While everything remains fluid from state to state, summer vacations are possible and fun isn’t cancelled. It just takes a little more effort and staying closer to home.

While I’ll always defer to the health experts, there are ways to plan for a road trip this summer and limit the risk by considering these tips (and always wear a mask in public places):

  • Accommodations will be more important than ever now, since you’ll be spending more time there than normal vacations. Depending if you’re traveling with kids, an intimate group of friends or a couple, you will likely want to cook and have drinks at the property, due to bars and restaurants with limited seating to create more social distancing. Most hotel chains and properties have implemented as much contactless check-in/check-out options as possible. Call ahead or get in touch to learn about those processes. Look for accommodations with kitchenettes, Airbnb, Wyndham Vacation Rental or Vrbo so you can do some grocery shopping and limit outings. Or camping is a great option and you can cook right on the fire. Make sure to pack a cooler and plan for easy-made meals. That’s a real throwback to my Girl Scout days. You’ll see many RV’s on the road since it’s become America’s vacation mode as of late. If you don’t mind driving a larger recreational vehicle (sometimes that can be quite daunting!), visit GoRVing.com. Check out my friends and glamping experts HoneyTrek. They’re a fantastic resource and National Geographic authors!
  • While it’s not fun to plan a trip to the minute, you will want to look into restaurants that you really want to go to and make a reservation in advance (with a focus on al fresco dining options). Most venues will outline their new policies online and some are requiring a deposit to confirm your reservation in the upwards of $50 per person – wild times! That has happened twice now in Chicago. If you want to go to a winery such as my recent trip to the Finger Lakes, I selected wineries, spaced out in time, and made a reservation at each. One required a fee for the tasting and one only allowed the purchase of half glass, full and bottle. 
  • Consider how far the drive is and how many stops you’ll have to make (not a sexy topic but when you gotta go, you gotta go!). Look at the highways and route to see if there are service stations / rest stops open along the route. Most convenience stores or coffee places have opened but you won’t be running into one just to go to the bathroom. Rest stops are particularly good for that, grabbing coffee, a bite and getting gas to limit how many stops you have to make. 
  • Pack plenty of hand sanitizer (in a pump container if you have) and put in the cup holders of the car, so it can be top of mind to clean your hands as soon as you return from the gas stations, stores and attractions. I even carry wet wipes in the car to hold the gas pump. I just ordered some PlaneAire for when it’s time to take to the skies again, however, it can be used in the air and surfaces anywhere, really.
  • Keep up on local alerts and opening phases of those locations. Places like Los Angeles, Texas and Florida are already walking back opening up due to a new spike in cases, so avoid hot spots and densely populated places. It’s the perfect time for the great outdoors.

This summer, I’ve managed to drive to a few places like the Finger Lakes Wine Country, Montauk beach getaway, Indiana lake town Monticello to visit my best friend and visit nearby Ricketts Glen State Park to hike the waterfall trail.

Stay positive, take a mental health break and get away. Be safe, wear a mask and wash your hands (or sanitize) often!

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