Travel in the age of pandemics, planning and research while sheltering at home

Planning and researching travel in the age of pandemics

We are part of a country not accustomed to taking a break from daily routine. Work, school, moving kids or grandkids around to appointments, striving to be better at what we do – the go-go-go society we’re a part of.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed all that for most. Many people are furloughed from work, or asked to work at home. Businesses have closed, hours have been cut, schools shuttered, daycare centers darkened, casting even more responsibility on parents and grandparents.

Older Americans, and millions more with medical challenges ranging from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, those on blood thinners and with compromised immune systems – all are at risk. Younger people, thinking themselves invincible, may not realize they can carry the virus, transmit it to these groups of fellow citizens and worsen the problem.

Accepting all that, we and millions of other Americans are at home, following the news on television, from newspapers and magazines, or online, and wondering or fearing what the next day or week may bring. However, many of us continue to think about travel plans. Travel plans to spring and summer destinations disrupted, the chore to rebook those destinations and dreaming of an end to the health crisis and returning to normal times, as well as the allure of travel, both near and far.

Sheltering at home gives you the time to research and plan bucket list
trip destinations such as a “winter in Yellowstone” trip!
Favorite travel inspiration volumes, from top, clockwise; The Yosemite, photos by Galen Rowell, text by John Muir; The Other California, by Gerald Haslam; The Lincoln Highway, by Wallis and Williamson; Weird California, by Bishop, Oesterle and Marinacci and the Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada, by John Muir Laws.

Hence, a few thoughts on how to spend your and your family’s time thinking travel. Here are resources to brighten your day and help you reflect, research and plan future travel trips. 

As a family, consider connecting with one another through new modes like Skype or Zoom teleconferencing. Our youngest daughter set us up with a Zoom account, and soon we will be able to video conference with her family and other family matters. Other options include Marco Polo, WhatsApp, Facetime on Apple devices and Facebook Messenger.

How about updating both your personal and family bucket list along the way? Certainly you have a written set of targets for future travel, no? If not, why not build one, and get the family (including kids and grandkids) thinking of the destination(s) and excitement that comes with such planning.

500 Nations is a great book to interest younger travelers in the excitement of visiting special places in the history of our Native Americans.

Start by getting your significant other and key family members into the thought process. Take these steps:

  • Gather a running list of travel hopes and dreams,
  • Challenge members of your new “travel team” to do research (web searches, your local library, scanning TV resources like Travel Channel , Nat Geo)
  • Once your destination(s) are shaping up, do web searches like Visitstockton.org (for Stockton travel), Visit California for overall state insights, specific national parks.
  • Family discussion (using Skype, Zoom or others)
  • Update that written bucket list, lay plans and make reservations

With more time on your hands, visit inspirational travel websites: Travel and Leisure, Sunset Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler’s on-line magazine, Visit California or Travel California. For your special places (such as Yellowstone park area encompassing Montana, Wyoming and Idaho), do a web search and turn up special resources like the Mountain Journal, featuring articles about both travel and the crush of development around our favorite parks like Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park (mountainjournal.org).

If you are a 62 and older traveler, make sure you acquire the Federal America the Beautiful Pass; a one-time, $80 purchase gets you into Federal National Parks and Monuments for free, and saves you half-off parks, monuments, national forest campsites. For Life!

Find time to read newspaper travel sections (in the Tuesday Record, the Sacramento Bee or San Francisco Chronicle). Dig through your home library to find favorite travel books and guides or find them at your library or purchase on-line.

Some of my book favorites include The Yosemite, featuring Galen Rowell’s stunning photos and John Muir’s notes from his pioneering exploration, The Other California, Central Valley life and Letters, edited by Gerald Haslam; The Lincoln Highway, Wallace and Williamson, tracing the historic highway’s establishment as well as early path across Donner Pass, into Sacramento and south through San Joaquin County and Stockton; Weird California, by Bishop, Oesterle and Maranacci, packed with unique and oddball destinations throughout our state; and Laws field guide to the Sierra Nevada, by John Muir Laws, just the tool for exploring the flora and fauna found up and down the Sierra Range.

Should walking in the steps of our Native Americans play into your travels, 500 nations by Alvin Josephy, Jr. and The Native Americans, an Illustrated History by Thomas, Miller, White, Nabokov, Deloria have provided unique insights. You can find many more books and/or websites on specific interest areas such as nearby ghost towns, covered bridges, Gold Rush history, favorite state or national parks and much more.

Atlas Obscura offers interesting and odd-ball destinations all over the USA and many other countries; guaranteed to pique interest of the most seasoned travelers!

Consult favorite travel blogs: my own, blogs.esanjoaquin.com/valleytravel, sourcing several hundred local and regional travel features, others such as nomadicmatt.com; Matt also lists these as his favorites: Legal Nomads, sharing a former attorney’s travel featuring food and culture, No Vacation Required, sharing insights on digital nomading and travel to intriguing destinations, Hey Nadine, documenting Nadine’s YouTube adventures as she travels the world and View from the Wing, which profiles travel loyalty and airline programs.

Search Facebook groups like Travels with Tim (my own site, with Record travel features and reposts of scores of other travel stories), Western United States Travel, and United States Travel Society. Build your own list of travel-focused publications, web sites and travel blogs to build your interest and inspire future travels.

Northern California destinations like Trinidad offer spectacular sea sides and
usually small crowds in your future travels.

Ready to book your travels? Consumer Affairs list these as trusted booking sites: BookIt.com, CheapOAir, Booking.com, Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com, Airbnb and Hotwire. We have been pleased with both Priceline, for booking hotels/motels at last minute and Kayak.com, for booking of flights, hotels and rental cars. Campground booking sites (with pent-up demand, booking favored sites six months from now is imperative, so act now for September and beyond): reserveamerica.com and reservation.gov.

Contact Tim at tviall@msn.com or follow him at recordnet.com/travelblog. Happy travels in your world!

This entry was posted in Central California, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, Sierra Nevada, Southeast US, Southern California, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

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