Why traveling to states with rigid restrictions is the safest vacation

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By Sandi Barrett, Contributing Writer

Camden, ME

New England – Road tripping is the new travel adventure, and now that New England states are easing restrictions, it’s time to dip our toes in the travel waters. New England is cautiously opening up, and that brings a certain amount of restrictions to help to keep you safer. Consider the throngs on the southern beaches and the havoc it has caused those states that opened up with lenient guidelines.

Maine currently has the most restrictive policy for visitors. If you visit from Massachusetts, you are required to self quarantine for 14 days or take an antigen test within 72 hours of visiting and test negative. You must sign a health certificate confirming you took the test and it was negative before you can check in to overnight accommodations. Additionally, you can be asked to produce the results of your test and face a $1,000 fine for falsifying the health certificate. While you need to jump through some hoops for Maine, it is a desirable vacation spot because it has stringent requirements that help keep Maniacs and her visitors safe.

Block Island, RI

Rhode Island is also managing their visitors with a high degree of caution. Fortunately there are no restrictions when traveling from Massachusetts. In many Rhode Island cities, you are required to give your name and phone number before you can sit and dine. The information is required for contact tracing if needed. Rhode Island requires visitors from states with a positivity rate higher than five percent to quarantine for 14 days. Massachusetts is below the five percent rate, making Rhode Island a good choice for a getaway.

Vermont updates their Cross State Travel Website weekly. The website color codes each county based on cases per million. If the county you live in is green, there are no quarantine restrictions. If yellow or red, you need to follow the restriction guidelines; two weeks of quarantine or one week with testing. Vermont is a lovely place to just drive and see the scenery, pack a picnic lunch and dine al fresco; the ultimate in social distancing.

A good place to start visiting is our own state. Massachusetts is cautiously opening up and there are many places where you can get a change of scenery and feel like you are on an adventure. Try World’s End in Hingham, the old carriage paths are easy to navigate and the views of Boston are lovely. You must reserve a spot to park and enjoy the beautiful grounds. Effective August 1, Massachusetts requires returning residents and visitors (other than from New England states except Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey) to self quarantine for 14 days or test negative within 72 hours before visiting.

New Hampshire is currently allowing Massachusetts residents to visit without any restrictions. In general, New Hampshire is set up to social distance every day; towns are small and houses are on large lots, it’s a win-win. They are not strictly enforcing mask wearing, so if you are a little tentative about coming face to face with someone, it might not be your first choice. New Hampshire is requiring a 14 day quarantine for states other than their New England neighbors. 

Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey require any traveler from a state that has a positive test rate higher than 10 percent or a 10 percent plus positivity rate to self quarantine for 14 days. As of July 28, 2020, Massachusetts’ positivity rate was 2.7 percent.

Your trip will be successful if you research where you want to go and settle on restrictions that make you feel comfortable. Best travel tips; bring several masks, keep hand sanitizer in your car, and pack an emergency cooler for water and snacks. Consider planning your road tripping getaways for mid-week; you will encounter smaller crowds which will improve your ability to social distance. With some preparation and smart planning, you can enjoy a successful road trip to some of the most restrictive and safest states. 

As things are often changing, it of course makes sense to check the different states’ website before you plan a trip. 

Sandi Barrett is a freelance travel writer and blogger at TravelWithSandi.com.