USA Summer 2020 Road Trips & Travel: How to Plan & What to Expect

By Elizabeth Schlesener, Travel Advisor

Perhaps you’re like me, and the long days of quarantine have you aching to travel. But what does that look like amid our current COVID-19 world? 

To start, let me give you a brief snapshot of my family’s recent getaway in Northern Michigan. Certainly, things felt different with the addition of masks, sanitizers, and distancing, but the change of scenery was much needed after weeks of quarantine and homeschooling.

I must say, I felt comfortable and safe the entire time away. The beaches were not very crowded and we had plenty of space to enjoy the sun and chilly lake water. While spending time in Boyne City, Charlevoix, and Petoskey, most stores were open and very happy to have masked visitors. We even ate in restaurants, which was a personal highlight. Indoor seating was spread out and outdoor dining was available. All restaurant staff was masked, while visitors were required to wear one until seated.  

Summer sunset of over a Lake Michigan harbor and marina in the coastal town of Petoskey Michigan.

Despite the unusual circumstances, it was a great time to recharge and welcome the arrival of summer. While, on one hand, we were highly aware of the different feel to the vacation, it was such a relief to be out doing things that felt “normal”. I think many of us are craving even a glimmer of normalcy, and that allows us to shift expectations while traveling during these difficult times.  

However, after a brief pity party, I’ve been able to shift my perspective and consider the positives. So often, we become callous to the “gems” residing in our own states. Our local economies are needing people to visit and rediscover what makes them so unique. Reengagement, of course, will depend on your own comfort level. If you’re not ready to consider overnight stays, stick to day trips to ease your way back in. 

Old-time clock in the quaint Gaslight business district of Petoskey, Michigan

For those of us wanting more, thankfully, there are other options for overnight accommodations rather than basic camping tents. If you love tents, good for you. Go for it. Keep in mind campgrounds often have community bathrooms, so it might not be as isolated as one might imagine. On the topic of camping, we have a “glamping” experience booked for Yellowstone National Park which has private bathrooms. Pre COVID, I don’t know if I would have considered this adventure, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ve heard more talk of RV rentals than ever before. Being able to travel with your own space is great for limiting exposure to others. Plus, currently, more people plan to drive to locations than fly. Rental homes are a fantastic option. In my opinion, this would be the most “stress-free” and easy choice. Regarding hotels, I’m personally not afraid of reputable hotels, at this point. The demand for sanitation is high, and you can call ahead to be educated and reassured of their precautions.

Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The good news is, one day, we will be able to travel at a greater scale. This too, shall pass, and not a moment too soon. In the meantime, with some adjustments to your expectations and perspective, you can still experience the joy of travel and making memories with people you love. Just please remember your mask, sanitizer, and extra kindness for others.