Written by: Kiersten Brown
The European Union has closed its borders to the U.S. but luckily for ex-pats like myself, we’re allowed to cautiously travel within the EU. To satisfy my wanderlust, I decided to visit Spain, utilizing Airbnbs while traveling throughout the country.
Guarded with my mask and hand sanitizer, here’s how I safely moved about during the time of COVID.
With this practically invisible virus, it was crucial that I maintained excellent hygiene practices. Frequent hand washing, not touching my face, wearing my mask almost all the time, and keeping my distance was the norm. When I went sightseeing, I’d go early in the morning, or during siestas, when there would be fewer people
When it came to choosing an Airbnb I made sure to stay with hosts who upheld sanitary standards. During my trip to Alicante, Spain, the host thoughtfully created a mini sanitization space — a place where I could disinfect my hands, keys, and shoes, before entering the apartment. Other hosts reassured me that my room had been disinfected before my arrival and provided hand sanitizer during my stay.
Airbnb, since the start of the pandemic, has implemented COVID-19 cleanliness protocols which include a 5 step cleaning process. Hosts that implement this process take a short quiz and upon passing, get a special acknowledgment on their host page.
For those thinking about doing some traveling, abroad or stateside, here’s how to ensure safe travels when using Airbnb.
1. Communicate with your host by asking them what their sanitization methods are. In addition, make sure you discuss if there are any special procedures to follow upon your arrival.
2. Book longer stays. With less movement, it helps limit the spread of the virus. So, instead of trying to condense your trip into one weekend, consider extending your stay to a week, allowing you to spend more downtime indoors and away from others.
3. Utilize your own cleanliness practices: Create habits around washing your hands when entering an indoor space. Actively re-sanitize commonly touched surfaces like doorknobs and keys.
4. Book a place all to yourself or with fewer occupants: The great thing about Airbnb is that there are many options to book. This allows you to choose places with fewer occupants which in turn limits your exposure.
5. Book in low-risk areas: When traveling to major cities, try booking places that are outside of the main city. With local transport, it can be easy to access the main city when needed.
The travel industry is slowly starting to gain some momentum but it’s important to remember that the pandemic isn’t over. With this new era of travel, we can still experience places we love but in a safer way.
Kiersten is a Travel Coach and Black Expat currently living in Spain. Her passion and business is to help women live meaningful and profitable lives abroad. You can get her free guide to living abroad by clicking here.