Caroline Lupini Forbes Staff

Sami style lavvo-like tents in the tundra of  Kautokeino region in Norwegian finnmark. Dalloluoppal lake is at background.

We know—travel is on the back burner right now. But whether or not you had travel plans that were interrupted by our least favorite pandemic, there’s a good chance that you’ve been spending a few of your quarantine hours dreaming of getting away.

If you’ve started to develop some serious cabin fever, you’re definitely not alone. The United States Travel Association reports that the amount Americans are spending on travel has grown over the last few weeks, but is still over 80% down from last year. 

As restrictions start to lift and we are able to move around a bit more freely, we can’t deny the effect that this experience is having (and will have) on the way we feel about travel. On one hand, many of us can’t wait to get back out there, and rightfully so! On the other hand, traveling might come back with some heightened anxieties including some that we might not even expect. 

If you are itching to get out of town but you aren’t yet comfortable hopping on a crowded plane, train or bus, here are a few ideas for the cautious explorer who wishes to slowly transition back into the world of travel. 

Road Trip to Better Weather

Vintage car + lush weather + Hubby + open road = Happy people x ...

All across the U.S., folks are coming to terms with the fact that our summer 2020 plans will look very different from what we thought they might be. Instead of catching a cheap flight down to the beach or up to the mountains, why not drive there?

One of my favorite things about the US is our Interstate System, for which we have Dwight D. Eisenhower to thank. Originally, the Interstate System was authorized under the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, in part because Eisenhower wanted a quick way to evacuate major U.S. cities in the event of an atomic bomb attack. 

While a pandemic isn’t the same brand of disaster as an atomic bomb, both qualify as a major crisis and under that umbrella, perhaps we can use the Interstate System for its original intent. 

For me, the Interstate System has always been tantamount to a necessary escape, an easy out and a wonderful web connecting our country together. It is the reason I always prefer to drive through the “fly-over” states if I have time, and to take a different route whenever I can. This is a perfect opportunity to drive your way through our impressive network of highways. 

Road trips are not only appealing to your sense of safety, they’re also a boon to your wallet this year. Gas prices hover at just under $2 per gallon, which is the lowest they’ve been since the first Iraq war in 2003. If you’ve got a set of wheels and a cheap tank of gas, hit your nearest interstate and see where it takes you!

Go Camping or Glamping

Pin by Shanna Ewing on Washington state things to do | Go glamping ...

If you aren’t ready to commit to a homestay or hotel, there are plenty of other options to consider. As we move into the summer season and weather gets a bit more favorable, pack up your tent and head to the woods, the lake, or even your own backyard.

Depending on your definition of “roughing it,” you may have a different ideal camping standard than someone else. Fortunately, there are lots of camping and glamping options available, even while most state and national park campsites are closed. 

For a comprehensive set of camping, glamping, and RV sites, Hipcamp is a great site to check out. Hipcamp is built as a property-sharing platform for camping. While it includes public parks that may not be an option right now, it also includes campsites on private land that are provided by Hipcamp hosts. Through this platform, you can find everything from rustic campsites to tent sites, cabins and RV sites. 

If you are leaning more towards the glamping end of the camping spectrum, check out GlampingHub. Have you ever wanted to indulge your inner Tarzan in a treehouse or see the stars from bed in a geodesic dome? GlampingHub is the place for you. The site hosts a collection of tents, yurts, geodesic domes, treehouses, and more. If  you’ve always wanted to check out some of the more unique accommodations out there, give GlampingHub a browse. 

Rent an RV

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Traveling solo or with only your family during these times may be the exact opposite of what you’d like to do, especially if you’ve been quarantined by yourself or with your family for several months already. If you have a few good friends who are looking for an escape, renting an RV is a great way to spend time together, get out of town and have your own house on wheels. 

If you’re looking for the classic RV rentals that you’ve probably seen around (you know, the ones with landscape photos of Utah and California wrapped around the vehicles) then you’ll find what you need through Cruise America. These RVs are built for three to seven people depending on the vehicle you choose, and they come with cooktops, water hookups, microwaves and everything else you’ll need to live comfortably on your road trip. 

Another great option is using Outdoorsy to rent an RV. This platform allows RV owners to list their RVs while they are not in use, and it also provides rig assistance to renters who aren’t familiar with how to hook up. 

Outdoorsy is nice because you have the option of renting RVs, hookups, trailers and even campervans if you’re looking to experience that van life. Through Outdoorsy, you’ll have access to insurance, 24/7 assistance and help with pick-up, set-up, drop-off, and tear-down. Insurance is especially important when renting an RV because the protections credit cards can provide for car rentals to not extend to RVs. 

Charter a Yacht


Who says you need to stay on land during these times? Arguably, heading out to sea is a great way to continue social distancing and have an adventure at the same time. If you have a solid group of friends who are looking for any possible way to leave the shore, chartering a yacht is a surprising option that many travelers might not have considered. If you feel trepidation about sailing the (possibly stormy) seas, a lakeside boat rental may be more your speed.  

This (of course) won’t be your cheapest vacation option, but if you can gather a few friends, you can split the cost and have yourselves a pleasantly affordable getaway. There are quite a few platforms through which you can charter a skippered or crewed yacht, sailboat, or catamaran—do some digging to find the one that is right for you and your group.

One option is to charter a boat through Sunsail which offers 48 different types of yachts, skippered vacations and even sailing lessons. If you or one of your friends is a qualified sailor, you’ll also have the option to self-captain your boat and set your own itinerary. 

Another option is to book through Dream Yacht Charter which features over 1,250 boats, skippered charters, crewed charters, catamarans and bareboat charters which you or your friends can self-captain. Additionally, Dream Yacht Charter offers accommodations at Aqualodge floating villas with glass bottoms for up to four people; you’ll have a full kitchen and a dinghy for getting back to shore.

Bottom Line

A silver lining of the pandemic may be a newfound sense of wonder about traveling in the good old U.S. of A. Even though the future of travel is uncertain, there are so many ways by which we can ease ourselves back into exploring. For now, focus on ground-based travel, hop into a car or RV, go camping or sailing, and enjoy the opportunity to explore the US in a way that we might not have chosen before.

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