I think we can all agree that keeping people alive should be our top priority at this time of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Keeping our sanity should come in close to the top as well. Maintaining mental health looks different for different people. People like me need fresh air, sunshine, and plenty of outlets for our wanderlust.
If you can relate, you’ll find the following stories interesting. They’re stories of travel families who’ve changed their travel plans over the course of this year and what they’re doing to keep their own wanderlust alive.
Home Adventures During COVID-19
Our family was scheduled to fly to Steamboat Springs, CO, for a week of family spring break skiing. Our scheduled departure date was March 14th. Up until March 12th, we were still planning to go as the resort was open and accepting guests.
However, once we heard that Walt Disney World was closing, we started to wonder if ski resorts would be next. We were also concerned about flying. Whether or not we would be able to get back to our state in the event of a COVID-19 state shut down.
After waiting on hold with the Steamboat Springs call center for five hours, we made the decision to cancel our trip.
Two days later, the ski resorts at Steamboat Springs closed.
While we are disappointed not to have family time together on the slopes, our family is taking advantage of this unique opportunity to slow down and just spend time together.
Rather than hitting the slopes, my kids are playing their favorite skiing board game, Fresh Traxx! It’s not the same thrill as skiing those slopes themselves. Although the kids are still getting their family ski time, just in a new way.
We are taking family walks on the beach in nearby towns for fresh air, playing in our yard, and watching family movies together. We are grateful for the opportunity to have this time with each other, even if it is not the way we originally planned.
Keri writes at Bonvoyagewithkids.com
Stuck in Transit During Quarantine
My name is Corritta, from It’s a Family Thing and our travel story is somewhat different. We are Americans stranded in America. That may sound strange, but let me explain.
After 2 years of paying off debt, cutting expenses, building travel points, saving, selling our possessions, and living in a hotel we finally had enough money to travel full-time.
After a lot of going back and forth, we decided January 24th would be the day. I turned in my resignation, packed our bags, and we set off to see the world. We were excited and anxious to begin our journey. Our route was somewhat set. I planned large gaps in our itinerary to give us the flexibility to go wherever our heart (and bank accounts) desired.
Our family gap year was supposed to start in Mexico, but we decided to visit family in Colorado Springs. We started our road trip, from San Diego to Colorado Spring on January 27th. After arriving in Colorado Springs, we decided to take a few short trips to Las Vegas and Canon City.
When we returned from Canon City, we realized Colorado Springs was on lockdown and we could not leave. Our first instinct was to panic because we have travel plans booked through October in Southeast Asia.
We reluctantly had to cancel our travel plans to Washington D.C, Philadelphia, Mexico City, Costa Rica, Cancun, and Guatemala. Luckily, we have gotten most of our money back. There are a few companies that will only provide vouchers, but we’re okay with that.
I still have hope we may be able to fly to Shanghai in August and continue on our journey through Asia. Until then we are enjoying quality family time; I was even able to talk my boss into letting me work remotely for an extended period (score!). Although our family gap year is not going as planned, we are still grateful for having our health and one another.
Corritta writes at itzafamilything.com
Waiting in Limbo During COVID-19
We are currently scheduled to sail on the Disney Wonder out of Vancouver to Alaska on June 8, 2020. This trip has been booked for over a year. I have planned every detail and strategically saved quite a bit using points and miles and Disney hacks. Even with all of this effort to save, this trip was quite expensive. We are going to see that mouse in her winter coat if it kills us.
On March 13, 2020, the Canadian government announced they will not allow cruise ships carrying more than 500 passengers to dock until at least July 1, 2020.
As of the time of this writing, we are in limbo. Our sailing is no longer available to book, but Disney still lists our cruise as confirmed. I do not know if they will cancel the cruise completely or reroute us. If they do reroute us, and it is not somewhere we want to go, I don’t know what our options will be.
