COVID-19 Disrupts Traditional Summer Vacation Plans

With an increase in "staycations," local businesses and short-term rentals are adapting.

NBC Connecticut

As cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continue to climb across the country, residents from 22 states have to self-quarantine for 14 days if they come to Connecticut.

The order to self-quarantine is having an impact on Connecticut residents as well, leaving long-planned vacations and trips up in the air as more people are opting for staycations.

Brooke Neller, from Litchfield, had to cancel a flight to see her grandparents in Arizona this summer.

"It is not necessarily the safest option," said Neller. "We are kind of waiting it out to see when it can be possible and safe."

Until then, Neller is opting for day trips. Wednesday she was at the beach in Old Lyme with a friend.

Travel experts say that while the travel advisories place a burden on the tourism industry, staycationers making day trips across Connecticut and vacationing locally should help support tourism-driven businesses.

Vanessa Ghantous operates a short term rental with her family in Groton through Airbnb. She said that she has heard from more local guests who are seeking a safe getaway near the beach.

"We are getting last-minute inquiries," said Ghantous.

Ghantous has made changes to her property and enhanced the cleaning protocol to make the stay safe. She has eliminated all shared space, like the kitchen, and now has guests enter her home through a private entrance.

"For their comfort and our safety," said Ghantous.

Ghantous said that she is following cleaning guidelines laid out by Airbnb and the local health district. Everything in the room is sanitized twice before another guest stays in the home, according to Ghantous.

The family is asking more questions of guests before booking to make sure they are not coming from COVID-19 hot spots or coming with a large group of friends. Ghantous said that she is also fielding more questions than ever before from guests. She said that she is happy to answer the questions and walk people through her protocol to help them feel safe during their stay.

"People are concerned about their personal safety," said Ghantous.

At Klingerman Travel in East Lyme, they are seeing business trend in the opposite direction. In a typical year, they estimate that they book about 100 trips a week. Now, they say they have booked about 10 or 15 trips since March.

"People are not traveling," said Alice Stickney, president of the travel agency.

She said that her team spends most of their time canceling trips that they have scheduled for clients and helping them navigate the cancellation/refund process.

According to Stickney, most major airlines are waiving flight change penalties through to the end of September. She believes that will be extended and is advising travelers with flights scheduled after September to hold off on canceling for now.

"Because the penalties will change again," said Stickney.

Contact Us