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Some safe travel havens in the summer of coronavirus

Tribune News Service logo Tribune News Service 5/4/2020 By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes,
a bus parked in front of a tree: An RV pulls into Black Bart's RV Park on March 29, 2020, in Flagstaff, Ariz. The RV park is remaining open during the pandemic. © Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS An RV pulls into Black Bart's RV Park on March 29, 2020, in Flagstaff, Ariz. The RV park is remaining open during the pandemic.

We are on the brink of what, traditionally, has been the summer vacation season. Yet, many of us have canceled or put our plans on hold. If you are inclined to travel, here are five ideas to consider:

1. Take a road trip.

Some experts are calling this the “year of the car,” a time frame during which we will forgo international travel and “See America First.” With gas prices in the affordable range, consider exploring a National Scenic Byway or an historic route. Roll past beaches and harbors, cruise through valleys and canyons or amid jagged peaks and tall trees. Whether you take a day trip or craft a longer journey, plan ahead to make sure your chosen route is accessible, your vehicle is properly tuned and you have plenty of snacks, water and other safety items on board.


2. Go camping.

There is nothing like a heaping dose of the natural world to ease anxiety and to restore our spirit. Research your options, considering nearby state or regional parks or other backcountry destinations. Websites like Hipcamp and The Dyrt can help you find campsites in private campgrounds and on private land, making it easier to maintain social distancing. If you are concerned about the youngest members of your clan, consider a practice round in the backyard or nearby park. That way, if the weather or unforeseen forces create a kink in your plans, warm and dry shelter is nearby.


3. Cabins, yurts, or small inns and hotels.

If your goal is to limit interaction with crowds, yet explore a new destination, consider cabins or small lodging options where you’ll have the most control over your environment. On-site cooking facilities eliminate the need to find restaurants that meet your own spacing and safety requirements. Look for accommodations with access to wide open spaces and enjoy time with your family in a new setting where bike riding, hiking, star-gazing or fishing might be possible.

RELATED VIDEO: What could social distancing look like this summer?


4. Head out in an RV or sleeper van.

Create a home away from home in a recreational vehicle. You’ll be able to choose the size and amenities that fit your family’s situation and eliminate the need to book hotels and restaurants along your route. Meanwhile, you and your traveling tribe will be in charge of keeping your digs clean and safe. Whether you choose to explore Route 66, the Rocky Mountain West or the New England coast, you’ll want to create a loose plan but then enjoy the freedom and flexibility that your ride provides.


5. Trade houses with a friend or family member.

Find a friend or family member in a nearby neighborhood or within a short drive who might also be eager for a change of scenery. Think about it: new toys and games in the closet, bikes in the garage, playsets in the back yard and snacks in the cupboard. (Agree up front on what is included in the deal.) Consider bringing your own linens, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers and other supplies that will make all parties feel most comfortable. Trade information about local walking paths, parks and appropriate play areas. Then, turn off the news and enjoy the new view.

Lynn O’Rourke Hayes ( is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via


©2020 Lynn O'Rourke Hayes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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