Regardless of what happens with the cruise, since it is not going out of Vancouver, I will have to negotiate with airlines, hotels, rental car companies and shore excursion providers to work with us on canceling and/or rebooking for a later date. Since I used points and miles, several different credit cards and approximately 4,000,000 Disney gift cards in this booking, it will be a daunting task.
Overall, I am grateful my family is healthy. Our state is currently quarantined, so we are spending a ton of time together. If we all get out of this without going the way of The Shining, I will not hesitate to cruise and travel in the future.
Ariane writes at putonyourpartypants.com
Emotional Rollercoaster from Cancelled Plans
My husband and I had a big trip planned for Japan and South Korea on March 22nd. We were worried once we heard about COVID-19 affecting Japan and there was increasing coverage of the cruise ship docked in Japan.
Once the U.S. State Department changed South Korea to level 3, we canceled our trips. We were sad about it as this Asia trip had been postponed from the year before, and will be postponed yet again. We planned to go to Asia last year, but we got pregnant and had concerns about Zika in Asia.
Since our big Asia trip this year got postponed, we decided to do a family trip to California to visit some friends. We were planning to go to San Diego – check out the San Diego, Zoo, La Jolla Beach, Legoland. The kids were getting excited and then came the White House announcements declaring the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency.
We decided it would be best not to travel at all. We feel strongly that we must all do our part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions from canceling two trips, one – which we extensively planned, and even canceling our son’s 5th birthday party.
We know that the right thing to do is to stay home and quarantine for the sake of everyone. School is closed for a month, so we’re currently homeschooling, playing with toys and games, and truly spending time as a family. We are sad about the missed trips, but we feel lucky we’re healthy, safe, and together.
Julie writes at www.eatwellexploreoften.com
Virtual Tours During COVID-19
My name is Sarah Ciacci. I am an award-winning Professional Blue Badge Tourist Guide for London, an art historian specializing in art tours. I also do tours for families. As you can imagine there are no tourists in London right now and none for the foreseeable future. So, what to do?
Nurseries are closed, so I’m at home juggling admin with my 4 year-old. We are doing themed days (dinosaurs, Egyptians, magical animals…) which are feeding into my tours. I’m posting our activities on social media to help parents in the same position.
I started an art blog – looking at paintings in London Collections with little activities families can do at home – like a little virtual tour. I am also looking into doing online tours for people around the world. If you can’t come to London, I can bring London to you with Facetime, Whatsapp or Zoom?
We do virtual tours of the Tower of London, the medieval castle/prison with the Crown Jewels, Beefeater guards and the famous Ravens. We virtually take visitors to see the British Museum with ancient objects like the Rosetta Stone (the key to translating Egyptian hieroglyphs) and the famous Parthenon Marbles from Athens.
Or, if you want to make it a bigger event at home, then we offer 5-Day tours, a tour/day over 5 days, with different guides. For example- Day 1: Royal Westminster, Day 2: The City of London, Day 3: Westminster Abbey, Day 4: The Tower of London, Day 5: The British Museum/National Gallery. We’ll see all of this and still stay safe!
Sarah encourages travel through Tours For My Kids.
Exploring Local Lapland Instead of Across Europe
The coronavirus altered our travel plans as well. We had a big dream trip ahead: 5-months across Europe in our RV. Last year we had an amazing road trip to Norway while I was still pregnant with our second child, and another one here in Finland after she was born.
The upcoming Euro-trip would have included Germany, Switzerland, France, and Italy among other countries. We were eager to show the Alps and the Mediterranean to the kids. Obviously, we can’t proceed with this plan anymore.
As a plan B, we thought about visiting Norway again. Well, that might be possible later this year, but for now, both Finland and Norway have closed their borders. The fjords have to wait. At least we can admire our photos from last year.
Our current travel plan is local travel. Even though we are ‘stuck’ at home in Finland, the vast lands of Lapland give us plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors without meeting with other people. I’m sure we will add even more secret places to our Finland travel guide.
Hopefully, no stricter measures come into force, COVID-19 won’t stay around for too long and soon everyone can travel again and we can venture to the world as a family of four, too.