Planning a Camping Vacation in the Middle of Pandemic

Like many events that have been cancelled over the last three months, we made our summer vacation plans long before COVID-19 took over the country. And over the last three months we have watched as one thing after another got cancelled.

The remainder of our son’s soccer season.

Our daughter’s camping trip with friends to celebrate her birthday.

Our Memorial Day weekend trip to San Antonio to take the kids to see Kenny Chesney.

Our date night to watch the Barenaked Ladies on their Houston tour stop.

We hunkered down, trying to work and live all together, starting home improvement projects to distract us from the reality outside, and spending way too much time on devices as we tried to find ways to cope with all the ways a global pandemic was impacting our family. We thank God that no one in our immediate family had gotten sick and continue to take all the necessary measures as we go out into public.

But we didn’t want to let go of a vacation that would free us from being trapped by disease.

There are a lot of reasons to be glad that we prefer camping over any other type of vacation, but this year it seems we really do have the best idea. After all, we don’t have to worry about air travel, we have a bathroom traveling with us for emergencies, we can take all of our food with us so we don’t have to depend on reliably hygienic food service, and we are traveling to relatively remote locations (with a few exceptions).

Our love for camping and outdoor recreation really doesn’t seem that crazy right now.

How are we planning our travel?

We verified our stays

I made our reservations at the beginning of March, before I left for Costa Rica, before events were cancelled, before the kids and I had to finish our school year at home. If I had known how much things would change in the weeks following those decisions, I don’t know that I would have tried to make all of the reservations that I made, but what was done was done.

We checked with the Colorado state park we are reserved at to make sure we are still good. My sister-in-law (who we will be meeting up with) and I both checked the National Parks we are planning to visit. And then I checked my emails and our state park reservations, discovering the day before we were supposed to leave that I hadn’t actually reserved our last planned stay. Oops! Because the planned last night is a holiday weekend, finding a reasonably spaced-out state park to stay at was nearly impossible, even in hot Texas. I checked distances and settled on a KOA. It’s far pricier but it also means full hook up so we can do a thorough clean of the camper on our last night before we head home and unpack.

We planned out all of our meals

This is usually a must since we are headed to locations where we won’t be able to easily shop, but it was especially important this year. We couldn’t risk needing to stop at restaurants or picking up food at random times. So we have a packed pantry, freezer, and cooler ready to go.

We’re taking precautions

We have our masks ready to go, we have hand sanitizer for use after outside interaction, and we always travel with wipes. We also have the advantage of a bathroom traveling behind us. While we’re used it for emergencies before, we are ever more thankful that this is our option now so that if we need to stop and we can’t trust the restrooms where we have to stop, we can use the camper if necessary.

We’re planning for the unexpected while following a loose plan

Last summer we learned that even the most perfectly planned and executed itinerary can get derailed. We didn’t plan for those extra days in Albuquerque, but we did what we could to make the best of them. We have our stops, we know things we want to do at those stops, but we’re also open to realizing that those plans may have to change. We paid for a safety modification to the truck (it was that or discuss renting a bigger truck to see if that made a difference) and we have our thermometer to keep checking the tires for potential problems. And this year, I remembered a spare pair of contacts.

And now it’s time to hit the road.

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