No surprise that we’re all a bit stir-crazy after the last few months of this quarantine. And whether you think it’s too soon or not soon enough, states are beginning to open and local travel is becoming a possibility again! But before you jump in your car and head out of town, there are a few things that you should consider first to have some great adventures!
It goes without saying…
Just because you’re leaving town and your routine, doesn’t mean that you should forget the ‘new normal’ habits. Keep your distance, wear a mask in stores, wash your hands, hand sanitize regularly, etc.
Before heading out of town, try to do a mental scan of your health. How are you feeling? Feeling off at all? Do you have signs of being an asymptomatic carrier (ie. “Covid toe or rashes.) Wouldn’t hurt to take your temperature before you hit the road as an overabundance of caution. It’s not about you, it’s about protecting people you may come in contact with.
Do Your Research…
It’s important to spend time researching the areas you’re thinking about visiting. Know ahead of time which areas are opening up and which are remaining closed. Some campgrounds in Maine and New Hampshire are opening up to state residents only and others are opening to season campers only. A lot of places are opening up with limited capacity, meaning there is the potential for either long lines, or no entrance at all.
Facebook has been a helpful source of information as it changes daily. A lot of restaurants, parks, campgrounds, and trails have been posting updates on how things are going to be working when they open up. If facebook doesn’t have the info you are looking for, call ahead.
Be Considerate to Locals…
States like New Hampshire and Vermont have VERY limited cases and deaths compared to Massachusetts. It’s important to be considerate of that when you’re traveling to other states and small towns for adventures. They do not have the infrastructure to handle huge cases like Massachusetts does so it’s up to you to protect them.
If you’re going to small towns, try to practice the concept of “pack it in, pack it out.” This usually applies to backpackers, to pack out their waste and trash and not damage the environment. This goes for travel from “high case” areas to “low case” areas as well. If you’re you’re going on adventures to a small state, do all your shopping and prepping back home, keep to yourself while camping, then pack everything up and carry it home with you. Leaving behind anything is one more chance of exposure for small towns.
But also, Support Local Business…
Though I think it’s good to avoid stores and facilities in a small town area if possible, it doesn’t hurt to support the small businesses that usually run off of tourism. Whether that means ordering take out from a local restaurant, grabbing an ice cream cone to-go from a local shop, or ordering curb side pickup from a small vineyard or brewery, small decisions like that go a long way for businesses that have been hurting due to the shut down.
It should go without saying, but be patient with the wait times that you may encounter at some of these small businesses. They’re have to change their entire system of how they do things, and it’s probably stressful enough as it is. Hearing horror stories coming out of a beloved ice cream parlor in Cape Cod is enough to make you lose faith in humanity. Treating workers and business owners with respect is not a lot to ask!
Step off the Beaten Path…
It’s easy to google “state parks” and head straight to the closest one, but chances are thousands of other people did the same thing. Not only does this cause social distancing challenges but it stops the locals from enjoying their own parks as well. There are plenty of other places to explore on your adventures.
Challenge yourself to get off the beaten path and explore less popular areas. Don’t know where to start with that? Try pinterest, scrolling around on google maps, and checking out local websites/magazines. If you’re still daunted by that, ask me! I specialize in finding the hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path locations in an area. You’d be amazed at what you can find if you don’t follow the heard!
But how should I travel?
If you’re just venturing out for a day trip, you don’t have to worry as much. Just hop in your car and hit the road. But if you’re trying to venture farther for some weekend adventures, you have several different options for overnight stays.
As of right now, tent camping isn’t an option in many campgrounds but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw your tent on your back and trek well into the woods. That’s a skill set that I have yet to acquire though, in terms of what you need for food and supplies for a night like that.
However, a lot of the campgrounds ARE opening to “self-contained” RV’s, which means RV’s with all the living accommodations enclosed: water, sleeping, cooking, waste disposal, etc. Don’t have a fancy RV sitting around? Check out one of the many websites available for borrowing people’s RV’s. Outdoorsy or RVshare are a good place to start! If you’re not a fan of using someone else’s RV, check out CruiseAmerica for some great rental options!
If RVing and camping aren’t your thing, a lot of Airbnb’s and hotels are still taking reservations. It’s important to do your research though and make sure that they are taking proper cleaning precautions. For Airbnbs, you’ll probably be okay with renting whole houses or apartments, but I’d avoid renting rooms in people’s houses in the meantime as it’s much harder to regulate.
There is hope yet for a summer filled with adventures my friends! Be conscious, respectful and informed and you can make some great memories in the wake of one of the toughest times in our lives. If you need any help or guidance planning a trip, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I’m more than glad to take the time and stress off of your shoulders and do the research for you!
Need some inspiration for local adventures, check out my previous blog post: Explore You Own Backyard.
Safe travels! Until next time…
You made a lot of great points here and I like how you pointed out to be respectful to the locals and considerate to their infrastructure, but to also support local. I think when traveling a lot of people have been thinking “I don’t want to get sick” and not about keeping others from being sick. Thanks for sharing!
This is a helpful and insightful article about stepping into our new normal way of traveling. Thank you for the tips and reminders of how to continue to stay safe as we begin to feel more comfortable leaving home to explore and travel.
Absolutely agree with this article. As travelers, we have to be very cautious about inadvertently spreading covid if we are asymptomatic! I love your tip about small local businesses – we’ve been trying to do that a lot even at home. Stay safe <3
These are important – I’d even say mandatory – tips for travelling in these times. I’m surprised that some people seem to think that they just flick a switch and everything will be just like before. It won’t – and you are making it pretty clear.
These are great tips. We have been going to state, regional, and national parks during self-isolation. They were empty and great for natural social distancing. We have also visited small towns (hidden gems) with empty landmarks like ruins, unusual rock formations, and monuments.