I think we can all agree that 2020 is off to a rough start. (Can I say that almost 6 months into the year?) We, like most people, had a summer trip planned that we cancelled when COVID-19 got a foothold in the U.S. Determined to get our toes in the sand this summer, we did some brainstorming. We came up with a downsized vacation plan that would safely allow us to unplug and enjoy our time together!
“Social distancing” can be challenging while traveling, so I thought I’d share how we were able to minimize human interaction while still relaxing (if you’re like me, sometimes that can be one and the same, haha)! By putting in some work ahead of time, our vacation was super easy and organized.
1. Road trip! But not too far…
For us, flying was no longer an option with me being pregnant and having a two year old who would gladly touch the floor of an airport walkway and then suck his thumb. Road trip, it is! We chose a family-friendly lake that is about a 2 hour drive from our house. The lake is part of a state park and pretty meticulously maintained. The area is also extremely rural- they don’t even have a Walmart or a McDonald’s (which is ideal when trying to stay away from people!).
2. Go during the week and get out early
Timing is everything when trying to avoid crowds! Tuesday through Thursday is going to be the slowest, traffic-wise. You’ll have to take more vacation days this way, but it’s so worth it to miss peak tourist time. We were also careful to avoid holidays like Memorial Day and 4th of July. Another tip that I can’t emphasize enough is to start your day early. (If you also have a toddler, this is probably a given already.) Most vacationers don’t make it out before 10am. Those precious hours beforehand are the best for avoiding crowds (and the summer heat)! Take advantage of it!
3. Rent a “home away from home”
We Googled and browsed around on Airbnb to find a safe place to stay. Considering the challenges of going out to eat in a pandemic, we decided it would be best to find a place where we could bring and cook our own food. The little place we found had a kitchenette (sink, coffee maker, two-burner cook top, microwave, a fridge, and cookware) and it was just perfect for our family of three! As a side note, we also love when there is at least one bedroom so that C can take naps and stick to a somewhat early bedtime while Tyler and I are still up and about.
4. Bring your own groceries and meal prep
We packed up a cooler and a box (we LOVE these collapsable InstaCrates, they are seriously a staple for us now) with all of the normal snacks we eat during the week, muffins, cereal, water bottles, and milk. I also cooked three meals ahead of time (shredded chicken for wraps, carne asada tacos, and BBQ pulled pork) and froze them in gallon freezer bags. This made it super simple to heat up dinner on the stove top or in the microwave. Don’t forget to pack some easy sides like fruit, chips, canned green beans, and microwave rice pouches!
5. Disinfect everything and lock it down
Before we brought all of our stuff into the room, I went through and disinfected every surface possible. Handles, switches, tables, countertops… Then we moved in, organized, and hung a Do Not Disturb sign on our doorknob. We didn’t really need any housekeeping during our short stay and felt it would be much safer to lock down our living space to just the three of us.
6. Get outside!
And finally, my last tip, and easily the most fun, is to plan outdoor activities! Staying outside is the best way to have fun while socially distancing! We had a blast on playing on the state park beach, cruising around on the lake, and walking the trails. Since we weren’t really sure what to expect, we brought along some of C’s favorite outdoor toys like his spray bottle, bubbles, and this awesome sand castle bucket set from Target!
If you’re nervous about taking a vacation during a pandemic, I totally understand! It’s hard to make decisions in the midst of the unknown. Keep it small. Keep it simple. And most importantly, put the screens away and relax! It will do wonders for your soul and for the little ones in your life that just need a break. Wishing you lots of fun and safe times on your next adventure! Now I’m off to decorate the newly painted nursery!