Exactly 194 days after our last hotel stay, way longer than we ever expected, our family stuck our toe into the world of leisure travel again and did a road trip to Southern Oregon. We stayed in a hotel – for the first time since the pandemic began. Staying in a hotel during COVID was something I was worried about, but also something that I knew, we had to overcome if we were ever going to travel again. I swallowed my fear, took some safety precautions, and got ready for our stay so we could enjoy our vacation.
Our family was headed to Southern Oregon for the Labor Day Weekend. We were planning last minute, and we did not want anything too pricey, and did not want to be staying where a lot of other people were staying. We booked a hotel in Medford, Oregon. Nicely situated in Southern Oregon, it was within two hours of all the sites we saw and had a lot of affordable hotels to choose from.
We chose to stay in a Comfort Inn in Northern Medford. It was a 3-star hotel, with decent reviews and an affordable price point. It had a pool, breakfast included, and was close to dining, shopping, and I-5 and HWY 62 which took us to many of the major points of interests.
The Hotels COVID Precautions
Before leaving the Bay Area, I called the hotel to understand the enhanced cleaning protocols and precautions that the hotel was taking. This is generally standard across major hotel chains these days, but I wanted to call and verify. The Comfort Inn was
- Providing enhanced cleaning protocols
- Housecleaning would not come to your room during your stay unless you specifically requested it. You can also request fresh towels or linens be brought up if you wish.
- Breakfast is available BUT it was severally limited. It only had coffee, juice, and some grab and go items such as yogurt, individual wrapped pastries, and fruit (even the apples were individually wrapped).
- The pool was open but they were limiting occupancy and people were asked to stay with their own groups and maintain social distance
- Masks were required in all public areas
- Social Distancing is encouraged in all public areas.
Personal COVID Precautions
Like during our flight in July, I was not relying solely on the precautions the hotel put in place, but we had our own precautions we made as well.
- Disinfecting – As we entered the room, we all wore our masks, and we each took a Clorox Wipe and started disinfecting an area. We wiped down all the commonly touched surfaces in the room before we settled in. This included doorknobs, the faucet handles, the lever on the toilet, the remote, the tables and the backs of chairs, and even the headboards. Once I was satisfied with this, we all took off our masks and washed our hands.
- Housekeeping – We chose to forgo housekeeping during our stay to keep the room containing just our germs. The kids helped me make the beds in the morning, and we were all good about hanging up our towels. I had planned to call to empty the garbage if we needed it, but we never did, there were multiple wastepaper baskets. And we always made sure to wash or sanitizer when entering back into the room after going out.
- Pool– A big reason we left the Bay Area and choose a place with a pool is because there was a heat wave during the weekend we were away. The access to the pool was a big selling point for the kids. We chose to go in the pool earlier in the day, after our breakfast, and were lucky enough to have the pool all to our selves for over an hour. I saw another family using it later in the day. I’d say one nice thing about choosing a hotel in a town that was generally where someone stayed for only a night, there was not a lot of demand for the pool. This was intentional on our part. The pool area was hot and humidity due to the hot tub, so it would have been hard to keep a mask on in there if another family was around. I do not think we would have gone in if another family came. And honestly, we would have likely left if one tried to join us.
- Breakfast – While we did grab some snacks from the breakfast Grab and Go, we did not actually eat breakfast at the hotel. There were no tables, so we would have had to go back to our room. The selection was sparse. They are normally known for having more of a selection and even a waffle machine, but all that is not available right now. Instead we choose to go to local restaurants that had outdoor seating and have a hearty breakfast and a light lunch instead.
- Social Distancing – A big way we choose to protect ourselves is through social distancing. We refused to go in the elevator with anyone that was not in our party. We headed straight from our room to where we wanted to go, and the same in the reverse. We even kept our distance and behind the sneeze guard when asking the front reception for anything. Housekeeping did see my husband one day and asked if we wanted our room serviced but we politely declined. It’s a little sad, some of the best people I’ve met have been people that we randomly ran into in hotels and on tours. But this time, we chose to keep to ourselves and stick to our little quaran-team.
At some point you just need to get away. If you can do it in a safe and responsible way that not only keeps you and your family safe AND keeps other safe, it can be done. Note, it’s not risk-less and you should always heed the CDCs guidance. But you can take measures to reduce the risk and help get back some of your sanity.
- Call the hotel ahead of time and be sure you understand their protocols and are aware of what is and isn’t available
- Come with plenty of masks, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and any other supplies you feel you might need
- Bring plenty of patience. Some people will not keep the required distance. Some will not be wearing a mask or wearing it properly. Some will do something that you don’t like. You need to have the patience to figure out what’s best for your family and walk away, even if it ruins your plans.
But the most important tip is to have fun and reconnect as a family once again! We were there during the release of Mulan, so we brought an HDMI cable, hooked it up to the TV, and did a family movie night, in the air conditioning in a new place. We did a family picnic in the hotel. We rested and enjoyed one another. This weekend escape was exactly what we need it and made our home that much more enjoyable to return to. It was worth all the extra work.
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