After staying home for most of the past year, many of us are starting to go a little stir crazy, especially now that warmer days are arriving. If you feel this way but still leery about going out into the world, you’re not alone. It’ll take a long time before many people will be able to view previously normal activities the same after experiencing life during COVID-19.
Fortunately, there are several ways to safely get out of the house without draining your wallet. To give yourself a break, why not plan a few inexpensive day trips (or maybe a long weekend if your budget permits) this summer or spring? Today we’ve got some recommendations to help you plan safe affordable trips in 2021.
Places to go
Ideally, you want to choose a place that is direct and door-to-door. Traveling by car means you can compile your favorite playlists and hit the road, even if it’s only an hour away, while making minimal contact with people you don’t know. Great destinations include local, state, and national parks, along with beaches, mountains, and other outdoor spaces where social distancing is possible.
Safe and low-cost activities to consider this year are hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, rollerblading, biking, and picnics. Now might be a good time to take up bird-spotting or practicing nature photography using your phone and photo editing apps (many are free!) for relaxing experiences. If you’re looking to make an overnight trip, search for a well-priced Airbnb home, possibly one in a community with a pool and other desirable outdoor amenities. Plan to bring a DVD or stream a movie you haven’t seen and have a special movie night in a rental home, just don’t forget the microwave popcorn!
We’re more than a year into the pandemic and, with vaccines becoming increasingly available, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. But we’re not out of the woods yet. To stay safe while leaving your home, extra precautions will be necessary. With proactive planning, you can enjoy a safe and sanity-preserving road trip.
- Pack extra masks, sanitizer, and alcohol wipes.
- Look for destinations where you can easily practice social distancing.
- Pre-plan your route to identify safe places to stop for gas and rest areas.
- Choose off-peak times to travel (e.g. avoid leaving Friday afternoons when roads and rest stops will be at their busiest).
- Pack a cooler with drinks, snacks, and sandwiches.
Be sure to do your research before going on your day or weekend trip. Make sure the destination is open, won’t be crowded, and provides details about what COVID-19 safety measures are being taken.
Look for bargain opportunities
The tourism industry is struggling to recover from last year’s shutdowns. To give people an incentive to book, many accommodations, excursions, and other travel-related businesses are offering discounted getaway deals. Many emphasize safety and advertise safety protocols being taken to prevent COVID-19 spread. Choose a non-holiday weekend – or better yet – a weekday to score the best prices.
Staying cooped up inside as weather improves can have a negative impact on your mental health. Being April is “Stress Awareness Month,” now is a good time for us to make time to reset ourselves and take care of our emotional well-being. Planning a safe short trip away, whether for a few hours or a weekend, from the daily stresses associated with quarantine can go a long way towards both de-stressing and improving one’s state of mind.
Planning an outing this year that doesn’t compromise your budget will provide much-needed stress relief and provide an opportunity to make some special memories.