Deciding to travel during the Covid-19 pandemic was a new challenge and one we did not make lightly. Like many people, my husband and I were tired of our house and tired of the sameness of constantly staying home. We looked at the data and decided that we would start thinking about a trip. Because health was the overriding parameter in our decisions, planning for this trip looked much different than for our past trips and required multiple steps.
We first talked with our doctor to make certain that our plans would not endanger our health or the health of my mother. Everyone’s situation is different, but we felt that taking this precaution was best.
After getting approval from our doctor, we started planning how we would travel. We decided to drive since studies show that driving is safer than flying at this point.
So where would we go? Our destination could not be too far since we have long since given up driving long distances without stopping. We wanted to go places where we could hike which would put us in open air (less likely to be infected) and somewhere that had cabins or rentals with private entrances. We also contacted each place to check their cleaning protocols. The destination, if we left Texas, also had to accept Texans without a quarantine.
After looking at the surrounding states, we chose Arkansas for many reasons. The state has mandatory mask laws in effect which means that we and those around us would be safer. The state has great state parks with cabins. The drive to the first park we wanted to visit was only six hours and, after that, there were many parks within a short distance.
In addition to our typical packing list, we needed to include items to protect our safety and the safety of others. We packed Lysol spray, antibacterial wipes, masks, and a few pairs of gloves just in case. Whenever we got out of the car, we “masked up” and used antiseptic wipes to touch doors, gas pumps, etc. Before we touched anything in a cabin, we sprayed surfaces with Lysol spray.
Since we were staying in places that had food prep areas, we took supplies for breakfasts and lunches. We did not go into a restaurant to eat, but we did order take out and pick up. (I had checked before going and found that everyone I called provided take-out options.)
We went and had fun! Fellow hikers either wore masks or carefully maintained more than social distancing. Everyone at every gas station wore masks. We went into one museum during our visit and were pleased to see the steps they were taking to ensure that everyone both wore masks and social distanced. Over the course of 10 days, there were only a few places that people were not following the mask law, and we quickly left to avoid possible exposure.
Our trip was different than our “normal” trips, but these are not “normal” times. The additional steps we took to ensure our safety and the safety of others did not interfere in our fun and, obviously, not in the fun others were having, also.
– Candace Ahlfinger has loved traveling since she was little and has always been on the go whenever possible. Now she is retired and gets to do what she loves best… TRAVEL! Whether it’s traveling with her wonderful husband, or our children and grandchildren, traveling is a great experience that enriches her life. Because she always enjoys reading and hearing about others’ travel experiences, she wants to share her travels with the Ellis DownHome readers.