Taking a Vacation Despite COVID-19

By Alise Jarvis

For almost eight months now, we have been in quarantine at our homes. We have been maintaining our health and our safety from others throughout this past spring, summer, and fall. As a result, many have canceled their travel plans and have not formed any new ones. While we must be careful, it is important that we still take a vacation despite COVID-19.

Now, what I am not saying is to just hastily pack up and head out on that vacation you wish you were on. No. What I am saying is that in diligence and caution you should get take a break from your surroundings of the past eight months.

Amidst the COVID-19 scare, why should you venture outside of your home?

Because community (in small numbers right now) is beneficial for your mental well-being. Being trapped in your home for months on end, either alone, or with your immediate family members can be draining. According to Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Polls, 53 percent of adults stated in July that their mental health has been negatively affected by “worry and stress” due COVID-19.

Additionally, when you work and live in the same place, it can be a challenge to know where to set the boundaries so that you maintain time to rest. When droning through days that feel and look just about the same, it can be difficult to keep up your energy and morale. And in a time that is as difficult as this is, it is important to do so.

‘Vacation time is an important part of self-care, and breaking away from work is a critical part of that.’

Adam Schair, vice president of internal communications at New York Life

Experts have found that regular breaks are crucial to the upkeep of our mental health. Research has found that since the pandemic began and individuals moved to working at home, the average workday has increased by 48 minutes. Adam Schair, the vice president of internal communications at New York Life said, “Vacation time is an important part of self-care, and breaking away from work is a critical part of that.”

So, take a vacation despite COVID-19 worries, but do so wisely and in a manner that won’t compromise your or other’s health.

But, when planning your trip, you should do so with COVID and your health in mind. Don’t plan a vacation to a big crowded city such as New York City, DC, or LA. Rather, plan to travel to more remote places. Travel to locations where you can have your own space, for example staying in Airbnb or a cottage or cabin, rather than in a hotel. Additionally, the closer to home that you stay on your vacation, the better. Focus on outdoor staycations.

When planning your activities, focus on the outdoors. In parts of the country, it is beginning to get cold, but you can still find places where you can comfortably spend time in the fresh air. If you are in the South where it is still warm, you should hike, or sit outside, maybe even take a camping trip. The more fresh air that you get, the better that you will feel. Additionally, you will be enjoying a new location and a change of scenery, while not compromising your health.

Some of you may be finding yourselves swamped by work and unable to leave your home. In that case, take a break from your computer and your meetings and take a walk outside in your neighborhood. Or find a new park to explore. If you live in the south where it is still warm, go camping.

In recent months, those who vacation despite COVID-19 tend to focus on pod travel. That is, traveling with a main group of three or more who interact mainly within their group to minimize contact with others. Traveling in this manner allows you to not travel alone, but to not interact with many different people.

Before making plans to leave your home, you should make sure you are not ill. While this is common knowledge, it should be reiterated. To care for others, you shouldn’t leave home when know or think you may be sick. So, get a test if you can, or quarantine for fourteen days, monitoring your temperature before heading out. If you’ve been exposed to COVID, don’t leave on a trip unless you know you don’t have it. The main point is, think about others before you step outside your door.

So, it is important to get out of our home and our routine to take a break. With COVID-19 still prevalent in the US, we do need to be very careful. Take your vacations outside in remote places, not in condensed cities. Stay in places that allow you to remain separate from others rather than sharing the same spaces. Travel in a pod so you are limiting your contact with others while still getting time with a few people you hold dear. But, before you decide to take a vacation, make sure you are not ill. You don’t want to be putting your friends in danger.

As uncertain as these times are, we must take care of ourselves. To remain mentally well, we must have a community around us. Additionally, when we are sucked into a routine, it can be exhausting and lonely. That’s why taking a break and a taking a vacation despite COVID-19, doing so carefully and staying within a short distance, is beneficial for your health.