Safe ways to resume travel during coronavirus

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Americans are taking more caution with summer travel plans during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Only 14 percent of travelers feel safe taking a domestic flight, and 17 percent feel safe at a hotel or resort, according to a survey by MMGY Global for the U.S. Travel Association from late April. 

Travel lovers are hopeful to venture out once the COVID-19 pandemic passes. 

But travel lovers are hopeful. Once the COVID-19 pandemic passes, more than half of the respondents from the survey said they’d venture out of town again with four in 10 saying they’ll likely travel by plane, and 1 in 3 saying they’d vacation closer to home.

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Here’s how to navigate safe travel and transportation:

Hotel stays

Hotels will likely be stripped of communal amenities like pools, spas and buffets. If they’re not, consider social distancing, health experts say. Upon arriving to a hotel, the travel industry suggests opting for non-contact payment solutions for things like check-in and considering food ordering apps and electronic ticketing for events or excursions to maintain social distancing with others.

TRAVEL INDUSTRY RELEASES NEW CORONAVIRUS RELATED HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES 

Car rentals

Zipcar, the car-sharing company, has added antiviral and antimicrobial solutions to its car cleaning service, the company said in a recent blog post.

“We’ve also promoted additional healthy hygiene and safety practices within the team that works behind the scenes to care for our vehicles,” the company’s website says.

Hertz rental cars put out a 15-step cleaning and disinfecting process for inside and outside of its vehicles, which will now be certified with a "Gold Standard Clean," to show customers their cars have been sanitized, the company's president and CEO Kathryn Marinello said in a statement. 

And Enterprise car rental company has also ramped up its health and safety measures, ensuring customers their vehicles have undergone "vigorous cleaning and sanitation procedures," according to its website.

Road Trips with recreational vehicles 

Roadtrips are a safe alternative to avoiding public transportation and a number of RV rental companies have seen an uptick in bookings.

According to a recent survey from RVshare, an online RV rental company, an overwhelming majority (93%) of users said they are looking to avoid crowds while traveling in the next three months.

"While the rush back to airports or hotels in busy cities may take a little more time, many will turn to RV travel. Renting an RV is the ideal way to travel to not only avoid large groups, but a way to escape into nature and spend time outdoors," a spokesperson for RVshare told FOX Business in an email. "With their means of travel, cooking, and sleep all on board, their trips can be completely self-contained allowing people to get back to traveling while doing so responsibly."

CORONAVIRUS DRIVES UP RV RENTALS, SALES

Bookings increased more than 1000 percent this month, the company said. And rentals can be an affordable option for travelers looking to get away throughout the summer. RV rentals typically range from $175 a night up to $300 a night depending on the make and model.

WHY IS GLAMPING TAKING OVER THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY? 

Biking 

If you’re having a permanent staycation in your home city or one that provides rental bikes be sure to wipe down handlebars with disinfectant as the virus can live on surfaces for 24 hours or up to a few days depending on the substance.

Citi Bike, for example, has expanded bike cleaning efforts by wiping them down once they return to shops and valet stations.

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Horse and car racing to resume in New York in June — without fans

Horse and car racing will resume in New York next month — without spectators in the stands, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.

All tracks statewide — from Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, Belmont Park in Long Island to upstate’s Saratoga Raceway may reopen June 1, the governor said at his daily press briefing in Albany.

“If you can have economic activity without a crowd, that’s great. We can do that in this state with horse racing tracks … no crowds, no fans but for the industry itself, for the televised viewers, that can still work,” Cuomo said.

Keeping fans out helps to contain the coronavirus, he noted.

The state is also working with Major League Baseball to develop a plan so that the Yankees and Mets could play, sans fans too, Cuomo said.

“When you look at the risk-reward, there is a lot of reward for minimal risk,” Cuomo said about televised sports when asked about the probability of a professional baseball season.

“We don’t control baseball,” he said.

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Carnival to resume some North American cruises in August

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Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald hopes scientists and officials align on coronavirus protocols in the coming weeks to help his industry.

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Carnival Cruise Line is slated to resume some of its North American trips this summer after the cruise industry suspended nearly all operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, Carnival Corp announced that eight of its ships from Miami, Port Canaveral and Galveston will resume operations starting Aug. 1. However, cruises in all other North American and Australian markets will remain suspended until Aug. 31.

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All cruises prior to this date will remain canceled. In April, the cruise line had hoped to resume some of its North American operations by June 27.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES EXTENDS CORONAVIRUS-RELATED CANCELLATIONS 

A week prior to the announcement, Carnival CEO Arnold Donald told FOX Business' Liz Claman that he was unsure when the cruise industry would recover from the cancellations caused by the pandemic.

View from onboard Carnival Liberty as Carnival Victory Cruise Ship departs the Grand Turk Cruise Terminal in the Turks and Caicos Islands on April 3 2014. 

Cruise lines were among the first to take a hit during the pandemic as travelers canceled or delayed trips and governments restricted travel to mitigate the spread of the virus.

The State Department advised against any travel on cruise ships, particularly for those with underlying health conditions. The advisory said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted an "increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment."

In response, the top cruise lines, including Carnival which had a few vessels become hot spots for the virus, offered full refunds or travel credits for travelers to use on future trips.

CARNIVAL CEO HAS 'NO IDEA' WHEN CRUISES WILL SAIL AGAIN

Months after trips were halted, travelers are now getting the chance to redeem those credits.

"We are committed to supporting all public health efforts to manage the COVID-19 situation," the company announced Monday. "We are taking a measured approach, focusing our return to service on a select number of homeports where we have more significant operations that are easily accessible by car for the majority of our guests."

The following ships will resume operations on Aug. 1.

  • From Galveston, Texas: Carnival Dream, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista
  • From Miami: Carnival Horizon, Carnival Magic and Carnival Sensation
  • From Port Canaveral, Florida: Carnival Breeze and Carnival Elation

Guests whose trips have been canceled, as well as their travel advisers, are being notified by email, according to Carnival. The email contains options for a combined future cruise credit and onboard credit package, or a full refund.

CARNIVAL TO 'FULLY COOPERATE' WITH CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE INVESTIGATION BY CONGRESS

The company plans to continue to engage with officials on additional protocols and procedures to protect the health of its guests and crew members as it works to navigate the situation.

"We appreciate the understanding and support of our guests and travel agent partners and look forward to welcoming them on board as the environment for travel and tourism improves," the company added.

Carnival did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for additional comment.

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