Now that shelter in place restrictions are loosening around the country, the adventure junkies of America are returning to the great outdoors in droves.
And who can blame them? These balmy summer days are ripe for exploration, and there’s just so much unbridled beauty out there to enjoy.
But one niggling question remains: is it safe?
How can you safely embark on an outdoor adventure when there’s a deadly virus floating around?
While any venture outside the bubble of your obsessively sterilized home is going to entail some degree of risk, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the danger. Keep the following 7 tips in mind to crush your 2020 travel goals without contracting COVID-19.
Not all campsites and holiday parks are going to be open, and those that are may have special restrictions in place. Whenever possible, phone ahead to confirm there’s room for you and pre-plan alternative arrangements should your first choice not work out.
Some sites may close facilities like communal barbeques and toilets to help slow the spread, so plan accordingly.
Take the path less traveled
America’s most popular national parks are going to be ram-packed the moment they open, and there’s a damn good chance some attendees will be carrying COVID. Do the responsible social distancing thing and give Yosemite a wide berth this year, opting for a lesser-known natural beauty somewhere closer to home instead.
Our nation’s world-famous parks aren’t going anywhere, so you can always visit them once the whole pandemic thing has started dying down. And if you must visit somewhere like the Grand Canyon this year, at least try to plan your visit outside of peak times.
Observe the CDC’s advice
The fine folks over at the Center for Disease Control spend their whole life studying this stuff, so we figure they probably know what’s what.
In case you need a quick rundown:
- Stay 6 feet apart (that’s the length of two skis)
- Stay away from anyone sniffling (and stay home yourself if you’re sick)
- Only travel with people of the same household
- Wash your hands all the damn time
- Cover your coughs and sneezes (use your elbow instead of your hand)
- Keep tabs on your health
- Wear a cloth face mask in crowded places (probably don’t need it on the trail)
Remember: even if you’re way out in the middle of nowhere, social distancing rules still apply.
Embark on a road trip
Airplanes are Petri dishes for COVID, and nobody in their right mind wants to travel on a Greyhound Bus. Thus, your best bet for safely arriving at your national park of choice is the good old American road trip.
Traveling by car means you’re safely tucked away in a virus-proof steel cage and have virtually zero interaction with dirty disease-ridden travelers. Just remember to take due diligence at truck stops—COVID or no COVID, you don’t know what kind of unsanitary acts have been happening there.
Give the packed beaches a miss
Remember when the Spring Break kids ignored government warnings and spread coronavirus around the country through their wild beach parties? Don’t be like them. Go somewhere less crowded this year instead.
America has stacks of stunning sandy stretches to explore on both coasts—there’s no need to cram yourself into Myrtle Beach with a thousand other sneezing humans when you can hit up a more isolated beach instead.
Adjust your activities accordingly
While we love a spot of river floating on a warm summer afternoon, chances are there’ll be hordes of tightly packed revelers cruising downstream with you. The safest outdoor adventures in the COVID-era are those you can do alone.
Hiking is a good bet, especially if you stick to seldom-trodden backcountry trails. Kayaking lets you paddle right out onto the middle of the lake with scarcely another soul in sight, while fishing is all about getting as far away from humanity as you can.
Mountain biking? Maybe, but only if you can find a cool secluded spot.
Stop sharing your gear
While passing your adventure gear around between mates was a common occurrence pre-COVID, it’s kind of gross to share things like tents and sleeping bags these days. The only way to guarantee you’ll remain virus-free is to pack your own gear and decline to share.
And if that means buying a whole bunch of new kit, then so be it. (Of course, we can help you there).
We can’t make any promises, but if you follow the advice outlined above, there’s a good chance you’ll make it back from your holiday COVID-free.
Stay safe out there, people.