Whether you’re traveling with kids or flying solo, in this post we share some tips to help you enjoy travel in the age of COVID-19.
Keeping your family safe and healthy through COVID is daunting and often scary. But as vaccinations are rolling out more people are expressing an interest in travelling this year. As full-time RVers, we know that we are both fortune and challenged to be living a travel lifestyle during the pandemic. In this post I share some of our best tips and favorite resources for travel in the age of COVID-19.
- We follow the CDC’s recommendations. This means that we always wear a mask when we are in proximity of other people, we practice social distancing, wash our hands frequently and use hand sanitizer regularly. We minimize the time we spend indoors in public spaces, including fewer trips to the grocery store.
- We prefer not to eat at restaurants. This is our personal choice, instead we opt for takeout when we want to try a restaurant in a new place. Most of the time we cook in our RV, which also helps us manage expenses and stretch our budget further.
- Visit popular destinations during the off-season. It’s not always possible, but we often visit popular destinations in the shoulder or off-seasons. This helps us avoid crowds and it also helps manage the cost of our stays at RV parks because we are not paying peak rates.
- Make sure you are familiar with local travel requirements as well as your home state’s. Stay at home orders can change quickly. I’m always monitoring our current and next destination to make sure there aren’t any changes that might affect our travel plans. It’s also important to make sure you’re keeping tabs on any local requirements for re-entering your state. Do you need to self-quarantine or produce a negative COVID test within a certain time period? If you have children in school are there any quarantine guidelines you need to follow?
- Spend your days outside. Barring extreme weather, we’ve largely filled our days with outside activities. Regardless of our destination, there is always something to enjoy outside. We’ve always packed our trips with lots of sights and experiences, now prioritizing outside activities has encouraged us to get creative and appreciate our destinations in new ways. Wherever we are, we make a point to visit local monuments, indulge in cheesy photo opps, visit nature centers, hike local trails, canoe, kayak, swim…the possibilities are still endless.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When we went snorkeling with manatees in Florida we were required to wear wetsuits on the trip. I asked a lot of questions about how they sanitized the gear before I felt comfortable with my family wearing the suits. It’s ok to feel nervous or be overly cautious while navigating the “new normal” these days.
- Consider your comfort levels and your destination. Everyone has a different stance on wearing a mask, whom they’ll interact with, and how comfortable they are indoors, on planes, dining at restaurants, etc. It’s important to remember that the attitude toward COVID might be different at your destination than what you’re used to at home. If your kids are old enough, make sure to have a conversation with them to understand any anxiety they might be facing about leaving their COVID bubble. When we were on the beach in Ft. Myers, I heard a family trying to coax their teenage son out of his beach chair. I don’t know the back story, obviously, but I heard enough to understand that the mother and daughter were more comfortable being around people, while the son did not want to be near anyone. Your kids might have a completely different reaction than you when you leave the familiarity of your current situation (whether that be exclusively home, or a combination of places.) The same goes for visiting friends or family, especially in different locations. It’s better to have a conversation in advance of a potential visit than to realize you’re not on the same page once you’re together.
If I’ve learned one thing so far while travelling during COVID it’s that everyone has their own take on what it means to be safe. No matter where we’ve been, people seem to remark that a different place is less safe than wherever we are. This means that wherever we’ve come from or where we’re going next, someone has an opinion or fear about how COVID is being managed. I’ve become extra diligent about what opinions I let guide me in my decision making, and what comments I need to ignore for my own mental health and happiness.
At the end of the day the only opinion that matters when you’re planning your trip is your own. Make sure you’re honest with yourself about your concerns, and your judgements. Not everyone is going to behave like you. If you’re going to travel, make sure your location and itinerary is aligned with your personal approach to managing life during the pandemic.
Travelling with your family always takes work, but the rewards are worth the effort. Our experience so far has shown us that it is still possible to travel during the pandemic, even if it looks different.
Do you have questions for us? Let us know in the comments below!