As coronavirus persists, stay-at-home travelers look to get creative


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It has been months of staying inside, from the end of winter, through a good part of spring, and with summer not too far away. Many want to ease back into society, but the coronavirus is still lingering.

“It’s important for us to be socially interactive, but not socially isolated,” Dr. Chris DeFlitch with Penn State Health said.

He says when it comes to air and ship trips that “it’s about following those guidelines. It’s about washing your hands wearing your masks it’s about keeping your social distance even when you are on vacation.”

People are still planning to have fun according to AAA Central Penn.

The travel company says it has seen people book global and national trips. “But, predominantly most people are focusing on domestic travel. They are thinking they want to take summer vacations, a little smaller, little shorter trip than they normally do. Still, a lot of people looking to go to the beach and national parks,” Christina Bucher, Vice President of Travel for AAA Central Penn said.

Bucher says Philadelphia, New York, Florida, Arizona, and California are topping the list and that travel will go on — but in a different way.

“They are going to find some different things. So for example, if they go to check in to a hotel, hotels are looking for new protocols,” Bucher said. Procedures involving less contact with hotel staff and check-ins from home will be more common.

“For those who are cruising, that might have enjoyed multiple dining venues and self-service buffets, that’s going to change,” Bucher said.

A devastating change has hit the tourism industry across the globe, country, and in Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania’s tourism had an accumulative drop in traveler spending of over $4.2 billion,” says Carrie Fischer Lepore, Deputy Secretary of Marketing, Tourism, and Film, DCED.

PA Tourism is offering virtual experiences on its website, encouraging visitors to then make an in-person stop when Pennsylvania moves into the green phase. “A lot of the research right now is showing people will probably be traveling about a two-hour distance from their homes,” Fischer Lepore said.

Airydale Retreat, in nearby Huntington County, is counting on people traveling with its glamping adventure.

“Glamping is a combination of words: glamorous camping, so it’s meant for people who want to experience camping, but not necessarily want to set up the campsite,” Matt Zook, co-owner Airydale Retreat said.

It’s a way to social distance and relax. “Inside the tent, there’s a bed, table, basic cookware,  everything you need, so basically what you do is you come in, bring food, bring a good book or something to do, and just enjoy your space,” Zook said.

If you decide to take to the sky, Harrisburg International Airport wants you to consider its less crowded airport.

“So what we are hoping for is people do feel comfortable coming to Harrisburg and that the flights that are offered are filling up as quickly as they can so the airlines see the demand for flights from here and they add more flights may be in June or July in August.” Scott Miller, with Harrisburg International Airport, said.

One thing is for sure, vacations, as we’ve known them, are changing, at least for now.

“You see people maintaining social distance but yet having the social interaction, I think that is part of our next new,” DeFlitch said.

AAA has additional travel information down below:

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