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After four months in the quarantine bubble, most of us are ready to burst. We need a break, an escape—and with the right precautions, we can have it. While it might seem small, a change of scenery with a pod of family or friends can have a big impact on our mental health. We’ve learned over the past months that the sudden shift to remote work, economic uncertainty, loss of childcare, and other changes to our usual routines have led to higher risk for burnout and stress: taking time away means taking good care of your overall well being.
To complicate matters, since the pandemic began, guidance for social distancing, shelter in place, and quarantine has changed a lot, often becoming confusing or contradictory. The good news: it is possible to escape from home for a weekend (or longer) if you know what to look for when renting.
Read on for the 10 things to check when renting a house for a summer trip away.
Look closer to home and save yourself the anxiety and stress of flying. More and more people are taking vacations closer to home that will give them the getaway they want without the added exposure of flying. Plus, if you’re one of the newly minted remote workers, you can get some time away and still fit in some work, making an even longer, more flexible summer getaway possible.
If you decide to fly, checking the airline's new regulations to prevent the transmission of COVID, including requirements to wear masks in the airport and on planes and their enhanced sanitization procedures, can help you decide which airline is right for you.
Before you kick off your vacation, you’ll need to get supplies like groceries, gas, firewood, and s’more fixings. This will require the kinds of human interaction we’re all trying to limit. One way to do this is one-stop shopping. Is your potential summer getaway close to a big-box store with most or all of the provisions you need? Can you receive grocery delivery?
Meal-prep is another way to streamline your trip. As well as making sure you’ll have everything you need once your getaway begins, thoughtful meal-planning will provide your guests their favorite snacks, cocktails, and treats, while meeting dietary restrictions and keeping everyone well-fed. Instead of popping out to the local market when you need something, prepping a list and doing one or two big grocery trips will minimize your trips out. With a little forethought, you can spend your trip relaxing instead of coordinating another venture out.
While we’ve learned that touching a contaminated surface isn’t as likely to spread COVID as we once thought, it can still happen.
If you’ve found a likely contender for your summer getaway, check in with the owners or the site you’re renting from to make sure that its cleaning protocols meet CDC standards. At Zeus Living, we’ve always had high cleaning standards, but have augmented our typical cleaning with added disinfection procedures. Ask your rental owner about their own practices to ensure your safety.
While you will be doing everything to keep your getaway clean, how much space you have can make or break a trip away. Things to check when renting a house are its dimensions and proximity to other homes. Your space may be private, but will there be other people in the vicinity, like neighbors? Are outdoor areas private or shared?
Since you’ll be spending most of your time at the house, space is paramount. Is there enough room in your getaway home for everyone to have their own room? To spread out? To have dedicated space for kids to play? Having additional space for alone-time is more important than ever, especially when there are kids involved!
Another social distancing concern is hosting. For those inviting friends up to their summer getaway, it’s helpful to make sure there is enough space for everyone attending to social distance. This may mean keeping visitors outside—which, during the warm summer months, is something most people were probably doing anyway. With six feet between you, it’s still possible to enjoy barbecues and outdoor games.
What’s a summer getaway without swimming, hiking, playing, and fun in the sun? Whether it’s proximity to a national park or reserve, a local park, or a yard, planning for plenty of outside time is an important thing to look for when renting a house.
Found a getaway you like? Excellent. Before you book, check out the state and local regulations for social distancing for that particular location. You can do this by visiting the CDC website, as well as official state websites and the social media platforms of elected officials. By now, you’re probably so used to thinking about COVID regulations that this is one of the first things you’ll think of when renting a summer getaway.
On the off-chance you find that you or someone with you is exposed to COVID-19 or starts exhibiting symptoms, being able to get tested for COVID can give you peace of mind. Before you book, check to see if there are nearby walk-in clinics or drive-thru testing spots where you can get tested.
More than ever, reviews are an easy resource you need to take advantage of. This will give you the information you need to book your summer getaway (or not). Have the owners or property managers been transparent about disinfection? Have other guests found that it’s cleanliness is up to par?
Even the number of reviews from over the past several months may factor into your decision. While lots of guests are a great sign, a rental home with a lot of turnover may pose a higher risk than you’re willing to take. This is one reason why longer-term rentals are gaining in popularity right now. Some guests feel more comfortable staying in an apartment or home with a lower guest turnover. Our average guest stay is 3 months, which means that fewer people stay in each unit—which means there’s less chance that a previous guest brought the virus with them.
For all of your planning, unexpected surprises can still happen. Finding a summer getaway with on-call technicians and a dedicated support team may sound unrealistic, but it’s not impossible to find. Many vacation rentals offer support if something—like an unexpected maintenance issue—comes up during your stay. When you book your getaway with Zeus, you can count on helpful, COVID-informed support for the duration of your stay.
While most summer rentals come with furniture, having everything you need waiting for you at your summer getaway won’t just feel like a relief. If your rental comes stocked not only with the basic furniture, but with everyday necessities, like kitchen and homeware supplies, washer and dryer, quality linens, and cleaning supplies, you won’t have to run out when you realize you didn’t pick up dish soap or laundry detergent.
With these tips, you’ll be ready to find the perfect summer getaway—and stay safe while doing it. Start browsing our homes now.