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I like to travel.
You probably figured this out by the fact that I started a miles, points, and travel blog. And I am guessing by the fact that you are reading a travel blog that you probably like to travel also. The current COVID-19 pandemic has certainly impacted many aspects of life. And the fact that we’ve been under stay-at-home or quarantine orders for the better part of three months is probably a relatively minor thing. Especially if you compare it to many of the physical, emotional, and financial challenges that many people have gone through.
We have been happy to stay at home, cancel our travel, and do our part to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the coronavirus. And of course in many ways, it hasn’t even been our choice at all. Many states, countries and other governments have banned travel, enforced mandatory quarantines or closed borders in any case.
A few months in, now that we are adjusting to the new normal, our family has felt that we were ready to plan and take our first trip. It will be different in many ways than other travel that we’ve done as a family.
But first, a note on travel, masks and social distancing
To me, it is unfortunate how politicized the act of wearing masks or social distancing has become. It probably should go without saying, but the virus does not care what politics you have. I am not a doctor, so I am taking my cues from scientists, medical professionals, and epidemiologists both in my family and in public positions. As is normal with science, the data is always updated and hypotheses change to reflect that. It is my understanding that the current scientific consensus suggests that wearing masks and attempting to stay socially distant does have an effect. So we are doing that. We wear masks when we are out, and attempt to stay six feet apart from other people, especially indoors.
I try to avoid “mask shaming” or “travel shaming” — instead, I understand that different people may have different perspectives on things and I try to assume good faith.
There is a specific commenter that I have seen on various Boarding Area blogs on travel-related posts. He usually makes rather rude comments about how this is no big deal and how he is traveling all the time and making fun of anyone for choosing to not travel or do what they feel is required to stay safe. I see his comments pop up over and over again and his schtick is tiring….
The trips we canceled
Before I talk about the trip that we planned, I wanted to review some of the trips that we canceled earlier this year:
- March – family trip to Hawaii. It’s interesting because with hindsight, it is obvious that canceling this trip was the right move, but back in March when this was all going on, it wasn’t quite so cut and dry. With Hawaii imposing a 14-day quarantine on most travelers, I don’t see us going there any time soon
- April – father/son trip to Utah to watch our church’s General Conference and do college tours at BYU and a few other schools.
- June – I had a trip planned to Europe with my dad and my sister
- September – family reunion out at Yosemite.
And that’s not even talking about the trips that we had planned in our head. Thankfully we were able to get almost all of our miles, points and cash back to us.
Planning a trip to Lake Michigan
We are starting to ease back into life. My job was already fully remote and we already homeschooled most of our kids, so, from that perspective, we weren’t impacted as badly as some other people. We are minimizing the times we leave the house and as I said earlier, we wear masks when outside and attempt to stay 6 feet apart from other people. My son has gone back to his part-time fast-food job, and my other son has started summer Cross Country practices. We have him run outside with the team but whereas the team uses the indoor weight room at the high school, we have him come home to do weights instead.
After talking about it as a family, we decided we felt comfortable taking a driving road trip and staying in an Airbnb and focusing on outdoor activities. It was hard to decide on somewhere in particular, but we ended up deciding that we would visit northern Michigan. We booked a 3-night stay in an Airbnb near Lake Michigan and plan to spend our time mostly outdoors. We will go to the Lake Michigan beaches, and visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It is about an 8-hour drive from where we live, so we will probably make a few stops on our way up for gas, restrooms, and food. For our family, this feels like a good mix between traveling and also staying safe ourselves and limiting our ability to possibly transmit the virus ourselves.
I will report back after we take the trip with how it went. Depending on how it goes, we may try a few other road trips this summer and fall.
What about you? Are you going anywhere this summer?
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Lake Michigan?! You I hope you don’t get the Boredonavirus.
LOL – pretty much all my kids will want to do is swim somewhere so I think we’ll be fine.
I’m in the same boat as you Dan. Had 3 big overseas trips booked and then painfully canceled one by one. So, like millions of other Americans we are also trying to plan a driving trip just like you. I’m worried that all the places and parks we want to go to will be flooded with like minded people who are dying to take a trip/vacation.
Very beautiful, but lake can be very cold. Also take mosquito repellent if you are in the Youper (upper Peninsula). Generally not too crowded because of this. Be sure and have a pasty-while you are there.
We had our bigger trips canceled, so we have been doing a lot more road trips than we normally would. We have been doing day trips and overnights to Cape Cod, MA, about a 1 to 2 hour drive for us. I worried that everyone else would be doing the same and the area would be overrun, making it hard to social distance. This has not been the case so far this summer. Traffic is noticeable light for this time of year. The lines at restaurants and ice cream shops that are normally common in the summer are not this year.
I echo the comment above about needing bug repellent in Michigan. I think the joke in every state in the upper Midwest is that the mosquito is the state bird. 🙂 But it’s a beautiful place and I’m glad you’re going.
I do think it’s possible to travel safely if people take precautions. The trouble with masks is that they do their job best when everyone is wearing them — and the people who refuse to wear them are hurting those who don’t, not themselves. That doesn’t give selfish people much of an incentive to do what’s right for the common good.