Road Trips Are Good for the Mind and Body
Recommendations for finding space in the great outdoors
The Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic is on everyone’s mind, how can it not be? Media in all forms is blaring the news 24/7! It’s quickly becoming a major source of stress and concern for much of the population, which is evident by the empty shelves in grocery stores. In recent days, businesses, government agencies, schools, theme parks, and even communities have shut down. Moab Utah has asked visitors to postpone their travel. Restaurants are the latest casualties to fall prey to this pandemic. With the exception of drive-thru, pick-up and delivery service, they too are off-limits. Our industry, tourism and travel, has especially suffered from restrictions placed on travel and gatherings being reduced to 10-50 people.
Many experts agree that spending time in the outdoors is good for our bodies and minds.
So what can we do to reduce stress and promote healthy behavior? Many experts agree that spending time in the outdoors is good for our bodies and minds. Vacations too have many healthy benefits that can boost our immune system and mental state of well-being. Is it even feasible to travel at this time when federal, state, and local government agencies are encouraging us all to stay at least six feet from one another, and limit time away from home?
We have a few suggestions for ways to spend time outdoors and within the recommended guidelines. We take Covid-19 very seriously and cannot overstate the importance of using good judgement in your decision making. Please keep your safety and the safety of others foremost in your considerations.
Where to Go
Road trips if taken to the right places with careful planning can be done safely. We suggest researching places where population density is low, where opportunities are available to discover lessor known and remote areas of your community and state. Some of the safest places to go during these concerning times of Covid-19 are to open spaces that aren’t generally visited. Public lands offer fresh air, and plenty of space for social distancing. Here in our home state of Utah, nearly 70 percent of the state is public land. Much of this land is often accessible by paved road and near rural communities that are far from large populations. Please be considerate when traveling in these spaces by being good stewards and considerate visitors. Folks who live in these places share many of the same concerns.
Choose the Right Lodging Type
We have been asked, and in some instances, ordered to keep social spacing of six feet and to not gather in groups of more than 10 people. We recommend finding places in beautiful outdoor settings that offer space from your neighbors, and include ways to prepare your own meals. Here are a few ideas and options for places to stay during these restrictions.
Camping – Camping offers flexible options for spacing in remote places in either primitive or improved campgrounds. You can prepare your own food, keep a safe distance from others, and spend quality time in nature. Recommendation: Reserve America, North Lake Powell, Utah State Parks
Glamping – This is a step up from camping, and in some cases, several steps above! Glamping (glamorous camping) sites can include large cabin tents, Conestoga Wagons, and yurts with comfortable beds, and heaters. There are glamping resorts that offer tents and yurts with TV’s, bathrooms, and furnished like a hotel room. You can cook your own meals on propane grills and sites are sufficiently spaced apart. Some glamping resorts include on-site restaurants with take out service. Recommendation: Utah.com
Cabins, Tiny Homes and Vacation Rentals – These are the fastest growing types of lodging offerings, Many of the state and national parks offer cabins, tiny homes are popping up near national parks, and vacation rentals are available everywhere these days. Most offer kitchens for preparing your own meals, and are often in remote areas near recreation areas, and scenic destinations. Recommendations: Zion National Park, North Lake Powell, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Hurricane Valley, Utah State Parks
Rent an RV – Like a Desert Tortoise, you’re taking your home with you. If possible, rent a self-contained RV to expand your options for visiting places without hook-ups. You can cook your own meals, and can park in areas within a safe distance from others. Recommendation: Cruise America
Food Preparation and Safe Practices
If available in the area, use restaurants that offer drive through pick-up or delivery. However, we encourage first staying where you can prepare your own meals until restrictions have lifted at restaurants. Use proper spacing at grocery stores, convenience marts, or other food distribution outlets. When cooking you can bring your own grill, cook over a fire, or use kitchens within lodging options where this is available. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. Recommendation: This doesn’t necessarily apply to travel, but to help support restaurants during these restrictions, we suggest purchasing restaurant gift cards that can be used for in-house dining when things return to normal. This will help keep cash flowing to these establishments.
Identify Activities that Keep Social Distance
Most communities offer places and trail systems where you can enjoy a walk, hike, or bike ride. In colder climates you may still be able to enjoy cross-country skiing or snow shoeing. Take a bike along with you when you travel and enjoy safe roadways, paths, or mountain bike trails. Many of us are active photographers with our smart phones, or other cameras. Shoot photos and video and share them with family and friends. A fun activity while relaxing may be to edit your photos or videos and create music montages of your experiences to also share on social media. Bring along your paints and brushes and spend some time in a location creating a lasting memory of your experience. In the recent years we have seen a growing number of artists doing plein air painting in wide open scenic places.
Take Precautions As You Go
Prepare a Road Trippin supply bag complete with hand sanitizer, wet-wipes, and other needed cleaning supplies. Clean your hands as you connect with surfaces at places such as gas stations and restrooms. When camping remember to bring plenty of water, soap, or other supplies. Click here for the CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) recommended guidelines.
Temporarily Free Your Mind
This is a time to disconnect from the worries and stress at home. Put your electronic devices away. Too much intake of news can clog the senses! Use this time for bonding with family and to purge yourself of the constant barrage of news and information. It’s amazing how right the world can feel when you immerse yourself in nature. Again, we encourage using good judgement wherever you go and with whatever you do. We are all in this together and we will get past it together.
Here are a few resources to help you plan an outing. State and county tourism offices post frequent updates on closures, availability of services and recommended places to practice social spacing in the outdoors.
Garfield County – https://www.brycecanyoncountry.com/
Iron County – https://visitcedarcity.com/
Washington County – https://greaterzion.com/
Kane County – https://visitsouthernutah.com/
San Juan County – https://www.utahscanyoncountry.com/
Uinta County – https://www.dinoland.com/coronavirus-travel-information/
Utah State Parks & Recreation – https://stateparks.utah.gov/
Utah Office of Tourism – https://www.visitutah.com/
National Park Service – https://www.nps.gov/
Reserve a campsite – https://www.reserveamerica.com/
Reserve an RV – https://www.cruiseamerica.com/
Nevada Tourism Office – https://travelnevada.com/
Idaho Tourism Office – https://visitidaho.org/
Colorado Tourism – https://www.colorado.com/
Wyoming Tourism – https://travelwyoming.com/
Arizona Tourism – https://www.visitarizona.com/