Experts have spilled plenty of ink about the damage the COVID-19 pandemic has caused in terms of human lives and suffering. However, one casualty that has received far less attention is the number of itineraries wiped out by the virus. Given the prevalence of lockdowns and concerns over infection, can travel lovers continue to enjoy getting away from it all? I'd argue that they can — just so long as they're willing to attempt a much-maligned alternative: the staycation.
Now "staycation" tends to conjure up images of staying home while you binge on takeout and Netflix. That's a fine enough diversion, but not anywhere near as enjoyable as genuine travel … right? Well, that depends on your perspective. With a little effort and creativity, you may very well make a lowly staycation into a truly memorable experience. How? Consider trying to …
No matter where you live, you'll likely find noteworthy or interesting sites within less than a day's drive from your home, many of which will allow you to social distance to your heart's content. Spend a little time on Roadtrippers.com or the U.S. National Park Service to help plan your itinerary. If you need to stay overnight, make a reservation at a campground. The more adventurous might want to give boondocking a try. (Visit FreeCampSites.net for more info.)
It's far too easy to only view your city or town from a car window or your seat on the train. Walking some of the denser, commercial areas or secluded neighborhoods can open your horizons to the character of the area where you live in surprising ways. GPSMyCity.com can even help you build a walking tour.
Until COVID-19 arrived, I'd mostly eaten out at a handful of old restaurant standbys. Lately, though, I've enjoyed Lebanese and Cuban and Greek. And that Indonesian place I've never heard of? It's looking pretty tasty. Try sussing out the unexplored culinary corners of your city, even (or especially) if what you find isn't something you'd normally enjoy.
Going for a bike ride or a hike are familiar activities when the walls start closing in. Even here, though, you can make things a little more exciting. Nature scavenger hunts powered by field guides from the National Wildlife Federation or Peterson can help point out animals you never noticed before. Lugging around a camera or buying one of those clip-on lenses sets for your smartphone may also bring familiar features into better focus.
Sure, staycations might not have the same glamour as a globe-spanning adventure. But you don't have to let the pandemic-imposed strictures narrow your life more than absolutely necessary. Travel really is what you make of it.
COVID-19 Health Planning Social distancing Staycation
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