Cabin fever or wanderlust got you down? As 2020 wrapped up and we’re in the beginnings of 2021, we’ve all been staying at home for longer than expected, making travel seem like a thing of the past. Fortunately, that isn’t the case at all! With proper planning and precautions, you can still travel safely, whether it be for business or pleasure.
So, whether you’re dying to hit the road, sail the seas, or fly high in the sky, we’ll share the best ways to safely plan socially distant vacations. Not only will this article serve as a “how-to” guide for COVID-friendly vacations, but we hope these tips will transcend the pandemic and just make traveling feel safer, more hygienic, and as relaxing as ever.
Now, these ideas aren’t proposing premature travel if it’s unnecessary, but should the time come for essential travel (say, a funeral, a work trip, or something of the like) we hope these ideas can help you feel better about the ordeal. As always, pay attention to the rules and regulations in your immediate area, wear your masks, and stay six feet apart from everyone outside your household.
Where to Stay
For starters, you’re going to want to choose a destination. With that comes the responsibility of finding a suitable place to stay. Sometimes, hotels get a bad rep with horror stories of bed bugs and sloppy cleaning jobs, and whether or not that applies to all hotels, it might serve you better to opt for something small, secluded, and less used for your socially distant vacation spot.
Canada is known for the vast and wonderful outdoor scenery – from icy blue lakes and forests to mountain ranges and everything in between. That’s why staying in nature is easily a thing to consider. You can find an array of hole-in-the-wall locales on short-term rental sites, or you could opt for something like Cabinscape, a Canadian-owned company that specializes in low-impact, ecologically sound cabin rentals in the secluded wilderness.
The company has nine cabins to choose from across Southern Ontario (as of 2020), and in 2021, they will be opening Cabinscape Camp, a wellness and adventure retreat home to five camp cabins. With beautiful views, this quiet oasis is a perfect COVID vacation for someone trying to escape the hustle and bustle of life.
Tiny Homes/Apartments/Rental Homes
If your group is on the larger side, you might need to opt for a bigger rental to accommodate your party. Cottages in Canada might be worth a look. These rentals are built for bigger groups, so large families or housemates can easily spread out. Their rental map spreads across Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.
Prices vary, but you’re looking at something for a large group, so you shouldn’t set your expectations too low. The user interface of this platform is very similar to Airbnb in that you can search with certain parameters and see high-quality images, and with over 10,000 reviews, this may be something to look into as far as vacations in Canada go.
Other Short-Term Rentals
If you’re still on the fence about what would qualify as a safe COVID vacation, stick to cities near you and test the waters with an OG short-term rental platform like Airbnb or VRBO. Starting small (and supporting local) is a great way to start figuring out what seems fun, safe, or inviting to you and whoever you’re wanting to go on a 2021 vacation with. Perhaps you’re wanting to stick to somewhere you can drive, or maybe you’re willing to fly. Either way, the US is anxiously awaiting your visit to any state, city, or town for a quick trip.
There is a lot to do wherever you swing it – whether you’re wanting something secluded or you’re willing to face the crowds of a bigger city. Wear your mask, keep your distance, and have a decent amount of hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes on hand.
Things to Do
Now for the fun part. What are you going to do on your socially distant trip?
You can always stick to affordable, outdoorsy options. Go on walks, hikes, bike rides, and boat excursions if you’re wanting to stay away from people. That way, you can command the trip, figuring out the road less traveled (so to speak), which businesses or tours have capacity limits, and which restaurants allow takeout instead of required dining in.
You can have a great touristy experience without all the crowds if you listen to the locals on social media or travel forums. Here are a few hot spots you might consider during your 2021 vacation:
The Royal Ontario Museum is open Wednesday to Sunday with a majority of the facility being operational despite the pandemic. Safety measures are in place, and interactives within the exhibitions and galleries are temporarily closed to avoid the spread of germs unchecked.
In Toronto, the Union Station is the place to be with different events, shops, and restaurants to choose from. It’s open from 5:30 AM to 12:45 AM daily, but individual vendor hours may vary.
Though currently closed due to the pandemic, the CN Tower is a place to put on the bucket list because of its rich history, stunning architecture, and interesting science. For now, you can see a map of what color the tower will be lit up with and why. This will still make for some neat photos from afar.
Finally, we suggest taking a skyline tour from any of their excursions spanning across Canada on the Via Rail. They offer four different trips showcasing everything from urban to rural Canada in all its splendor. They have detailed COVID-19 policy information available on their site, explanations on expectations and cleanliness standards, and flexible booking plans safeguarding worsening conditions or concerns.
Now for the states. You can easily visit a zoo with peace of mind, as the buildings have patron limits and the majority of the destination is outside, but that doesn’t fit everyone’s fancy. There are several destinations reminiscent of a European trip if you had to cancel one of those, including Cape Cod, Massachusets, Sonoma County, California, Aspen, Colorado, and the Virginia Wine Country. Activities can include wine tastings, food tours, visiting lavender fields and vineyards, hiking and exploring, and much more.
Or, there’s a landscape for everyone, whether it be the mountains, the city, the coasts, or the mainland. This magazine has a plethora of destination ideas that you should take a look at if you’re dying to go stateside.
We’ll touch on New York City for a moment, as it’s a hub for sightseeing, exploring, eating, drinking, shopping, and more. Typical NYC things: Broadway shows, clubbing, concerts, and tourist traps like Times Square. Other attractions are limited to about half capacity, with appointments and bookings required in advance. Enhanced cleaning measures are underway, and establishments require masks and expect social distancing.
Museums are open with the same precautions in place, and parks like Madison Square, Washington, Riverside, and Central are thriving with audio tours and photo ops galore. Food and drinks are available for takeout at all the popular joints, so why not have an iconic picnic in a park with some A+ eats? If this seems like your cup of tea, check out local guides, news organizations, and business pages to ensure what you want to do is available to you.
How to Pack for 2021 Vacations
And finally, let’s go over some quick packing tips. Packing for any trip can feel exhausting and anxiety-inducing, because what if you don’t pack something essential, or you’re underprepared for some event, emergency, or popup plan? You can’t pack perfectly for every trip, so it’s best to just stick to the basics to save time, energy, and space (especially if you’re already limited to a carry-on sized piece of luggage on airlines or trains).
That’s why we created another “how-to” guide focused on packing! Find it here for all your packing needs!
For now, we’ll keep it simple. Stick to a limited clothing allotment, focusing on things that are multiuse or “layerable.” That prepares you for weather inconsistencies like cold-fronts, rain, or snow, while also giving you room for outfits that are ready for the sun and heat.
Since we’re talking COVID-friendly vacations here, remember that airlines have upped the hand sanitizer ounce limit from the otherwise standard 3 fluid ounces to 12 ounces, so you can be fully prepared for a short trip away from home. Bring plenty of masks (reusable is best, but we know people who opt for disposable on public transit simply because of the nature of travel), sanitizing wipes, gloves, and other personal protective equipment as you see fit (for instance, if you prefer a face shield to a mask!).
Go on Your 2021 Vacations with Vessis on Your Feet
We mentioned multiuse clothing (for any vacay), which is why Vessi shoes are perfect for your traveling feet. They’re comfortable, stylish, lightweight, and waterproof, making them appropriate for any sort of weather, climate, or activity. You could be walking in the great outdoors or through a local town, and your shoes will hold up no matter the terrain. Instead of taking up suitcase space with different pairs of shoes, go for one pair that works for just about anything. Go for a pair of Vessis.
Enjoy your 2021 vacations!