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  • Lisa7367

Seven Things To Know For Road Trip Travel During Covid-19

After being home most of time for the past several months and having to cancel a European trip planned for this summer, like so many other people, due to COVID-19, I recently decided to take a short road trip to the beach close to home.

With the ever changing restrictions happening with domestic travel due to the rise of COVID infections in various states, and with today's new order by New York State Governor Cuomo (effective at midnight) with two other states: New Jersey and Connecticut, I have decided to restrict any road travel this summer to only in my home state of New York, specifically the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions. The new order requires travelers from nine states where the infection rates are higher, as well as New Yorkers returning from those states, to have to quarantine for 14 days or be subject to a fine.

Normally, I would drive from my home to Crystal/Bay Beach in Canada (less than a 45 minute drive) but since we also cannot cross the border in Canada now for discretionary travel, I decided to travel about an hour away in the opposite direction just south of Buffalo to Sunset Beach, in Irving, NY, along the sandy shores of Lake Erie.

I found a great place when I did a search on Airbnb, just three miles and a seven minute drive from Sunset Beach. Hanover Hideaway is definitely a great "hideaway" as I had never heard of it. It is a really nice B&B, with wonderful accommodations and three private rooms, each with a private bath (ranging from $120/night in the Nature Room where I stayed to $165/night in the Vineyard Room. There's a common area, dining area, kitchen and large front porch. The B&B was also very clean using eco-friendly products and had beautiful furniture with a relaxed rustic feel. There's 20 acres of beautiful landscaping and pine trees, a backyard pond, and a great breakfast. The owner accommodated my food sensitivities which I appreciated. I plan to return again this summer. More information is on the website at

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and a couple days on the beach. After my second day there, I realized that I didn't take enough time and that I actually needed more than a mini-vacation. So, in addition to plan to return to Hanover, and dependent on the continued decline of the rate of COVID infection in NYS, I hope to take some more road trips this summer.

Right after I checked in to the B&B, I drove the short drive to Sunset Beach. The public portion of the beach was smaller than I remember it but it's been a while. There are sections blocked off to the right and left of the beach that are private due to cottages there. It was $5 for entrance to the public beach, and $5 for parking. Not bad, and I did enjoy a spectacular sunset at night (hence, maybe why the name Sunset Beach?!) but during the day, although people seemed to practice social distancing and it wasn't too crowded, the loud music all day from Sunset Bar was a bit much for me. There were a lot of groups of teenagers on the beach, which was okay - that would be me many years ago! But, I wanted something more layed back.

At breakfast the next day, the B&B owners gave me a tip about "Hanover Beach" basically next door to Sunset. It was quieter, less people, some families and there wasn't an entrance or parking fee. Although there were more rocks in the sand, I liked it here better. Not much parking here, but I managed to find a spot. Watch for the "No Parking" signs near the beach, marina and private cottages. A friend met me and we spent the day on this beach which was an absolutely perfect beach day. Although I had planned on being on the beach in Sicily around this time, this was still a good modified plan to enjoy the beach.

As far as restaurants in the area, there is one right on the beach "Cabana Sam's Sunset Bay Grill" that was pretty busy on the patio (not surprising, with recent restaurant patio openings too) especially later in the day, and if you are in this area, do not miss "Aunt Millie's" Restaurant. I went with a friend who recommended it. Something about eating at a restaurant that's been there for over 50 years, and seeing a big showcase of desserts as soon as you enter, is just nostalgic and a place that you know you have to try. Good prices and excellent food and after my friend telling me I must try their desserts and seeing the array behind the glass counters when I walked in, I knew I had to have dessert. The large slice of coconut cream pie was amazing! You can take out an entire pie for $37 and when you return the steel tin it comes in on another visit, you get a $7 credit on your bill.

Overall, a good time but these are different times for any travel. Based on my road trip travel experience last week, here's what I encountered from start to finish in my two-night/three-day stay:

1) Know the state mandates and requirements before planning your trip.

