For most families, the school year is over and after being home for months, there’s this desire to get out and explore. However, with coronavirus cases growing, many families are wondering, can we have a safe summer getaway? Today we'll see how!
Summer Break (without Travel?)
We’re in a strange season. Usually, summer is when families on vacation, but travel is tricky (to put it mildly).
Different parts of this country are being hit to varying degrees. We have states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and South Carolina where the cases are leaping up and they’re hitting new records. You also have some states where the numbers are fairly steady like Virginia and Connecticut.
We also have different restrictions in place depending on where you are. Some states are even reversing their openings.
So the questions become – is there a safe way to have a family trip? Or are we stuck at some for another season?
We’re going to look at a few ways you can have a family getaway – more local for sure- as well as making a staycation truly fun.
In this episode, we’ll get into:
- Return of the Family Road Trips, Weekend Getaways, and Day Trips
- Travel tips to minimize your risk while you’re away from home
- The joys of a staycation Yes, you can stay put and enjoy yourself. (At least that’s what my husband Rob thinks. )
Let’s get started!
Travel Tips for Family Vacations
Want to enjoy a great family getaway this summer? Here are some resources to help!
- Best Budget and Money Apps: Personal Capital, Tiller, Mint
- CDC Guide: How to Protect Yourself & Others
- Stick to road trips this summer because of the pandemic, travel expert says
- If you miss travel, road trips could be your key to safer summer getaways
- 30 Fun Family Activities To Do While Social Distancing
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The Return of Road Trips
Road trips are making a comeback and they've always been a popular frugal option if you're going nearby. But I think this year they are definitely taking off because we are trying to stay more local and regional, which we'll discuss why in a few minutes.
From what I've noticed, there are three main types of trips that families are taking.
The first one, our family visits. Yep. We haven't seen our loved ones in person. So visiting our relatives is high on many people's to do list.
We recently had my mother and brother-in-law over and it was a fantastic trip. They came down, it was a low key stay, but the girls really enjoyed seeing them in person and enjoy one another's company.
Second type of trip are the weekend getaways, but Hey, now that all these days are a blur weekday getaways work as well. And these are short trips, but they're in local areas, usually just a few hours away from where you are.
It could be going to the beach or to the mountains, just kind of having a change of scenery.
And then the last one is day trips. And day trips can be wonderful, precisely because they are short.
You can leave in the morning, enjoy someplace else, and then come back and stay in your own bed.
Where Should We Travel This Summer?
In terms of destinations, I think parks are going to be the top spot to go. There are great places to connect and still maintain social distance.
Going for a beach trip can be a way to unplug and recharge, but you want to be mindful of the locality. Is it a tourist spot? Then you might want to pass.
This also may be a wonderful season to go and visit the mountains. Get a cabin away from it all and relax.
6 Tips for a Safer Family Vacation
Now the two key things to remember wherever you decide to go on your trip.
Be prepared. Restrictions will vary, not just state to state, but by County or the city level at times.
Be flexible. Restrictions have been changing. We have some States opening up some pausing and then some pulling back. So you want to make sure. That you're flexible enough that you can adjust where you're staying at.
You also want to be flexible because there's going to be a little bit more work when it comes to actually taking your trip.
Now, while on the road, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Try to keep your trip semi-local. See if you can choose a spot that you can get to and come back with one tank of gas.
- Shop and pack your groceries beforehand. Again, we're trying to keep these getaways and trips safe as possible and minimize your family's risk and the impact you have on whatever community you go ahead and visit.
- Bring masks and some backups, including disposable gloves. Those are going to be important. when you're pumping gas, you want to use those disposable gloves.
- As always, washing your hands regularly is key. I know bathroom breaks are inevitable. But if you are going to make those rest stops, minimize them for only necessities.
So I hope these tips help you to have a safer family getaway and enjoy your summer.
Staycations: Explore Your Town
Ah, staycations. People have very strong feelings about that. And I think part of it is they feel that first half's the staying means simply staying at home, but that doesn't have to be the case.
In fact, staycations can be great for several reasons.
If you have a family member who has an underlying medical condition, it's understandable that you want to stay put for now.
Also we have little ones. Now they're eight and five, which is an incredibly fun age. However, if they were in their toddler phase, now, I honestly would choose to stay home, to reduce the stress factor.
And let's not forget how budget-friendly a staycation can be, but staying at home doesn't mean being bored.
Now for our anniversaries, we usually go and take a small trip or little getaway together. But a few years ago we did a staycation. I was eight months pregnant at the time. I was not really wanting to go on a trip.
So we did one, but instead of just staying at home, we decided to make it exciting by choosing something that we enjoyed, which was going on lunch dates.
Like many couples. We had a situation where for years we had this list of restaurants we wanted to try out, but the list kept growing.
So during this week, what we did is we picked our favorite spots, the ones we really wanted to try out, and all through the week we went on those dates. And it was so much fun.
So if you're thinking of a staycation, try thinking of that way, what is that lens or that thing that you enjoy about vacations that you want to emphasize while you're here earlier this year as a contributor for the family and finance column over at mince blog.
I wrote about family activities that you can do at home. And some were geared for families looking for outdoor fun while others could be done inside.
You can see all 30 ideas on Mint, but I want to highlight just four, so you can see the different ways that you can play around with this staycation.
- Depending on the city or town that you live in, you don't have to do a day trip, or we can get away to enjoy the great outdoors while minding social distancing rules. You can enjoy playing outside with the kids, having a picnic or doing an outdoor activity like tennis. And if you're looking for an indoor friendly option for those days where you can't get outside, maybe it's raining. You can go on virtual tours around the world. There are field trips like Yellowstone or San Diego zoo, or the aquariums around the country and world that you can try out and have fun with the kids.
- Something we've been doing more often is family game nights. Whether you prefer going with card games, board, video games, just choose an evening as your go-to night for family games. If you're looking for a team-based game, Forbidden Island is a lot of fun with the kids. And you can use video options like Jackbox to pull in some other families and have a really great game night. You can host the game and then people can log in and use their own phones or tablets or other devices to play along as well.
- If you have a good space, maybe in the neighborhood or the yard, a scavenger or treasure hunt can be an absolute blast. You can leave some interesting clues to keep them challenged while they go find the treasure.
- Finally, if you've been getting a lot of deliveries, chances are you have plenty of boxes around the house. This is a very low-cost idea, but believe it or not building a cardboard, Fort is incredibly fun for the kids. And for you. Not only do you have to put it together, but if you are artistically talented, you have a lot of fun painting it. And if you want to minimize the mess, keep it all outside.
So, those are just a few ideas that you can use for your own staycations, but you can pick each day to have a different theme or activity to keep it fun.
You are still getting a break out of the routine, but still staying safe.
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