This year, as never before, everyone is paying attention to travel safety whether you are traveling with children or not. Not surprisingly, at the time of the COVID-19 coronavirus, every trip is fraught with more or less risk. We have prepared for you a list of important information on travel during a pandemic.
We traveled around Poland for the last two weeks and had the opportunity to stay overnight in various hotels and guesthouses, so we were able to assess and see what traveling during a pandemic in Poland is like. Is it the same, better or worse? Is there anything to be afraid of?
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Safe vacations in Poland during a pandemic, is it possible?
We want to share our observations, thoughts and conclusions with you, because during the trips we received a lot of inquiries about the observance of sanitary conditions, the availability of attractions, the operation of hotels and restaurants.
We ourselves have also been very attentive to how the hotels and facilities are prepared, and have spoken to many employees and owners about the new conditions. However, we must be aware that this is a completely new situation for both hotels and guests. So, on the one hand, we have facilities that need to be as flexible as possible and adapt to ever-changing sanitary requirements and recommendations, and on the other hand, guests who want to finally relax and take a break from the pandemic.
What does it look like in practice? Feel free to read the following post :)
Accommodation in the age of pandemics
At the outset, we must point out that in EVERY facility we have been to, it has been apparent that coronavirus is not being ignored and pretended not to be there. The minimum that was available was publicly available disinfectant fluids and information about COVID in the context of sanitary recommendations. We spent the night in hotels and guesthouses, where there is a reception, restaurant, hotel rooms or a whole house for us.
We could see that accommodation facilities are simply trying to find their way in this situation and of course there are some shortcomings, inaccuracies or inconsistencies but in our opinion this is due to several aspects.
First, facilities interpret legal requirements and sanitary recommendations differently. Wear masks on the way to the pool or not? And at the reception? Do they have the right to order guests to wear masks? Can the buffet function or not? Facilities really take a different approach to recommendations.
Some point out that guests don’t wear masks, some don’t wear masks at all. We also had a situation where it was only during our stay that large cards were hung up in the hotel informing about the obligation to wear masks, because guests did not comply.
A different situation? In one of the hotels visited there was an open so-called “monkey grove” for children (even with balls), of course with information about the obligation to disinfect hands, but in another facility such a playroom was closed, because the hotel was not able to ensure disinfection of all surfaces and toys.
The second aspect is the issue of technical and logistical capabilities of hotels. We have encountered situations where the hotel has not adapted, for example, the common areas or the restaurant so that guests maintain an appropriate distance. One example was a restaurant that was too cramped, where pillars and tables prevented guests from moving around safely. When we paid attention it came out that simply the facility does not have the ability to organize it differently, or was not aware that in practice people will not quite move as they should :) If you find yourself in such a place it is worth simply paying polite attention to the staff right away.
Another aspect is the approach of guests. And this is a river topic :)
We felt reasonably safe in each of the facilities, although much depends on what attitude the hotel guests themselves have toward the subject of coronavirus. Because what if the hotel can try to prepare everything according to the requirements, will stand on its head to make sure that people keep their distance, if the guests will have it anyway.
In all hotels it was highly emphasized to keep your distance, in many there were special placards informing about disinfection of places, and the order to wear masks (remember that masks after the hotel should be worn, including in the restaurant when you approach the table).
We have the impression that where the hotel made more of an effort, and the staff themselves were well protected, whether there were tapes where to stand, etc. then the guests also adhered more to the regime. Unfortunately, many visitors recognize that they are on vacation, including from the coronavirus, and that here they are in no danger.
We, for our part, have always tried to comply with the regime. We took advantage of the ubiquitous liquids, kept our distance from others even at the expense of losing our place in line (it happened ;) ). Some hotels also provide guests with disposable masks in addition to the liquid, which we rate highly on the plus side, as many guests most simply did not have them on their packing list.
An important note at the end – don’t be surprised if your room is not cleaned during your stay. In all places, cleaning was only on request, to limit service contact with guests. For us, this is a very good idea, because even before the pandemic, as a rule, we did not need this cleaning. If there is a need to throw away the garbage, or change towels or linens just ask, the staff will take care of everything :)
Restaurants in hotels (meals vs. coronavirus)
As for meals in hotel restaurants, many places still have buffets, but in most establishments the food is put on by the staff so that people don’t have too much contact with the serving utensils and food. In one facility we encountered an open buffet with a note to apply with one’s own cutlery, but unfortunately we witnessed someone reflexively leave a spoon behind and more people continued to use it.
You should also pay attention to how the drinks are: are they served by staff, or are there self-service machines that guests walk up to and press buttons.
We definitely felt more comfortable and safe when everything (even drinks) was served to the table or served by the staff, and the staff had their faces covered and gloves on. In most places, we saw that the tables were staggered to maintain a safe distance.
However, many people choose facilities with a kitchen or at least an annex and rely on preparing meals on their own :)
As for the outside restaurants and cafes, on the other hand, we had no major complaints. The fact that we, by design, chose those where there is a lot of space, or we took food to go. It is apparent, unfortunately, that the reduction in the number of tables is related to the fact that queues happen to these better or more popular restaurants and one has to wait longer for food.
Attractions at the hotel and in the field
Let’s remember that it is not by sleeping and eating alone that man lives. When we go on vacation, we want to see something, visit something, go for a walk, or use hotel attractions like playgrounds, pools or spas.
Let’s start with what we do outside the hotel. Here we have the impression that everything has already returned to normal. Restrictions on the number of guests remain, more attention is paid to cleaning and disinfection of places, in closed areas you have to wear masks, but in some places you could feel completely normal :)
In some museums, open-air museums have temporarily closed attractions or expositions where objects are touched, which is perfectly understandable for us.
However, we encourage you to use common sense and always think about your safety and the safety of others first, and only then about pleasure. If you are very anxious to go on a cruise, pay attention to whether you will have the space to yourself, whether the car you are taking on safari was definitely cleaned, whether the table where you will be sitting is cleaned after previous guests. It is always worth paying attention to the staff if it is different, because maybe it is just a coincidence, but maybe a standard action.
During the trips we used the hotel pools and playrooms, We always took great care of hygiene. Swimming pools seem to be a super option, as there are no crowds.
Remember, however, that if a pool or other attraction is open in one hotel does not mean that it is also open in other facilities. So it is always worthwhile just before arrival or just under the reservation, to ask what attractions in the hotel are open and already functioning and what is not yet (such as swimming pool, massages, playrooms).
How do you travel during a pandemic?
Finally, we would like to emphasize that it is difficult to predict how standards will be maintained in a given hotel in a few days or weeks, and this is probably the biggest downside of traveling these days.
Even if we now write that the food in a particular facility is served to the table, it is not known whether this will also be the case during the holiday season. If we ended up in a hotel with guests who kept their distance and wore masks it doesn’t mean that equally aware guests will be in a week’s time. It is also unclear how the situation in the country will evolve and what kind of strictures may come next month.
We can only assume that if the facility is already making every effort to keep its distance and security then it will continue to do so. If he is doing more than the minimum imposed by sanitary authorities then the health of guests is important to him.
When the staff and management behave prudently then there is also a greater chance that guests will follow the regime, and thus we will all be safer.
However, if you end up in a place where you do not feel comfortable, bring it to the attention of the staff, tell them what they can do better to make guests feel more comfortable, and if the facility does not change anything, it is best to change the place of accommodation :)
We also recommend you some of our other articles:
- Hotels for families with children in Poland
- Ideas for day trips in central Poland – Lodz area
- Wroclaw – 3 suggestions for a family weekend
Have a successful and peaceful trip in this crazy Summer of 2020! :)