So we've all been laying low for the majority of the year trying our best to help reduce the spread of this nasty virus. Some people have decided to take their planned vacations while many of us have been trying to figure out how we can bring some semblance of vacation life to our new norm. We decided the best route for our family to break the monotony AND stay safe was a Staycation.
We took a short 40 minute drive to Guntersville, AL. We absolutely love Guntersville and are so blessed that it's close to home. We often travel here when we are short on time or just need that feeling of getting away. Considerations for this particular trip were the flexibility to quickly return home if we weren't comfortable and need for rest room breaks. We also needed to be close to home in the event that the rental did not present the level of cleanliness we were looking for. Thankfully everything checked out and we were able to enjoy our time away.
Whether in a pandemic or not, Staycations are a great way to be intentional about enjoying where you live. If your'e a person that doesn't "tour" their city/states, your'e are missing out on many hidden gems. This is the perfect time to plan a staycation and explore your state!
Do your research and go with a Cabin, Airbnb or just choose a campsite. These are all options that make it easier to maintain physical distance, unlike hotels and condos which typically share common spaces. Read the reviews and pay attention to what recent guests have said about cleanliness, then ask about their sanitizing protocol. Make sure they are doing everything they should to keep guests safe.
We took it a step further by packing gloves, sanitizing spray and wipes and doing a once over on arrival. We cleaned all touch points, sanitized all beds, sofas etc... before allowing the children in. This extra measure helped give us peace of mind because, people often cut corners. I didn't want to worry about the all the what ifs, so sanitizing eliminated them. We also made sure to throughly wash any dishes we needed prior to use and purchased paper plates to cut down on the use of the homes dishes.
This last one isn't a must but I have to say it played a part in the property we booked. Look for newer properties (as newer builds) when possible. Because the home we rented was less than a year old, it meant it had not been heavily frequented. That felt good to us but we tend to look for newer properties even when not in a pandemic. It's just our personal preference....
Our location was also great because we really didn't have to leave if we didn't want to. It had a beautiful lake view with access to enjoy wading, fishing and boating. It came equipped with a large porch, which we ate most meals on, a grill, fire pit and the perfect amount of grass for the kids and dog to run around and play. It was a true a vacation home! Traveling during a pandemic is the time to make sure you choose amenities you want so you can stay put if that's whats safest. Sometimes a getaway simply involves leaving your home with nothing else planned.
You can really enjoy yourself and relax by picking the right place to stay.
The other bonus to renting a home or camping is that you're in control of your food, who touches it and if the area in which it was prepared is clean. Although we splurged on take-out twice, we brought most of our groceries from home and prepared our own food the same way we always do. Staycation or not, we have not done any dining in since before March and had no plans to begin on this trip.
Look for a property with a pool and use it during non-peak times. We were lucky in that no one else used the pool at all during our stay. We had it to ourselves the entire time which was a huge relief! Since it was always empty, the boys were able to enjoy themselves and really let it all out without the stress of staying away from others. I'm sure they welcomed the freedom!
Plan to enjoy being outside. It's honestly the best way to have control over your environment and remain distant from others. We enjoyed several new hiking trails, a day at the beach and an evening taking in the lake on a pontoon boat tour. The boat tour was the only activity we did that directly involved other people and we felt good about it. They made sure to limit tickets to 10 people and we only ended up with one other couple on our tour. They also provided hand sanitizer as we boarded and everyone work masks.
While the beach a lot of fun and great activity during our staycation I must say, our early arrival paid off. We arrived sometime before lunch and as time went on more people started showing up. This was our cue to leave.....My tip is to plan ahead and make sure to get to any high yield attractions as early as possible.
We lured the boys away with the promise of ice cream because no kid ever wants to leave the beach!
Do what feels right for you...
All in all, we enjoyed our staycation and felt very safe. If you decide to venture away from home, just be sure to take the same safety measures you would anywhere else. Plan ahead and be prepared to change directions quickly if need be. Remember, there's no pressure to do anything grand during these times (or ever for that matter). Do what feels best for your family and do it safely. We are all trying to figure out how best to move through this and find a way forward that lends itself to actually feeling like we are living!
How do you feel about traveling right now?