Stay close to home, and other senior travel tips for the future
Just like others with a demanding job, caregivers need a break every once in a while. But with both the CDC and the state department advising against non-essential travel, it might be a while until it’s safe to take a far away vacation.
More thought and planning has to go into any trip in the near future, especially if the traveller is from a more vulnerable health group.
Adventure travel is the future
While many people are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, we still might be tapping our toes at the prospect of getting out into the world again.
Skim the internet for travel advice and you’ll likely read the same message again and again: it’ll be a long time before international travel takes off again, people will stick closer to home, and huge crowds will become a thing of the past.
Charter buses and larger group tours are out, and more authentic experiences are in.
With not many options for city life and domestic and international borders closed, people across the U.S. are turning to the outdoors for an escape.
Trips based on outdoor experiences are becoming the trend, as the safest experiences are away from crowds and in open air. Just driving a few hours in any direction can transport your miles away from your everyday routine.
Plan ahead to reserve a campground spot, as sites are booking up fast. The less crowded and more remote the campground the better, especially when it comes to restrooms.
If traveling in comfort is more your style, then renting a camper van or RV might be more what you’re looking for. The site Go RVing has a search tool of professional RV dealers and a list of campgrounds by state.
Renting a car or driving your own gives you the chance to stop as much as you like, and leaves time for spontaneous discoveries.
In my work travels across western Wyoming for example, I drove past a historic buffalo jump dozens of times before finally stopping. I was amazed to see layers of buffalo bones half-buried in the dirt just off of I-90. Visiting the site allowed me to slow down and ponder the history of the place.
A shift towards meaningful travel experiences can create a more immersive experience, and positively impact small communities and natural environments.
It’s okay to wander, but do so closer to home
Another thing people are realizing is how much there is to discover in their own state, or just outside your town.
We’re lucky to be surrounded by mountain ranges and the ocean in western Washington, which makes for a whole variety of ecosystems to explore.
Known for kayaking, hiking and their charming towns, the San Juan Islands offer ample opportunities for outdoor exploration and breaking away from crowds. The islands sit in the rain shadow of the Olympics, which means they experience a drier climate than mainland Washington.
Hopping on a ferry to any one of the islands across the sound is an adventure in itself. On a clear day, you can see 360 views of the Olympics, the Cascades, and if you’re really lucky, some notable peaks like Rainier and Baker. There’s also the possibility of spotting an orca or other ocean wildlife.
If staying on land sounds more appealing, the Columbia River flows just two hours east. Sunny days aren’t hard to miss there, which makes camping and relaxing by the water a safe bet.
There’s a lot of sights to see in a state that welcomes millions of visitors a year.
Plan ahead and prepare
Be sure to check local and state government websites to see if there are any restrictions on travel or quarantine requirements. Hawaii and Maine both require travelers to self-quarantine for fourteen days, and many other states require a negative Covid test result before entering.
When you have your sights set on a particular destination and know your mode of transport, it’s time to book your accommodation.
Airbnb has a list of cleaning protocols they’re recommending their hosts to follow, and strict requirements for guest stays. With the personal nature of their bookings, you can call ahead to find out how the host is preparing for your arrival. Most people should understand your worries and will work to calm your fears.
Just like the Leave No Trace Principles for outdoor adventures, ensuring you have what you need for your trip can make all the difference in health and safety.
When traveling as senior or with a senior, prepare as you would for any longer trip. Checking in with a doctor before heading out is always a good idea. Remember to pack enough medication for the trip and some extra in case delays happen.
Bringing gloves (for filling up gas and food shopping), packing food ahead of time to limit time spent out in public, and calling restaurants ahead of time are other ways to ensure a smooth and safe time.
Until you can get out there in the great wide world, hiring home care for your loved one is one way to get a break and peace of mind.