My husband is a germaphobe. A normal trip to a theme park requires flu shots at least two weeks in advance, a prophylactic course of Emergen-C and eight ounces of hand sanitizer per person. We spend the day telling the kid, “Please don’t lick the handrails.” This year, when a grocery run requires a hazmat suit, it’s going to take more than a tub of Clorox wipes for the hotel TV remote to get him to leave home. Here are a few of the vacation options we’re looking at to make summer 2020 the best ever!
Camping, Glamping or a Cabin in the Woods
Anyone who isn’t on a Zoom call right now, is doing something old skool. They’re baking bread, sewing masks or planting a vegetable garden. The Japanese swear “forest-bathing” or spending time in nature reduces stress, improves sleep, and increases energy levels. We could all use some of that. It’s time to recreate your childhood family vacation. Dig out your boy scout tent and sleeping bags, grab the kids and go camping.
Not ready to give up ALL the …um… creature comforts of home? Glamping might be more your style. Getaway has built “outposts” of tiny cabins within two hours’ drive of ten metropolitan areas across the country: New York City, Washington, D.C., Houston, L.A. and more. Cabins for up to four guests come equipped with comfortable queen beds, a stocked kitchen including sink and mini fridge and a private bathroom with a hot shower. Outside you’ll find a picnic table, a fire pit and grilling grate. For an extra couple bucks, they’ll even provide the firewood and provisions!
Do you need more than a little forest bathing to fix your Covid-19 scrambled brain cells? Roam Beyond has developed a four-day Haven Experience that includes not just the cutest little “boutique mobile dwellings” but also a guided workbook of restorative activities to help you “recharge, reconnect and rewild” as you explore Olympic National Park or Yakima Canyon, WA.
If you’ve got a bigger quarantine crew, short-term rental services like airbnb or VRBO could be an option. A couple years ago, we rented a log cabin outside Asheville, N.C., for a family reunion. I really should put air quotes around the word “cabin.” Yes, it was built out of logs. Yes, it was in a forest. We could take hikes from our doorstep and never see another soul. We sat around a fire pit, spat watermelon seeds and roasted marshmallows. We saw birds and deer from rockers on the front porch. We even watched a couple bears try to break into our thoroughly protected garbage. But this was no dinky cabin. It had three master suites, a bunk room for the kids, a full chef’s kitchen, a Jacuzzi and a game room with pool table, ping pong table, pinball and Playstation. All the boys, both those under 12 and the dads, were thrilled!
Hit the Road in your very own RV
Another way to social distance and see the U.S. of A. is with a recreational vehicle. And you’re not limited to Walmart parking lots or crowded RV parks. Wouldn’t you rather wake up to sunrise over a lavender farm in Vermont, a golf course in California, or a gator ranch in Mississippi?
A $79/year membership to Harvest Hosts gets you off the beaten path and gives you access to over a thousand museums, wineries, and farms where you can park your self-contained RV and spend the night for free! All they ask is you be a good guest, stay only one night (unless your hosts invite you to stay longer), and take the tour, do the wine-tasting or buy something from farm/museum/winery.
Or Maybe You’re the Seafaring Sort
You’re looking for travel advice on Porthole.com, so of course you are! If this year requires vacationing with smaller, more select group, why not charter a yacht? Are you a sucker for sails? The Tiara sleeps ten guests and will be sailing the Western Mediterranean this summer. She’s set up for a party including a Bedouin tent, outdoor cinema and DJ decks, and Jacuzzi as you sail from Corsica to the Amalfi Coast. And she has all the toys: diving and fishing gear, paddle boards, windsurfers, wakeboards and water skis and even a kitesurf board and kitesurfing instructor.
Or maybe you really, really want to get away from it all. How about Antarctica this winter? Chinstrap Penguins don’t carry Corona, do they? Charter a class 1 icebreaker like Legend to take you about as far off the beaten track as possible. Kayak in polar waters. Paddle past penguins, seals and icebergs. Maybe even a humpback whale. Take a Zodiac to Penguin Island to get even more up close and personal with King Penguins and other wildlife unused to human contact. If you’re super daring or really hot blooded, take a polar plunge! Sure, the water is ice-cold, but you can warm up in Legend’s on deck Jacuzzi. So, which coastline will you explore?
Caroline Geertz is a native Floridian who misses her beach and is grateful for the start of mango season. She has designed magazines as varied as the Baltimore Jewish Times, Weekly World News (yes, the one with Bat Boy), The Enquirer UK and travel magazines for several cruise lines.