This year, the COVID-19 virus has altered how we view travel and tempered our definitions of fun with the risk of exposure. Nevertheless, summertime is meant to be enjoyed, and we can’t help exploring options for vacationing safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’re looking for safe and cost-effective ways to actually enjoy some time off, here are some tips on finding responsible pandemic vacation options that will work for you and your lifestyle.
1. Be ready to call first, monitor websites for daily status updates and ask questions about the amenities important to you.
Every day, more businesses, attractions and recreational areas are opening, but it’s often with caveats. Parking lots may be closed, but pedestrian walkways and picnicking areas may be open. You could, for example, transport bikes within riding distance, park your bike at the destination and walk the pathways.
Another site may be open, but the visitor center and certain conveniences may be closed. In some cases, portions of an area may remain closed while others are available for use. Or, usual modes of access may have changed. Make a policy of confirming not only that a destination is open but also the details of what specifically is open before you go to avoid inconveniences and disappointments.
2. Be on the lookout for discounts and promotions from hotels, condos and other attractions.
With the extreme drop in demand, many hotels, bed and breakfasts, private homes, condo rentals and other vacation venues have reduced rates or are offering promotional packages that will let them cover expenses. You may be able to find a height-of-the-season stay for off-season rates — and enjoy it all with the appropriate social distancing and safety precautions.
Many state parks and campgrounds also have cabins for rent for campers who don’t have an RV or don’t want to rough it in a tent. Like or follow venues on social media, and sign up for alerts from the destinations where you want to go. This is the easiest way to catch wind of great deals, especially during this time.
3. Explore travel destinations that are within easy-driving distance.
It’s time to break out the roadmap. Search in terms of what is within driving distance in any direction. Destinations can be anything, but consider outdoor locations that allow independent experiences or exploration and would let you complete all travel in a day.
Landmarks, state parks, national sites, lakes and reserves are all areas that follow the “time, space, people, place” recommendations. This refers to the public health stance that, in order to reduce risk of transmission, you should focus on the amount of time you spend in smaller spaces with specific people, and the place at which you spend it. According to their recommendations, spending time outdoors helps to reduce this risk.
4. Splurge on a local outdoor experience or activities based on personal interests or hobbies.
Have you dreamed of doing a trail ride but always hesitated to actually book one? There’s plenty of space between horses. Have you thought about hitting the greens and experiencing for yourself what a round of golf is all about? Fishing can easily be an all-day affair. The same goes for boating, canoeing, kayaking or tubing.
Extend your activities to a few days of camping in a scenic spot. Pick up a few little inexpensive lenses for your phone, and see just how challenging and fun bird watching and wildlife watching can be when you set aside time in the right spot. Or, put on some comfy hiking shoes, break out the walking stick and start moving. From biking to kite-flying, it’s your chance to give something new a try or revisit something you haven’t done in a while outside.
5. Feel good about supporting your local businesses and recreational sites and investing in the longevity of your community’s amenities.
Many of the attractions, sites and activity facilities we most enjoy going to rely on the financial support of their own community members and patrons. Especially in these times, we all want to see those places continue to keep their doors open, so they’ll be available to us for years to come.
When you look, you may be amazed at how many pandemic vacation options you have within your own backyard — and how grateful those places are to host you.
At La Capitol Federal Credit Union, we’re here to help you thrive in these difficult times. From checking and savings accounts to credit cards and a full range of financial assistance options, we offer the choices that let you enjoy life on your terms—and maybe even save a little money along the way.