Holiday travel planning amidst an accelerated pandemic

Celebrate and plan travel with your family this holiday season…

This week I’m departing from my earlier planned article, and gathering my thoughts in the face of an accelerating pandemic – with Christmas and New Year’s holidays still ahead of us. In the month of December, likely fueled by Thanksgiving gatherings and travel, Covid19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have skyrocketed. Fears are that December holidays will further accelerate this deadly trend, and hospital ICUs are nearing capacity.

Hence, I’m reminded, and reminding readers, to get serious and remember how carefully we approached travel and gatherings with friends or family back in April and May. We are smarter than we were then, and we know some of the most critical circumstances to avoid and precautions to take.

Perhaps your favorite local site includes a walk along the Delta out near Village West Marina?

I’m also taking insight from three doctors I know from my ski patrol and bike patrol involvement, and from what I read in national publications and see on TV. Yes, vaccines are coming, but it will be several months before healthcare workers, mature Americans and health challenged Americans can receive adequate vaccinations, and months more before younger, less-challenged citizens are vaccinated, allowing something close to herd immunity.

When traveling, locally or longer-distance, take a robust supply or personal protections equipment; masks, latex gloves, hand sanitizer. Come on, we are month from having effective vaccinations for our most challenged; get with the program, stay safe!

So let’s review the Center for Disease Control’s travel guidelines, which are very detailed. They include masking up when indoors or around any people, maintaining social distancing of six feet or more and plenty of hand-washing or use of hand-sanitizer. One of their recommendations includes checking with state, county and city pandemic requirements, all the more serious as  governments work to abate Covid19 and keep their citizens safe.

My spouse and I, in the travel we have taken in the last seven months, have a full supply of preventative items, take our own snacks, drinks and food items – we can make a day trip with nary a stop but for gas, rarely for take-out. No dining out, no entry into busy retailers; better safe than sorry.

A favorite regional favorite, the rugged Oregon Coast.

So, my spouse and I are pretty much resigned to no real travel outside our home county for the next several months, and even in March and April, very cautious travel, avoiding people and pandemic pitfalls. We are plotting a tiny trailer camping trip, to see our daughter’s family in Tennessee, my brother in Ohio, friends in Minnesota and finish with a housesitting gig in Denver – but not until late mid-July/August. And all of our personal plans are betting on success with vaccines and, a summertime ability to see life return to “closer to the old normal”.

All the more reason to thoughtfully plan, individually and as families, for travel in the spring, summer and beyond in the New Year. In the final several weeks of 2020, I’ll be doing a review of the top travel destinations, locally, in California and the western US. You are invited to share your most favorite destinations in any of those three areas, by submitting a good quality digital scenic photo and 50 to 75 words of why this destination is your favorite. I will use your submissions in those future articles to appear the weeks of Christmas, New Year’s and the following Tuesday, or in my Record travel blog.

A favorite Tetons/Yellowstone photo, bison in front of Mt. Moran.

To get you thinking, my favorite travel destination in the west, in normal times, is a toss-up between Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. For this example, I will settle on Grand Teton, and would submit one of my favorite photos from summer a few years back (though, also favorite winter destinations, as well), and would submit about 65 words, to wit:

Grand Teton National Park (and adjoining Yellowstone Park) have to rate as favorites due to spectacular scenery, a well-cultivated preservation of the old Wild West, incredible wildlife and Yellowstone’s nearby mind-blowing thermal features, leading with Old Faithful Geyser. Both parks offer numerous campgrounds, grand old lodges and relatively inexpensive motels in surrounding towns; avoid mid-summer’s crowds! Do book your reservations well in advance.

A favorite Yellowstone winter photo, bison at Midway Geyser Basin, winter of 2016.

Hence, submit a good digital scenic photo and 50 to 70 words about why the destination is your favorite, to I’ll feature some of the best suggestions in my Record articles, and many of the balance in my Record blog. Here are your deadlines:

For favorite San Joaquin County or nearby destinations, send by December 16,

For California favorites, December 23,

For Nearby and all western states, December 28.

We will use a number of these submissions in articles to appear the Tuesdays of Christmas week, New Year’s and the following Tuesday, January 5. The New Year; it has to be an improvement, does it not?

Plan a holiday family gathering with immediate family (for more distant, using Zoom or Facebook Messenger), get those ideas out on the table and plan your travel in 2021! In the meantime, navigate day-trips where you can shelter in your automobile and walk, hike or bike in our incredible outdoors. Stay safe, plan for the future and remain resolute.

Contact Tim at, follow him at, and travel, safe!

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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