How To Plan A Safe 2021 Getaway

Dear Rich Lifer,

At this point in the pandemic, it seems like everyone is dealing with some level of fatigue. People are tired of Zoom happy hours and virtual game nights. Another night of cooking at home sounds more like a chore and less like a culinary adventure. 

Everyone is itching to get out of the house, and with vaccine distribution increasing, we have hope that relief might be around the corner. 

So today, we want to focus on that hope and optimism for the future. This year has been incredibly hard and has come with tremendous loss, and being able to glimpse a brighter, vaccinated future has us ready to plan a trip!

So whether you are looking to plan one last fun winter activity, a family vacation for spring break, or a couples getaway for the summer, we have you covered!

Today we will look at six tips for how to make your next trip successful, fun, and safe!

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1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time  

The pandemic is constantly causing shifts in public health regulations that can vary on the state or county level, making it difficult to plan for future events. 

Many venues have expanded flexible cancellation policies, but it’s also important to begin your planning as early as possible. Think roughly a month out for shorter trips and up to four months out for longer excursions. 

Remember, research may no longer be limited to just the activity in question. For example, if you want to visit a National Park next month, you also need to look into safe places to eat, stay and shop, as well as researching access to the park itself. 

If you are crossing state lines, you also need to look into if your destination requires Covid testing or a quarantine period. If you’ve been vaccinated, doctors recommend giving yourself two weeks after your second shot before embarking on travel. 

Mirna Mohanraj, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at Mount Sinai Morningside in New York, has written extensively about vacationing safely. Her advice: “Plan it early and plan well and plan robustly.” 

2. Stay Up to Date  

Regardless of the location of your destination, keep an eye on new updates as your departure date approaches. 

Keep tabs on public health regulations because, as we mentioned, the pandemic often causes rules and regulations to change frequently. 

Social media can be a great place to get up-to-date information. Affiliate groups for various resort passes and geographic areas are often on Facebook and Twitter and are full of helpful tips about crowds and availability. 

Local news media also can help provide more specific, local tips on your ideal destination!

3. Reserve Now! 

Many venues are operating at 25% or 50% capacity to allow for social distancing, so fewer spots are available than normal. 

Venues from ice skating rinks to museums are requiring advanced reservations, often for a specific timed entry to control the flow of visitors and reduce crowing and lines. 

Doug Fish, the president and founder of Indy Pass, which grants access to 61 independently owned ski resorts in the United States, advises, “What we keep preaching this year is: Know before you go, and plan ahead.”

Basically, if there’s anything specific you want to do on your trip, make sure you reserve it in advance! Better safe than sorry! 

4. Dealing with Crowds 

Some activities you book may come with crowds, a seemingly novel phenomenon given the pandemic. Ski slopes, for example, have been incredibly popular destinations, so you may be surrounded by more people than you are used to. 

If you are worried about crowds, think about making reservations for off-peak times. For example, if you can plan a ski getaway for a weekday versus a weekend, you will save money and expose yourself to fewer people. 

Matthew Bramble, who runs the Northeast Skiology Group on Facebook, tells travelers to “think outside the box.” Instead of going to the same local slopes you always hit, see if you can explore somewhere off the beaten path! 

5. Use Your Vehicle as a Homebase 

Kristin Rust, a spokeswoman for the Alterra Mountain Company, which manages the popular Ikon Pass, notes that warming tents, welcome centers and base lodges are operating at a limited capacity — if they are open at all. 

This has resulted in what Rust calls the “revival of the parking lot scene.” If you prepare your vehicle to take the place of a traditional on-sight facility, you can be more spontaneous with your travel. 

Catherine Caruso, a spokeswoman for the United States Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest, recommends you pack it with food, water, blankets and extra warm clothing and masks. 

You could even pack foldable chairs or yoga mats and enjoy sitting by your car with a drink in hand after a long day of hiking, skiing, surfing, or whatever activity you have planned! 

6. Be Flexible

Because of how suddenly Covid regulations can change travel requirements, it’s more important than ever to be flexible or have multiple backup plans. 

Anna Roth, the hiking content manager of Washington Trails Association, says, “This is a time to have a Plan B, C — maybe D.” 

For example, if you definitely want to take your family on a ski trip, have a few backup mountains in mind in case the one you have your heart set on becomes unavailable. 

Be flexible to add or change activities to your itinerary. Remind yourself that it may not be the “perfect” trip and allow yourself to account for cancelations or changes. 

You can make this fun and get the family involved by having everyone pick an activity, so you have lots of extra options.

All this to say, a brighter future is on the horizon, and if you are willing to put a little extra time, effort, and flexibility into planning, you can look ahead to some incredible adventures. 

To a Richer Life,

The Rich Life Roadmap Team 

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