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- I’m a travel writer, but hadn’t left my home in Los Angeles since lockdown began, where cases never really dipped before spiking again this summer.
- To celebrate birthdays and catch our breath amid unrelenting bad news, I planned a family weekend in Palm Springs, which is a two-hour trip from home for our first post-lockdown getaway.
- While my husband and I generally prefer hotels, we viewed an Airbnb as our safest option for a contact-free experience and a private pool.
- Read more: Which is safer: Airbnb or hotels? Here’s what doctors say.
Even though I’m a travel writer, I’ve spent most of the last four months at home with my family — like many Americans — amid the pandemic. As frustrating as it’s been to be cooped up, I have not viewed this as the time to take risks with health and safety. We live in Los Angeles where cases plateaued at best, before spiking again this summer.
But July is historically a favorite time for vacation in our household since it’s the time of both mine and my twins’ birthdays. And with our summer travel plans to Tahiti off the table this year, we needed something — desperately.
We opted for a long weekend to Palm Springs, our happy place, which is just about 120 miles from home. This, of course, dovetails with trends across the country seeing most travelers opting for post-lockdown trips to regional destinations within 200 miles of their homes.
And while my husband and I are very much hotel people, preferring amenity-rich hotel experiences to home-share environments, I viewed all hotels as off the table, right off the bat. I’d spoken to experts over and over again in reporting travel safety stories for Business Insider over these last few months, and understand that the greatest virus transmission risk comes from direct encounters between people. That meant a private vacation rental was the only way we were willing to travel.
In the first few months of the pandemic, Palm Springs banned short-term rentals, but this restriction lifted in June, which is when I started searching for lodging, aiming for a date in late July. Surprisingly, many of the options suiting my needs were already booked for the summer weekends.
I would have preferred a refundable option given the uncertainty of these times, but those options were limited too, especially for what I wanted: a property in the range of $300 per night (or approximately under $1,400 all in with taxes and fees) with at least two bedrooms and a private pool.
Ultimately, I selected this “Spacious Desert Oasis Mid Century Home” and made my booking. Here’s how it went.