What a year 2020 has been. From remote learning, to business restrictions and shut downs, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our daily lives. It has also paused important moments and milestones, like graduations, weddings and birthday parties.
The fall and winter holiday season, known for its indoor gatherings of family and friends from near and far, is right around the corner and will likely require adjustment due to the pandemic. Here are three important planning-around-a-pandemic tips to keep in mind as you prepare for the 2020 holiday season:
Consider Virtual Alternatives to In-Person Gatherings
Indoor gatherings in enclosed spaces have been limited in Massachusetts throughout the pandemic. Because not everyone has the same risk tolerance in terms of COVID-19, you or your family may be uncomfortable with large parties. To avoid arguments about what is best, a virtual alternative may be the best option. Videoconferencing can let loved ones near and far gather together for conversation. You can make your own Thanksgiving meals, or enjoy your favorite holiday story or even film this way. You may even start a new tradition!
Plan Early, but Be Prepared for Last-minute Changes
Every state has its own rules and restrictions on travel, and those can change pending on how the rate of new COVID-19 instances increase or decrease. It’s important to research and develop a plan early on for any required travel this holiday season. Some states require a negative test within a certain period of time, or mandate a quarantine period. These factors should be part of your planning. But be prepared to change them.
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Guidance around COVID-19 changes frequently, so things can look very different in a few days, never mind a few weeks or a month away. Don’t be so tied to a plan that it will ruin your holiday spirit if things go sideways.
Pro Tip: Get Travel Insurance
If your airline, hotel or AirBnB doesn’t offer an updated refund policy in light of the pandemic, consider travel insurance this year. Be sure to read the fine print or discuss with a travel agent what the insurance covers, such as cancelations due to illness, or newly implemented travel restrictions.
Shop & Ship Packages Early to Avoid Delays
In the spring, the number of COVID-19 cases required many non-essential businesses like retailers to shut down. With the upcoming flu season and continued pandemic, you may want to start holiday shopping a little earlier than normal to get in front of any potential challenges.
Similarly, it never hurts to add in some buffer time when shopping online or mailing packages. Giving yourself some breathing room will ensure that presents arrive at their destination in time for the holidays, and can save you the stress and headaches.
The holiday season may look a little different this year, but with preparation it can still feel magical and special. Pandemic or not, celebrating with those you love shouldn’t set you back on your financial goals. Check out our helpful tips for saving, budgeting and reaching important milestones in our Learning Center.
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Rockland Trust gives you a variety of services that help you use and manage your accounts, whenever and wherever you want.
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