Summertime is synonymous with taking trips, going on cruises, and indulging at all-inclusive exotic resorts. Yet, this summer there will be no (tourism) business as usual.
Regardless of its many disruptions, the coronavirus has reinvigorated enthusiasm for camping and road trips. I’ve definitely noticed that social distancing summer activities have been centered around the outdoors: picnics, drive-by grad parties, caravan baby showers, and backyard get-togethers.
You can make a summer escape, just think outside the box
For families used to traditional, resort-based summer trips, the news isn’t all bad. Perhaps this year is a good opportunity to break away from the usual and explore the wanderlust lifestyle. My social media feed is full of friends taking spontaneous weekend trips to the woods, camping along the ocean, and road-tripping all over the state.
In the age of social media, it’s easy to discover the exotic places hidden in your backyard thanks to influencers and bloggers. Hiking trails, local eateries, and natural wonders are great ways to get away and blow off steam from the stressful Spring months. Travel enthusiasts (and their expertise) are easy to find with geotags, and they often educate their audience on destinations that are budget-friendly.
It’s no secret that Instagram has a host of breathtaking photos that can quickly spur a spontaneous weekend road trip to local getaways. A simple hashtag search in your local area can instantly become an exciting travel itinerary. Thanks to social media, a culture has emerged around supporting local, unique travel destinations that might have been impossible to find a few decades ago.
Campsites are a great way ‘get away from it all’, including the large crowds
There are so many beautiful campsites all over the United States. Post up at the beach or escape to the woods. Do your morning stretches as the tide comes in or sip coffee in front of the lakeshore. Looking to blend your camping trek into a road trip? I found a great resource from REI offering ways to plan a road trip around U.S. national park destinations.
Most camping set-ups emphasize the outdoor living area just outside of the “front door”. From campervan awnings to portable barbecues, you can manage to bring many home comforts on the road. Many camp-friendly RVs also accommodate an active lifestyle, so you can bring your surfboard along or rack up the mountain bike to explore epic trails.
In the evening, gather the group for an outdoor movie night. The whole family would love to make s’mores on the campfire and use a portable projector to watch a blockbuster film together under the night sky. Ours is portable with a 3-hour battery life, so you won’t need to worry about a plug.
Glamping is safe and doesn’t compromise the luxury
Glamping stands for glamorous camping, and it integrates the comforts of home with the camping experience. It has become an entire branch of the travel industry, and there are even jobs centered around glamping event planning. From tents to repurposed buildings, the dwellings vary but luxury remains the common thread.
Glampers can get away from coronavirus with the best of both worlds--a reclusive experience in nature and something soft to sleep on. With the help of AirBnb, it’s even easier to experience glamping with the emergence of rentals designed around the experience in many places around the world.
Glamping in luxury campervans is a new trend on Pinterest. Tiny living influences have given way to sprinter vans equipped with all your travel needs packaged into a portable getaway vessel.
Living out of a van? It’s not what you think.
A friend of mine is self-employed, and hosts yoga retreats around the world in tropical places like Bali and Mexico. She and her husband travel often for her work, and they always find the neatest local spots wherever they go. They recently started a fun, DIY project converting a Mercedes sprinter van into a tiny living space. They even named the van, and its persona has grown super popular on her Instagram feed.
They take their van on spontaneous road trips to Big Sur and other beautiful, natural sites throughout California. Not only have they made incredible progress on their DIY tiny home (I am addicted to watching their project updates on Instagram), but they have still managed to maximize opportunities to travel safely during the lockdown.
Inspired by my friend’s resourceful approach to safe travel during the pandemic, I spent some time looking into the world of tiny van living. As it turns out, these tiny van homes are incredibly luxurious! It is super gratifying to watch time-lapse videos of the conversion from van into home. I love seeing the transformation from backseat storage to fully equipped living space with kitchen, entertainment, and bedroom all in a few square feet.
Rent a campervan and retreat to an oceanside campsite
There are a ton of websites like Outdoorsy.com where you can rent RVs and luxurious campervans with tiny living set-ups. Not surprisingly, the most popular states according to Business Insider are California and Florida, which just happen to also be beautiful travel destinations.
We all have those people in our family who are wary of being away from their screens, so a portable smart projector is a great way to accommodate them. It travels well watching during long drives for movies or binge-watching. It can double as a 2nd monitor if you need to get some work done out in the woods. And it can keep the kids entertained if you and spouse are desperate for some alone time. With the kids being home nonstop since March, I think every parent is ready for that.
You can still power all your gadgets even off the grid
Believe it or not, I was shocked to learn the power systems for tiny living vans are incredibly sophisticated! From several types of battery options to power inverters, these vans can accommodate electric and gas needs. The power system structure really depends on the appliances, user needs, and local weather in case heating or air conditioning is a must.
Power systems for travel-friendly vehicles can operate most of what you’d need at home. They allow living spaces to have a refrigerator, induction cooktop stove, heating/air conditioning, and microwave. They are powerful enough to charge your electronics and keep you connected when you’re off the grid.
We’ve even seen builders find a way to include a television, gaming consoles, and other gadgets you might want to bring on the road. For tight spaces, we will always opt for our WEMAX Portable Smart Projector over the hassle of a television monitor since it’s petite and serves many purposes.
Handling the caveats of #vanlife is part of the charm
You might be thinking: if I rent a campervan, how would I shower? If I don’t opt for an RV, how do I use the restroom if there isn’t a rest stop around? These are valid questions and important to explore. Folks who permanently live on the road are used to hearing them.
For showering without an RV, many travel bloggers suggest utilizing a combination of natural bodies of water and campground facilities. There are actually quite a few articles on this topic showcasing the best ways to practice hygiene. A simple Google search will produce blogs, influencer advice, and even government websites to help navigate the shower question. They will even tell you when you can or cannot use soap if you’re bathing in a lake or river so as not to disrupt the natural ecosystem.
When it comes to restroom part, everything I’ve read seems to say “you’ll work this one out”. I don’t mind enjoying the element of mystery here, without the graphic details.
No resorts or cruises for me this summer, but I’ll still manage to get away
I am giving serious consideration to planning a last-minute camping road trip with my family this summer. Okay, let’s be honest: the trip will definitely be considered more glamping than camping if I am the one planning it. I’ve never been the outdoorsy one in the family, so a fancy campervan feels like a great compromise.
With all the influence of tiny living comforts, portable gadgets, and a multitude of destination ideas, I am confident I can keep my whole family entertained and embrace the wanderlust lifestyle. At the bare minimum, I’ll be far away from large crowds, Covid-19 resort hot spots, and the 24-hour news cycle. I’ll be even more prepared to embrace the outdoors with a travel-friendly companion.