While the pandemic has redefined vacation, most of us can agree it has not diminished the desire and importance of “getting away.”
However, as you look at your travel options, our quarantine social distance experiences have taught us some lessons and offer some new rules for the road.
Pandemic dressing has reassured us you can wear the same stuff more than once and the sky won’t fall. And one pair of sneakers is probably all the footwear you need. T-shirts, hoodies and wind breakers make an all-weather ensemble for hiking, shopping or just relaxing.
If you can buy it, don’t pack it. Umbrellas, visors, even toothpaste can be purchased on the fly. Take advantage of complimentary hotel toiletries. Use them. Leave the unused portions when you depart.
Take time to define the big reason for your trip. Then, don’t compromise on what’s most important. Whether it’s adventure, nightlife, the beach, relaxation, golf, great food (or wine), make sure your destination can deliver the specific experience you’re looking for. But be willing to compromise in other areas (like accommodations or car rentals), because one destination rarely has it all.
Instagramability is a thing. One of the two most important destination determinants for young travelers is photo and video social media appeal. In case you were wondering, affordability is the other.
Rethink your destination. Airports and planes are still either dealbreakers or reluctance-inducing for many of us, but the upper Midwest offers many wonderful and unexpected options that are drivable.
Great scenery. Consider the lush shoreline of Door County, Wisconsin, the dramatic Badlands of South Dakota’s Black Hills, or the charm of Mackinac Island, Michigan.
Getting away from it all. Want to escape the heat and kick back? Go north. Brainerd Lakes in Minnesota offers a plethora of lake homes for rent amid quiet, hikeable surroundings. Or go south. The Lake of the Ozarks area boasts 25,000 boat docks and lots to do for families.
Surprising cities. Minneapolis, Eau Claire and Columbus are friendly, mid-sized cities that affordably offer good accommodations, and lots to see and do.
Taking the kids? On driving vacations, consider leaving at dusk, not dawn. Sleeping children make for a quiet, fewer-rest-stop journey.
Pack cortisone cream. Bee stings and bug bites can – and do – happen everywhere.
Define your work availability while you’re gone. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Millennial, Gen Xer or Boomer, most of us are going to be working and keeping in touch with the office at some level. Set expectations before you go as to how much and when you’ll be responding to emails and texts.
Say “yes.” Vacations are meant to shake up your routine, energize you, and educate you. So don’t order a cheeseburger at a fresh fish café. Take some Dramamine® and try the sunset sail excursion.
Find compatible vacation companions. If you’re a free spirit who prefers a no-schedule day and your traveling buddies love organized excursions, you may spend valuable time negotiating rather than enjoying your trip.
One last note: Don’t take anything you’re not willing to lose. Things happen. Leave the good stuff at home and enjoy your getaway!