Wait a second. Let us make sure we got this right.
All of us had to ground our spring/summer travel dreams. And now many destinations are scaling back opening as we enter the fall/winter seasons that experts are projecting will be even more dangerous?
We get it. But this is not good for our travel mojo! Amiright?
When the reality of COVID-19 sunk in in March, many of us in the U.S. thought we’d be able to embark on a safe summer getaway. Different, yes, but safe. Maybe even somewhat worry-free. And then, just as things started to open up in early Spring, heavy concentrations of coronavirus cases popped up again, and regions started to slow—and even reverse—their phased openings.
While we’re very happy that most parts of the world and country wanted to be safe rather than sorry, of course we were bummed to have to cancel the getaways that we hoped would happen.
But, honestly, dealing with that disappointment wasn’t nearly as bad as we expected. We hit our tipping point—the point at which we had to take a trip—and we made it work, all while adhering to the necessary precautions and guidelines. Let’s call it our ‘tripping point.’
And while we’re being honest, let us just say that we’ve hit a few tripping points over the last several months, and our getaways have been fantastic for our mental health.
We want to share the ways we’ve dealt with our tripping points so that you can too.
Extravagant day trips are an easy way to deal with your tripping point.
We’ve found that plussed-up day trips have been our secret weapon to combatting that feeling of “needing to get out” that is the hallmark of the tripping point. For two nature guys, that has meant a lot of outdoors-y trips. Nature trips are especially smart right now because you get to scratch that travel itch in a very satisfying but low touch/no touch way. Here’s what we recommend.
Most of the country lives within a car-ride of a national park or, certainly, other open space. This is the time to finally make that trip. If you are a hiker, take the long hike you’ve had on your list but haven’t made the time for. Bring your dog. Bring the kids. Wear a mask.
If you’re not a hiker (this is a good time to start), pick a not too far off—but far off enough—destination for a big daylong excursion. You know, all the places in your area that visitors go to but that you don’t make time for because, well, you’ll get there someday and your saving your vacation days for Hawaii or Walt Disney World. For us, that’s meant finally checking out places like Leavenworth, Port Townsend, and Poulsbo. Find ways to make the day special… Head out early with your warm beverages (or Pumpkin Cold Foam Cold Brews, don’t get us started) in hand. Fill the car with snacks and really enjoy the drive. When you arrive to your destination, pick a local business that is following local guidelines and treat yourself to a take-out lunch or—as we did in Poulsbo—far too many donuts for two men to consume at one time. Most importantly, slow roll it and make it special.
It’s amazing how magical and effective a day trip can feel.
Adventuresome road trips can be just what the doctor ordered.
Okay, so sometimes your tripping point is demanding something longer than a day trip. We get it. No, really. We get it.
That’s okay. We’ve got solutions.
For something longer, we recommend turning your big day trip into an overnight or multi-night camping trip. With a little research and some common sense precautions, you can also stay at a hotel, as we have.
Traveling in a pandemic is not easy—it demands some vigilance that can feel like work—but the nice thing about a one- or two-night road trip is that you don’t need to over plan. And because you’re staying in your own part of the world, if something goes awry, you can always get home easily. That’s a nice piece of mind.
We’ve actually done a few of these trips recently. For one, we did a two-nighter around the Olympic Peninsula so that we could experience some of the unbelievably beautiful places—Kalaloch, we’re thinking of you—that are fairly close to our Seattle home.
On another trip, we drove Highway 2: the Mountain Loop Scenic Byway. Along the way, we checked out Leavenworth and checked in on our old stomping grounds of Winthrop, an adorable western town tucked into the magnificent Methow Valley. The hiking was perfection—the Alpine Lakes Wilderness never disappoints—and the scenery almost made us forget the pandemic. Almost.
Airplanes and hotels are still in the cards.
If your wanderlust is demanding that you go further afield, at the time we are writing this, you can do that too. Within reason.
We avoided this kind of travel for many months. As things started to re-open, hotels and airlines were still figuring things out. So we gave them some time to nail down the new protocols. We are happy to report that they have and we’ve, just recently, given some longer trips a go.
Of course, you have to remember to be even more mindful of local guidelines and health protocols when you are away from what is familiar. In fact, we’ve had a couple overnight trips where we had to walk that talk. For instance, in Bend, Oregon—one of our favorite destinations in this part of the world—we popped into a donut shop (are you noticing a trend here) where nobody had masks on. We literally walked out. In Joseph, Oregon—another amazing destination that we adore—we had a business owner give us guff for wearing masks. So, we high-tailed it out of that place and went to an even cuter café down the road.
Those experiences aren’t common, but we knew the local guidelines and we stuck to them. Both for us and for the communities we were visitors in.
With those three options for tiny, small, and medium getaways, you’re all set. And Expedia has all the tools for you to plan for every step of the way. You can rely on Expedia’s Coronavirus hub to help you stay safe. You can also make plans and then, if something changes, change them. Check out Expedia’s Stays with Flexibility and Flights with Flexibility pages for details.
Whatever your situation, remember that this is just a moment in time. Know that things will, one day, open back up more fully. Until we have a vaccine, remember that simply indulging in the planning of your next big getaway(s) can be a powerful antidote when you hit your tripping point and will help your state of mind immensely.
Have you hit your tripping point? What did you do to scratch your travel itch?