Summer is almost upon us, but this is going to be a very different type of summer. The country may be reopening, but the risk of COVID-19 remains. Until a vaccine is developed, this is a reality Americans will have to contend with every time they step outside. This new reality extends to vacation plans. Over the new few months, many Americans will weigh whether a trip makes sense. If you are going ahead with your vacation plans, you'll want to do some homework before setting off in the car. First, research the local infection rates of your destination. You'll probably want to avoid hot COVID-19 areas. So check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s seven-day reports, or CovidExitStrategy.org, which provides information on trends within each state, including the rate of positive test results. Check local regulations and restrictions. Depending on where your vacation takes you, there may be some "new normal" protocols to follow. For instance, many beaches remain closed and open only for local residents or they have strict limits of the number of visitors. If visiting a hotel or Airbnb rental, check the cleaning policies of your host or the rental company you’re using before you book. The property should already be disinfected when you arrive, and ideally it has been empty for 24 hours or longer. But make sure what you’re seeing with your own eyes matches the host’s pretrip commitments. If you want to be extra-sure or if it appears the house has not been thoroughly cleaned, do a thorough wipe-down yourself before you unpack. Make sure to clean high-touch surfaces such as counters, faucets, doorknobs, and the refrigerator handle.