top of page

Safety Tips for a Healthy Summer Vacation

Mountain Hiking Trail
Path to a Healthy Summer Vacation --- Harry Strharsky

Photo: Harry Strharsky

Throughout last year and until the coronavirus pandemic hit, a “staycation” was all the rage. But now after three months and more of self-quarantine and a surge in business re-openings, many people are asking themselves whether they should risk taking a family vacation this summer or not.

Itching to get away somewhere and somehow, many are examining their options:

Travel By Sea

Cruise Lines International Association, a trade association for the cruise industry, has announced that its member cruise lines have extended suspension of U.S. cruise operations until September 15 this year because of coronavirus concerns. Scratch one convenient option.

Travel By Air

Commercial Jet Liner in Flight
Air Travel --


Air travel with people in confined space seating for an extended period-of-time, and planes designed to pack as many people into an aluminum tube as possible, with no consideration for social distancing, seem to be a breeding ground for airborne infections. Air travel is further complicated by the airlines’ chaotic response to COVID-19 without the benefit of an industry standard. Some do not sell tickets for the middle row seat; others do. Some require face coverings; some not, etc. etc. Many flights have been cancelled.

A top Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official has accused the agency of “gross mismanagement” for failing to protect airport screeners from the coronavirus, therefore endangering their own employees and the traveling public. Given such a risky environment, wise vacationers have vowed not to fly until they have been vaccinated. Those conscious of their carbon footprint have been avoiding air travel for some time now, even before the pandemic visited.

Travel By Land

By process of elimination most people are left with the all-American road trip option. Packing up the family electric or hybrid provides an economic yet environmentally friendly safety bubble for maintaining social distancing while traveling.

What about a destination? Health officials advise shying away from crowded beach, lake and mountain resorts this summer. Many popular National Parks are also being overrun and should be avoided. Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is even testing a two-hour window reservation system for daily entry to limit the environmental destruction caused by too many vehicles and boots on the ground.

Bridge over a State Park river canyon
Overland Travel --- Harry Strharsky

Photo: Harry Strharsky

How about a camping, fishing, hiking, canoeing, or kayaking trip to discover the outdoor joys of one of your own State Parks? We live in Colorado. My wife and I have visited more than a dozen State Parks within a hundred miles of our home for mid-week daytrips over the past two months.

We have gone to lakes, reservoirs, mountain parks and canyons. All have open, clean restrooms, most have spacious, uncrowded campsites and all have closed visitor centers. Without exception we have found each to have its own unique charms.

A Few Tips for a Healthy Family Getaway

A Safe, Inviting Reservoir for a Summer Vacation
Open Water -- Harry Strharsky

Photo: Harry Strharsky

1) Research Your Destination. Go online to find out about camping locations, fees, services and hours of operation. Discover the park’s features and activities as well as rules for pets. Make required reservations. Research a near-by community’s virus situation and re-opening rules, so if you need to go into town for food or emergency supplies you can go prepared.

Plan your route and stops. To avoid crowds, do not plan to visit a State Park close to a major city on the weekend. Identify hospitals and urgent care clinics along the way and near your destination in case of an accident or if someone in your family becomes ill. If you won’t be camping, choose your overnight rental(s) carefully—an Airbnb or a VRBO vacation home may be preferable to a motel/hotel room. It can provide more space for social distancing.

2) Pack Your Own Supplies. If you are overnight camping, in addition to checking off your regular camp list for clothes, sleeping bags, camp stove, night light, coolers, food and utensils, etc. Remember all the items required for day use: hiking poles, camp chairs, sun block, bug spray, water containers, recreational equipment, face masks and alcohol wipes. To limit the number of stops along the way and reduce contact with other travelers and shop keepers, pack extra drinks and snacks.

Fishing Seclusion -- Harry Strharsky

Photo: Harry Strharsky

3) Always Be Ready to Sanitize. In this time of COVID-19 be prepared to disinfect your immediate high-touch environment. Carry enough alcohol-based wipes for surfaces such as picnic tables, doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, gas pumps and squeegee grips. Wear gloves when you stop for gas and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after shopping or going to restaurants for outside dining and takeout.

4) Above All Enjoy Bonding With Nature. Take in the fresh air and wildflowers. Keep a safe distance from wildlife. Pickup after yourself and leave with nothing but photos.


bottom of page