A Breakdown of the Safest COVID-19 Summer Accommodations

Family entering a hotel wearing face masks.

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Key Takeaways

  • Vaccination status should play a major role when deciding to make your travel plans this summer.
  • You should avoid crowded and shared common spaces.
  • Vacation rentals may be safer than hotels or resorts, especially for those who haven't been vaccinated.

Summer travel is on the minds of many Americans, but not all vacation destinations are created equal in the face of a pandemic. Before booking your stay, there are a few factors you should consider—including vaccination status—to minimize your chances of spreading and catching COVID-19.

“If everyone in your group is vaccinated, then most arrangements should be pretty safe,” Anne Liu, MD, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care in California, tells Verywell. “But if there are unvaccinated individuals in your group, then you want to avoid situations where you might be indoors and unmasked with others.”

Choosing Safe Accommodations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that fully vaccinated individuals are clear to travel anywhere in the United States, as well as internationally, as long as they follow the destination country's own guidelines.

The CDC also provided guidance on how to choose the safest type of accommodations. The organization recommends making sure ahead of time that your accommodation of choice has COVID-19 prevention guidelines in place.

For those who are vaccinated, the CDC still recommends:

  • Wearing a mask in public when indoors
  • Avoiding crowds
  • Social distancing 
  • Washing your hands often 

Hotel Versus House

According to the CDC, renting a house is safer than renting a hotel room, especially for those who have not been vaccinated. 

A house provides a private space you don't have to share with others and gives you the ability to cook meals and store food. It's generally safe to stay in a house or vacation rental with people who have been fully vaccinated. Lodging with unvaccinated people or others outside of your household can be riskier.

Hotels are considered higher risk due to the common areas you share with people outside of your household or travel group. “While a hotel room itself is quite safe for your bubble of people, you will need a strategy for safe dining, and indoor hotel restaurants are not advised if you're not vaccinated," Liu says.

All-Inclusive Resorts

When traveling to popular tourist destinations, many choose to stay at all-inclusive resorts. Like hotels, these are considered less safe due to shared common areas, pools, restaurants, bars, and spa services.

If you're set on an all-inclusive trip, you can make your stay safer by:

  • Traveling during the week to avoid crowds
  • Wearing a mask both indoors and outdoors unless you can social distance while outside
  • Booking spa appointments early in the day when there is less traffic
  • Eating your meals outdoors and avoid inside dining
  • Visiting the bar during off-hours to avoid crowds

“If you are considering an all-inclusive resort, inquire about how they ensure safe dining,” Liu says. “You should avoid the crowds of buffets and swimming pools.”

Camping and RV Parks

Camping and RV trips became increasingly popular during the pandemic. The CDC recommends camping with people who are fully vaccinated or members of your same household. Overall, experts say camping is one of the safer activities you can partake in this summer.

When camping and staying at RV Parks, the CDC recommends:

  • Avoiding shared facilities where social distancing is not possible
  • Minimizing interaction with people who are not wearing a mask or social distancing
  • Avoiding large dormitory settings 
  • Camping in separate tents, spaced out 6 feet apart
  • Not sharing cooking utensils
  • Packing hand soap and hand sanitizer
  • Avoiding crowded playgrounds

What This Means for You

For those who are fully vaccinated, traveling within the U.S. is considered a low-risk activity by the CDC. However, no matter your vaccination status, you should continue to wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands frequently.

Plan Ahead

Planning the details of your trip ahead of time can help minimize the stress that comes with traveling during a pandemic.  

You should make sure to book excursions, restaurant reservations, and rental cars in advance. It's also a good idea to confirm COVID-19 safety protocols before visiting any venues.

“Adhere to the current CDC guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals,” Liu says. “While adults are now all eligible for vaccination, unvaccinated children from different households should not be together indoors without masks.”

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Safer travel ideas.

  2. SmarterTravel. How to stay safe at an all-inclusive resort during COVID-19.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visiting parks and recreational facilities.

By Amy Isler, RN, MSN, CSN
Amy Isler, RN, MSN, CSN, is a registered nurse with over six years of patient experience. She is a credentialed school nurse in California.