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Return Of Great American Road Trip? Coronavirus Alters Vacation Plans, But These Summer Getaways Still Safe, Doable

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A lot of traditions have been put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. That includes family trips. But as many states start to ease restrictions and reopen, travel experts say people are getting creative for their summer getaways.

If ever there was the need for a getaway, about now sure feels like the time.

"I, personally, want to go away. I should be leaving this Saturday," Atlas Travel owner Suzanne Shank said.

Shank's trip to Grand Cayman had to be put on hold right along with the spring and summer vacation plans of millions of Americans.

"A lot of what I have done is I've taken my '20 business, put it in '21 and also in '22, if you can believe it," Shank said.

Shank is the owner of Atlas Travel in Norristown. She says that summer 2020 getaways are still possible if social distancing can be adhered to.

To cut down on the risk of COVID-19 exposure, she advises driving over flying right now.

Enter the resurgence of the great American road trip. The journey is the destination, right?

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Nowhere is that more true than onboard an RV.

"It is unbelievable. I can't tell you how busy we are," Carefree Coach Rentals owner Steve Miceli said.

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Bookings at Carefree Coach Rentals in West Chester have soared in the last few weeks as families seek out alternative travel.

"When you RV, I mean you're traveling," Miceli said. "You're socially distanced already so it's already a really responsible way to get out there and see things without feeling like you have to get into a hotel or airplane."

Rolling out to a campground or park is a great option, just as long as you know and adhere to any travel restrictions or stay-at-home orders in place.

"You just want to make sure you are looking into that before you go into a different state, just so you know what to expect," Miceli said.

If a home-on-wheels isn't your speed, vacation rentals are still a popular choice.

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In March, Airbnb updated its cleaning guidelines for property hosts and if a complete scrub-down is not possible, the property must sit empty for three days between guests.

According to AAA, domestic hotel bookings have also been on the rise since mid-April.

"We like to think of ourselves as the industry that is cleaner than any other, except maybe hospitals," American Hotel and Lodging Association President Chip Rogers said.

Rogers says that guests will notice increased cleaning crews and recreational separation. A wise idea is to ask about mobile check-in and keyless entry upon booking.


"If that's your preference, the technology is there, you can use it," Rogers said. "We even suggest it."

The summer getaway theme of 2020 is staying safe, healthy and in control.

If that sounds more like a staycation, well, then bon voyage -- to the backyard.

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