Here's how to minimize COVID-19 risk while vacationing this summer

Summer vacations are anything but normal this year due to the coronavirus. With people leery of shared spaces and crowds, renting a private vacation home may be more popular than ever. Even if you're renting a house for just you and your family Consumer Reports said you need to take precautions.

Nancy Vargas rented a home in Orlando for a family vacation.

"A big reason why we went with a Airbnb home versus staying at a hotel was that it was just going to be us in this immediate area, and we felt that we were protecting ourselves during this time," she said.

If you're planning to rent a vacation house, here's how to minimize your risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus.

"If you're traveling from a place with a high rate of COVID-19, you should quarantine yourself for at least two weeks before you go or after you arrive," explained Lauren Friedman of Consumer Reports.

Officials in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and in New Jersey are linking Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to a recent local spike of positive cases.

And both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have issued 14-day self-quarantine travel advisories that include more than a dozen states so plan ahead. Check the refund policy on your booking now. Look closely for terms that apply if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in the area or if new travel restrictions are put in place.

And if you're heading out of state, keep tabs on the rules in and for that locale.

When it comes to the rental home itself, it should already be disinfected prior to your arrival, but you can also do a thorough wipe-down, making sure to clean high-touch surfaces like counters, faucets, doorknobs and refrigerator handles.
If you want to be extra cautious, rewash all the dishes.

But since a normal wash-and-dry cycle is generally enough to get rid of the coronavirus, clean sheets and towels provided in the rental should be safe to use.

Also, don't travel if you are already sick. And if you or someone in your party develops COVID-19 symptoms during your stay, take action.

"If someone in the house has a fever or respiratory symptoms, they should be kept isolated in a separate room. Call your doctor for advice and notify the local health department as well as the host," said Friedman.

When you get home, write a review to help future guests make informed decisions.

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