How to plan a vacation while still staying safe amid the pandemic

It’s safe to say that almost all of us need a vacation from 2020.

Taking that break, however, is its own kind of challenge. Whether it’s staying in RVs, hiking or traveling the country by train, travelers are finding new ways to enjoy their time away.

Planning a trip during a pandemic isn’t easy, so In The Know asked Lindsay Stein for some help. Stein is a New York City-based travel journalist and founder of The Roundtrip Collective.

“Times have definitely changed, and while travel may not be deemed essential and safety is always the priority, it’s super important to take care of yourself and your mental health,” the travel expert told In The Know.

Stein broke her advice down into three easy tips — so, if you’re planning a vacation in the last months of the year, look no further.

Travel on wheels

For Stein, a road trip is a win-win right now. Not only can you avoid the health and safety concerns that come with flying and other transportation, but you can also make your drive part of the vacation itself.

“There’s tons of opportunity to see fall foliage, art, food, nature, often without even having to leave the comfort and safety of your own car,” Stein said.

Don’t have a car? Don’t worry. As Stein pointed out, you can rent a car for as low as $40 a day, depending on where you live.

Find a change of scenery

We’re all sick of staring at the same thing every day — whether that’s a work laptop, a Netflix queue or the same half-eaten leftovers in the fridge.

A major point for Stein: Mix things up. Pick a place with some gorgeous, escapist scenery, and make sure it’s not something you’re used to.

The travel expert suggests an Airbnb in a nearby state, particularly a cabin or treehouse. Fall is in full swing, so why not embrace the aesthetic?

“The best part is that you’ll have the space to yourself, so you do not have to worry and you can just relax,” Stein said. “And with work from home on the rise, why not find yourself a new remote office to get a change of scenery?”

Plan outdoor activities

This is an obvious one, but the point is important. The CDC has stated that indoor activities are considerably riskier than being outside, so plan in advance to ensure you can enjoy some time in the open air.

“Go outdoors and get some fresh air,” Stein said. “You can do so many outdoor activities, like hiking, kayaking, going to the beach, picnicking, and so much more.”

As Stein notes, there’s more to getting outside than just staying physically healthy. There have been numerous studies into the connection between mental health and spending time outside, and in a rough year — it’s probably something many of us could use.

Check out our list of five budget-friendly trips to take this fall.

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