As the summer season progresses and states and municipalities enter the 5th month of shelter-in-place orders, it’s natural to want to get out. Until state and local governments allow for full openings and for things to get back to “normal”, here are some ways to be safe, perk up, and make the most of summer, under the circumstances.
A safe “getaway”" is a staycation – such as picnics on your lawn or balcony, swimming in the backyard pool, or basking in your personal home spa by day; movie-watching at night. Let the kids have a “field day” with backyard camping.
Nothing says summer like communing with nature. Spending time in the sun and getting fresh air and some exercise are refreshing and healthy and you can do it with minimal contact with others. While some park activities like group hikes, swimming, and horseback riding might be shut down, the basics are still there to enjoy. Visit a local park for some hiking, walking, or bike riding.
Want to get away from home for a bit? Hop in the car and head for the nearest historical district for some close encounters with outdoor landmarks. Or take a day trip to explore a nearby town you’ve been meaning to visit.
Up for a more extensive excursion? Road trips are more popular than ever this summer and a great way to keep your distance, as opposed to air travel. You can get in some quality travel time and still keep a distance from crowds. Drive your own car, rent a car, or combine travel, food, and lodging with the convenience of an RV. Don’t own one? Try renting an RV. There are sizes and amenities to fit your needs and desires. Not the RV type? You can still load up your vehicle with your camping gear and set off for parks with campsites. Pitch a tent, light up the camp stove, and enjoy the great outdoors in low-tech fashion.
If you are planning on staying in hotels, check websites for the cleaning regimens and safety precautions at your desired hotels and be mindful of high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, stair banisters, elevators, and writing instruments like ink pens.
It Takes Some Planning
It’s vital that you find out what’s open before making further plans. Some venues and public places such as parks and recreational sites have closed temporarily or indefinitely. Many sites require reservations in order to stagger people to manage social distancing. And that’s a good thing because that usually means limited people and less distancing to worry about. If you’re crossing state lines, find out if your state and the state you’re traveling to have quarantine restrictions in effect and what they are.
Once you’re on the road, you can do more planning using GPS to find gas stations, eateries, lodging, rest stops, and picnic areas. Many public rest areas are open. If not, truck and travel gas and food stations are good places to use the bathroom facilities, gas up, and grab a bite to eat. Google Maps will let you know if they are. Another resource is your state’s Department of Transportation or motorist organizations like AAA.
Plan for the unexpected by packing toilet paper, hand cleaner, and towels, just in case. Regarding eating, your phone will come in handy here too. Many restaurants are asking you to order by phone or with their cell phone app, which is efficient because it lets you spend less time in the store ordering and waiting for your food.
Eating shouldn’t be too big a problem. You’ll find plenty of drive-through and take-out food options. If you want to take some of the uncertainly out of the equation, pack food and snacks in a cooler – even if it’s just to keep perishables and drinks like Juice Squeeze nice and cool.
Masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, wipes, snacks, water, and other drinks should be on your list to pack. Don’t forget the first-aid kit. Keep physical contact with others to a minimum. When exchanging credit cards, use gloves. Gloves also come in handy at the gas pump. And try to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
Other answers to your COVID-19-related questions should be available through your state health department’s website, and the websites of other states in which you’ll be spending time.