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10 Ways to Still Get Away This Summer

Your travel plans were probably canceled long ago, but that doesn't mean you need to be stuck at home all June, July, and August.

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Summer vacation?

Memorial Day has now come and gone, meaning summer is unofficially here. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions, the same vacation that worked for your family last year may not be possible to replicate this year. But you can still get away and stay healthy and safe.

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A secluded resort

Escaping to a secluded resort is one way to safely still getaway this summer. Places like the Mohican Treehouses in central Ohio are seemingly well suited to be a mid-pandemic vacation because the properties are literally removed from the ground and from each other, all set in a remote private location with easy access to the great outdoors. This specific secluded, unique treehouse destination remains open during the coronavirus crisis with a completely contactless check-in and check-out process, no lobby, elevator, or common areas to potentially run into strangers. In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) cleaning protocols are being followed. These are 10 things you won’t see in hotels anymore.

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Become domesticated with a rental home

In a recent travel study, “86 percent of travelers signaled that they plan on visiting a United States domestic destination once pandemic-imposed restrictions are lifted.” As you look to salvage your summer travel plans, pack your masks and make your getaway domestic by taking a long weekend road trip to a nearby small town or state park, and booking a rental home through VRBO, take confidence from rental company’s cleaning tips provided to homeowners. Once there, you’ll encounter fewer fellow tourists and have a safe summer vacation. What’s safer: a hotel or an Airbnb?

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A bike trip

Studies all point to getting away outside, alone or in small socially-distanced groups, as being a safer choice than spending too much time inside and in crowded locations, even with a mask on and hand sanitizer at the ready. A two-wheeled getaway this summer might be the safest, and thoroughly healthiest way to travel this summer—in fact, more and more people are cycling during the COVID-19 crisis. Check for local rails to trails bike paths, like Nebraska’s Cowboy Trail, a former rail line converted into a scenic recreational path for biking, hiking, and horseback riding, which once completed will be 321-miles long, making it America’s longest (currently it runs 195 miles). A bike trip is not only a way to get away this summer but also to get fit and stay healthy. Discover more of the United States bike trails with the best views.

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Private tours

No one will likely want to pile into a crowded tour bus this summer, but booking a private tour for you and your family could be a safe way to still getaway. Lexington, Kentucky, is an example of a place ideal for those looking to get outdoors after spending months cooped up inside. There are picturesque rolling hills and more than 400 horse farms accessible still via private behind-the-scenes Horse Country tours. In addition to thoroughbreds, Kentucky is also famous for its bourbon distilleries (14 of the largest in the state are in the Lexington area), some of which can be visited safely during a private historic Bourbon Trail limo tour.

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Make it a day trip

Close to 33 percent of travelers in the New York City, Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia area would be most comfortable taking a day trip as their first leisure trip [once coronavirus lockdowns are lifted],” according to a recent survey reported by Visit Philly. For travelers nervous about staying in hotels and booking rental homes this summer, even with vigorous cleaning procedures implemented, a day trip may be the best option. A day spent visiting a nearby place is a safer way to slowly get back into the travel groove this summer. While you may still be picking up your food curbside and eating in your car, and wearing a mask, you can get out and safely explore a historic city like Philadelphia as America slowly and safely reopens. Here are everyday habits that should change forever after coronavirus.

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Road trip to nowhere

As we cope with fear and worry about COVID-19, one way to still getaway this summer is to pile into your own car and drive without any destination. USA Today reports that many, “Americans are considering road trips as a minimal-contact vacation option” but is quick to remind road trippers that they, “may encounter checkpoints at state lines, quarantine orders, closed welcome centers, and rest areas.” But you can guarantee a safe, fun summer getaway by staying in your state, topping off the gas tank before you leave, and packing lunch and plenty of water. You can’t take that Alaskan cruise or head to Paris this summer but you can find some nearby country roads to wander, get lost, and, feel the wind in your hair. This is what travel could look like after coronavirus.

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A short safe flight

Maybe a staycation, cooking ethnic food at home, learning a new language, or taking a day trip isn’t enough to satisfy your travel itch. Flights are still taking off and landing every day, so flying away to someplace that doesn’t have a mandatory quarantine period upon arrival remains a legitimate option. Keep tabs on each state’s updated visitor quarantine requirements and travel restrictions on USA Today. If you do decide to board an airplane this summer, check out our guide on the right way to germ-proof your plane seat.

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Go RV-ing

“Recreational vehicle dealers report a tide of customers desperate to get away, but wary of cities, crowds, and the coronavirus,” according to Bloomberg. Having your own bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen on wheels allows you to still get away this summer while keeping away from most other tourists flocking to the scenic national parks, too often without wearing masks. Maybe a so-called, “COVID Camper” is your ticket to a safe adventure this summer and beyond.

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Find a campsite

While the experience has the potential to be communal, camping lends itself to a solitary, naturally socially-distant way to take a vacation. As states slowly reopen, public and private campgrounds and state parks will once again be available for a rugged summer vacation. Pennsylvania, for example, has started to allow camping, while Michigan plans to reopen state forests and parks in early-mid June. Check your prospective campsite to make sure they are open before packing up your camping gear for a summer getaway and know that being outside in the warm weather might just be the safest way to get away this summer. Find out the best campsites in every state.

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A European summer (seriously)

Believe it or not, Europe is opening up. Well, some of Europe. Greece and Portugal will make delightful getaways this summer as tourists are being welcomed without the need for a 14-day quarantine. International flights into Athens are scheduled to resume gradually from July 1. “Greece was one of the quickest countries in the region to impose strict lockdown measures and has had among the lowest number of COVID-19 cases in Europe (2,915 infections confirmed and 172 deaths),” according to CNBC.

For more on this developing situation, see our comprehensive Coronavirus Guide.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle is an Iris Award-winning photographer, avid traveler, and English football fanatic who regularly covers travel, culture, cars, health, business, the environment, and more for Reader's Digest. Jeff has also written for Parents Magazine, Esquire, PBS, and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. He is the proud dad of teen daughters. You can follow his adventures on Instagram and Twitter @OWTK.