There are plenty of resources available to educate ourselves on this; some links at the end of this article. With things continuing to change, stay informed.

2) Review any updated policies and procedures beforehand; expect increased cleaning and service costs due to Covid-19.

I booked my accommodations at the Bed & Breakfast through Airbnb, as I have with many of my travel plans in the past. What I realized after my stay when I compared the total cost I paid with what it would have costed if I had booked directly through the the B&B website, is that although not uncommon to have a cleaning fee on an Airbnb booking, the cleaning fee was higher than any other accommodation I had booked in the past on Airbnb ($50), and the service fee seemed higher too (about $40).

If booking on the B&B's website, this would have included the the room charge and tax for a total of $271 as well as a $65 deposit if staying seven days or less (if more than seven nights, a 50% deposit). So the difference between booking on Airbnb instead of the website was about a $60 increase. When I researched this more on Airbnb since I am also a Host at times, I realized that hosts are likely setting higher cleaning fees now due to increased cleaning and sanitizing protocols deemed necessary for Airbnb Hosts. In the "Resource Center" on Airbnb, there is a detailed list as well as articles under the "Resources" setting, in "COVID-19 Resources," which provides a complete handbook and regular updates to navigate Airbnb hosting and traveling right now. Since I am also an Airbnb Host, I reviewed all of the updated cleaning and sanitizing requirements and agreed in writing to the commitment for this updated host protocol.

So, just review all policies including cancellation policies (which may be more lenient now), and restrictions due to COVID-19, any additional costs, on both Airbnb and the accommodation website and distinguish if there is a difference in cost if you booked through Airbnb, another booking app or website or directly on the host website. I have always had great experiences with Airbnb hosting and accommodations, but there are new rules to follow in these unprecedented times.

3) Keep your disinfecting wipes and sanitizing spray handy.

I keep disinfecting wipes in the front seat of my car and a sanitizing spray in my purse. I felt my accommodations were very clean and sanitary, and sanitizer was available on the table when you first walked in the door, but having my own always handy helps to reduce any anxiety regarding sanitizing on the road.

4) Operating at less capacity may limit availability so book farther in advance.

B&Bs and other establishments are operating at 50% capacity, and CDC is recommending 72 hours between rebooking a room. At the B&B I stayed at, the owner did not allow more than two different parties to stay at the same time, and she called me prior to accepting my reservation to make sure I was okay with another party staying there. She did the same with notifying the other party about my stay. Accommodations were put in place so I would not be sharing the same dining space at the same time with the others. I ate breakfast at a different time and a different table than the other party so we were not in the same dining space at the same time.

I also chose not to sit in the common area living room space but did enjoy the large front porch and backyard.

5) Expect More Rules & Restrictions.

On the beach's website and at its entrance, there are a list of "Beach Rules," the first being social distancing, masks to be worn within six feet, and there is a NYS mandate for a lesser capacity of people on the beach, etc. Owners of the B&B wore masks and gloves when I saw them cooking breakfast as did the restaurant staff. The air conditioning also was not on at the B&B but with the windows open and the nights cooling down, it wasn't needed. Don't forget to bring your mask when you need to wear it, have some patience, and to tip a little more to restaurant and hospitality staff who are working under a new set of guidelines.

6) Gas is less expensive

All the better for road trip travel! I purchased gas for $1.84/gallon (cash only, and few cents more per gallon if paying by credit) at a Native Pride Mini Mart in Silvercreek.

7) Unplug - really, and enjoy!

Let a close friend or family member know you are traveling, where you are going and to only call in an emergency. I found that if I allow myself to answer every call during a short getaway, what's the point of getting away? Suddenly you realize, hours have gone by, you're still on the phone, and that you haven't yet fully capitalized on the R&R - why you originally took the trip!

Have fun! Guess what? You can still enjoy yourself even while adhering to the restrictions. I found most people are acting responsibly. My accommodations were great, I spent time with friends on the beach, saw an amazing sunset, and finished that book that an old friend wrote that I've been meaning to read for a year!

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