips, make sure you follow all travel restrictions and quarantining/testing rules before and after your trip.
Travel During the Week
Most check-ins happen between Thursday and Saturday, with departures on Sunday. So if you want to avoid the crowds—at least for a few days—start your stay on a Monday.
One of the downsides of traveling during COVID-19 is that spontaneous exploration is harder, because most sites/venues are operating on restricted hours or capacity. Advance planning is a must to avoid the disappointment of missing out on something you really wanted to do.
Select just a day or two of your stay for offsite excursions. If possible, rent a car. If you must take public transportation, keep your mask on and use hand sanitizer as you enter and after you exit the vehicle. It might be a little more tiring to group your adventures into a single day or two, but it will limit the number of times you need to take transportation. Bonus: it will also allow you to take better advantage of the different activities and relaxation opportunities at the resort.
For example, many resorts in tropical locations aren’t providing snorkeling gear right now. Others are limiting fitness centers to just a handful of people at a time, running group classes like yoga or salsa dancing only one or two days a week, and capping theater capacity at 30 percent. If you have your heart set on a particular activity, make a reservation before—or the day of—your arrival.
While many resorts will allow you to go mask-free outdoors, it’s still safest to wear one outside unless you can remain at least 6 feet away from the next-closest person. The distance doubles if you’re engaged in any kind of physical movement, such as walking, jogging, or biking.
Whenever you’re indoors and not in your own room—whether that’s at the reception center, in the elevator or stairs, or in the hallways—keep your mask on.
Check COVID-19 Cleaning Protocols
Most resorts are conducting deep cleanings between reservations, and reducing or eliminating in-room cleanings and turn-down service during stays. (They’ll still deliver supplies like extra towels and soap when needed.) If they don’t specify on their website that they’re not suspending in-room cleanings, it’s a good idea to request it at check-in. Or simply hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door.
Visit the Spa Wisely
Although onsite spas are limiting the number of bookings they take in a day, some are allowing guests to take off their masks during services like massage. Lower your risk of exposure by booking the first appointment of the day, or ask which times of day are lower-traffic. Even if it’s offered to you, use the shower in your room instead of the one at the spa. And avoid small, enclosed areas, such as saunas and hot tubs.
All-inclusives are famous for their multiple dining options, and it can be tempting to sample them all. But plenty of studies have shown that good ventilation is key to reducing virus transmission—and that any type of walls, including tent flaps—can greatly decrease the crosscurrents needed for COVID-era safety.
If your resort doesn’t have outdoor restaurants, choose the larger ones, and ask the host which times of day are busiest for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then go before or after the heaviest-traffic times. Wear your mask anytime you’re not seated, including trips to the buffet or the restroom.
You can also request takeout or room service, and enjoy the meal in your room or on your patio instead.
Minimize Bar Time
While bars are generally less populated in the afternoon or early evening, by mid-evening, they begin filling up with people eager to get social after months of physical distancing. Some resort bars also offer evening entertainment, like trivia nights, where patrons are encouraged to shout out answers or cheer one another on. Since alcohol isn’t always compatible with good decision making, it’s best to steer clear of bars from 7:00 p.m. through the early-morning hours. Opt for a nightcap at the hotel restaurant instead, or buy a bottle of wine or spirts from the gift shop, and enjoy a glass back in your room.
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