A Guide to Responsible Travel in Summer 2021

Jun 15, 2021
A Guide to Responsible Travel in Summer 2021

Being at home 24-7 for months on end has likely inspired a bit of a travel bug in all of us so we expect summer travel to be back, maybe not in full force but close, this year. Whether you plan to venture on a quick weekend away, a month-long stint in another state, or a tropical vacation, getting there will look a little different. It’s important for both your health and the health of everyone you’ll come into contact with that you take the necessary safety steps before you leave, along the journey, and at your destination.

We put together a quick “how-to” guide to travel responsibly this summer whether your jet-setting or road-tripping. These tips will walk you through what to expect and how to prepare so your travels can be fun-filled and virus-less. 

Before You Go 

Preparedness is everything when it comes to traveling safely and responsibly this summer. You can do most of what you need to before you go. If you do, you’ll be more at ease throughout the entire trip, and if you don’t...well, let’s not consider that an option.  

Know the Restrictions 

First, and most importantly, you’ll need to research what restrictions your destination has in place and what restrictions your home base will require of you upon return, if any. 

Different countries and states have different rules for incoming travelers that you’ll need to know before you go. For instance, some countries are completely open to U.S. travelers while others require a negative Covid-19 test before entry, and others require proof of a Covid-19 vaccine. States such as Hawaii, require either a negative Covid-19 test or a quarantine upon arrival. In addition to meeting the requirements, every place has unique surveys or forms you need to fill out prior to arrival, especially with international travel. You can get the most up-to-date information on the local health department website for your destination. 

The bottom line: Before you even book your summer travel, know what you need to do before you go. 

Say “Yes” to Travel Insurance

If 2020 taught us anything about travel plans it’s that they could go up in smoke in an instant. So, it’s a good idea to read the fine print on the cancellation policy and purchase travel insurance when necessary. While we hate to focus on what could go wrong, it’s better to be safe than sorry; the rules of the place you’re going could change, your office’s remote-work policy could shift, or, worst-case scenario, you or someone in your group could receive a positive test result before you’re supposed to leave. Protect your travel purchases and give yourself peace of mind by securing travel insurance or a great cancellation policy before you go. 

Pack… a Bit Differently

Packing for travel in 2021 looks a little different than it did in 2019. A few of the things that weren’t on your list back then, are now things you shouldn’t leave home without. 

First, a face mask...or three or four or five. Remember the early days of the pandemic when we thought one face mask was enough? Now we know both how dirty our face masks can get and how easily we can lose them, and when it comes to traveling you don’t want to be caught without. You’ll need a mask everywhere you go from the plane to the uber and from the hotel to the convenience store, so pack a few for you and a few for your kids too. 

You’ll also need hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to keep you and your surfaces clean. Heck, pack the entire Safe + Clean Kit and use the disinfecting spray to clean, deodorize, and disinfect the place you’re staying. With these tools in your suitcase, you’ll be prepared for every germy encounter. 

Get Tested

If you plan to travel and you aren’t fully vaccinated the CDC recommends getting tested for coronavirus with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip. In addition to wearing a mask and safely distancing 6 feet from those around you, getting tested is the best way to ensure you aren’t spreading the virus when you travel to a new destination. Even if the place you’re going to doesn’t require it, it’s the responsible thing to do.

Along The Journey

Once you’ve prepared to leave by checking all the necessary boxes according to your destination’s health department, packed your bags, and received your negative test result, the fun part can begin! Getting there’s part of the fun, right? Here’s how to be a responsible traveler along the journey. 

If You’re Flying 

Traveling via plane means crowded quarters both in the airport and on the aircraft, which does pose an increased risk of getting sick, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and others. The most obvious step—and a required one by most airlines—is to wear a face mask. Grab a comfortable, breathable mask that you can wear for hours at a time and consider doubling up with a face shield on full flights and in busy airports.  

If you followed our packing advice, you’ll also be equipped with antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer (make sure you put these in your carry-on). Use alcohol wipes liberally to wipe down your seats, tray tables, and armrests, and spritz your hands regularly with sanitizer to keep germs at bay. Give your devices a good wipe-down while you’re at it!

Finally, always stay up to date on the airline’s policies surrounding covid as they are constantly changing. Many airlines have forgone food and beverage service, so if you’re taking a long-haul flight, or traveling with kids, you’ll want to be prepared with plenty of snacks and drinks and be sure to eat a hearty meal before you go. Some airlines are keeping some seats empty as well, which can be great if you’re traveling as a family. Ask the flight attendant or flight crew if there are any available rows where your family can sit together and avoid close contact with other passengers. In addition, some airlines have increased the frequency of cabin air filtration to help prevent coronavirus transmission.

For those that are traveling with infants, we share all our tips for a safe journey!

If You’re Driving

Germs aren’t only on airplanes. If you’re driving to your destination or taking a road trip, there are a few responsible actions you can take as well. Particularly when stopping at gas stations and rest stops where a lot of traffic tends to pass through, be mindful about sanitizing and always wear your face mask. Use effective alcohol wipes that will kill 99.9% of germs to wipe down gas pumps, keypads, and door handles, and always use hand sanitizer before and after picking up food, getting gas, and using public restrooms. 

Grab a Safe + Clean Kit and keep it in your car to use both along your road trip and once you reach your destination or destinations. Then, roll down the windows and hit the ground running until the blacktop ends.    

At Your Destination 

You’ve made it. You’ve arrived at the destination of your long-awaited vacation. Although it may feel like you’ve stepped into a totally different world, you’ll still need to practice your best anti-virus moves while you’re there. You’ve made it this far so we have total faith you’ll be able to tackle these final few tips with finesse. 

Take It Outside 

The great thing about summer travel is that you’re likely headed somewhere warm and most of the activities will be outdoors. Keep it that way by planning outdoor adventures such as hikes, swims, bike rides, picnics, and more, limiting time (and always wearing your mask) indoors, making dining reservations on the patio, and embracing the sunshine at all hours of the day (with sunscreen, of course). Consider taking your workout outside too, instead of opting for the hotel gym. 

While in your hotel room or at your rental, keep the windows open to allow as much fresh air to flow through the space as possible, and dine on the deck whenever you can. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water and wipe down surfaces regularly. 

Give Everyone Space

Regardless of where you go and what “personal space” means to you or the people there, do your best to show respect to the locals and other visitors alike and practice social distancing. Lay your beach towel down at least six feet from others on the sand, allow plenty of room for people to pass on walkways, and be conscious of limiting capacity in elevators, shops, and waiting areas.  

If you arrived by plane, limit the amount of time you spend on public transportation and in ubers by renting a car or walking from place to place when possible. In the rare times when you don’t have a mask on, remember to share a smile with a stranger, a pastime we surely all miss and can appreciate. 


While this list of responsible actions to take while traveling may seem long, most of these things have probably become second nature to you over the course of the past year. Instead of wearing your mask, socially distancing, and sanitizing often at home, you’re just doing it on the road, in the air, or at your dreamy destination. These simple steps don’t require much from you, and in return, you get to travel and enjoy a new place and a restful vacation once again. After this year, we know you need it. So, kick up your feet and let the sweet experience sink in.  

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.

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