Check out this checklist of considerations for family vacationing in the time of COVID-19.
By Maryann Jones Thompson
First off, my family is staying close to home this summer. After years of great adventures, we’re sitting this year out. I don’t need to explain why; everyone knows 2020 is not an ideal year to travel.
But travelers can’t be tethered for long. We know traveling opens minds, heals wounds, breeds happiness, and reenergizes souls. And we also know “not traveling” can mean the opposite.
While some families have had it relatively easy during the quarantine, others have been pushed the brink of sanity as they try to juggle parenting, working, activism, and anxieties. Getting away this summer isn’t about wanting to go, it’s about needing to go.
If you’re ready to take the leap and hit the road during the summer of COVID-19, it’s important to consider feedback from pioneering parents already back from June trips. We’re hearing of encounters with incredible new places and unpredicted hiccups.
In order to keep the summer sailing as smooth as possible, ROAM has rounded up parent feedback and expert opinion into a list of considerations for COVID-19 family vacations:
- Talk to your kids – It’ll be confusing at best or downright scary at worst for children who saw everyone staying inside for the past few months to hear the family is setting out on vacation. Like parents, kids can surely use a break – but be sure they know about all the precautions you’re taking to ensure their safety.
- Wear masks – It’s critical to follow virus-prevention techniques and wear masks outside at all times to protect yourself and the locals you could be infecting.
- Aim away from crowds – Yes, the most popular destinations and national parks will be less crowded than usual but they will still be far more crowded than plenty of other spots you could visit.
- Insulate your family – Think motel, not hotel; Picnic, not restaurant. Trails, not Main Street.
- Know your destination’s “climate” – While the tourist bureau and businesses may be welcoming visitors, local residents may not be – in fact, they might be downright unfriendly.
- Envision your travel step-by-step – Simple processes like getting from airport parking to the terminal or waiting in line for tickets can be fraught with unexpected anxieties and challenges..
- Fly nonstop – If you need to fly and can pay more to minimize stops and layovers, this is the year to do it.
- Know it’ll be different – Even though Rome or San Francisco or Tokyo might be open for business, these cities won’t be the same without the buzz of human activity that defines these capitals. Not being able to stroll crowded piazzas, jump onto a packed cable car or slurp ramen shoulder-to-shoulder with salarymen might mean it might be better to postpone that trip for another year.
- Prepare for the worst – Parts of Florida that reopened have just closed again because of increased infections. Social unrest continues across the U.S. If your family encounters a no-go situation, what will be your escape plan? And how will you afford it?
- Quarantine on return – As painful as it seems, if you travel far from home, you should keep to yourselves upon arrival to prevent becoming a “COVID Mary” in your hometown.
If this list isn’t sounding very relaxing or restful, be like us and get excited about a vacation near home this year. We’ll catch up on photo-album and video making, get our travel bucket list together, hit the beach, hike, canoe, backpack and camp in our state parks, and be ready for adventure when the world settles down.
Maryann Jones Thompson – June 2020
After a thousand years in publishing as a business journalist, ghostwriter, content strategist and market researcher, Maryann brings her experience traveling as a backpacker, businessperson, expat and mom to writing and editing for ROAM.
© ROAM Family Travel 2020 – All rights reserved
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