Packing and Planning for a Social Distanced Vacation

Is anyone else starting to get the travel bug? We've taken day trips and family visits here and there over the past few months, but have been very cautious about our approach to traveling. At the end of the day, if my choices can help save lives, a cautious approach to outside of the home activities will always be my course of action.

But, we didn't want September to come and go without a little getaway. We tend to take our vacations in September because it's between our birthdays and our anniversary – 3 years this year! Pre-COVID we were planning an Ireland trip. Then up until about a month ago we were planning a trip to Maine. But at the end of the day, we didn't want to sacrifice our out-of-the-box/adventurous way of travel with the current state-to-state restrictions.

So, we settled on a Charleston trip. No big plans. Two amazing dinner reservations. Beachfront resort stay. A few days of relaxation. Sometimes the simple plans end up being the memorable ones anyway. But our upcoming trip got me thinking about how to pack and how to prep for a trip right now – no matter the scale of it.

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Trip Planning Essentials


I think now more than ever pre-planning a trip is essential. Between Lee and I, I'm the planner of the trips. Give me a destination and I will happily plan out every single logistical step of the trip. I like being prepared.

If you're going to a new-to-you destination, do your research ahead of time. This year has changed the landscape of the travel industry and now more than ever is the time to be prepared. A few things I rely on when planning trips:

  1. "My Maps" section of Google Maps – I use this little planning trick for every trip I go on. Inside Google Maps desktop version there's a tab called "Your Places". Inside here you can navigate to Maps and start pinning and creating locations on your map that you want to go. It's amazing to be walking through a city, whip out your map and find your pre-plotting places you want to visit or see.
  2. Instagram – With so many closures, adjusted hours, and policies don't rely on Google alone to see if that coffee shop you want to stop in is open. I use Instagram while planning trips to (a.) find unique places in specific locations – typically shops, coffee shops, and restaurants, but also (b.) to check hours/days/policies. Chances are, Instagram profiles will have the most updated info for those small, unique places.
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What to Pack for A Trip in 2020


It's no secret that if you're traveling in 2020 you're going to need to travel with a few more items than ever before. I have no idea what you would pack for kids, but for two adults this is what I'm planning on traveling with:

  1. 2020 Tote Bag Extras – Starting big and working small, I'm planning on packing and bringing along a safety-first tote bag. (I told you I'm a planner!) This will be our go-to bag for extra hand sanitizer, extra masks, and disinfectant wipes. If you're new to the tote bag world, the brand Rockflowerpaper has tons of cute tote bags that would be perfect for your "safety-first" kit.
  2. Multiple Masks – I think across the US a mask mandate is pretty much in place. It's about time. I haven't gone crazy buying masks, but I have three cloth ones now and a pack of one-time use disposable ones. These from Ugmonk are our favorites. They're so soft and very easy to breathe / talk through, but this one from Calpak is also so nice!
  3. Sanitizers/Wipes – I keep a mini bottle of sanitizer on my person at all time ( this one is my favorite for non-toxic formula) but disinfectant wipes for phones, steering wheels, door handles, and other surfaces are always in our car too.
  4. Your Own Food (if possible) – food (for us at least) is one of the best parts of a vacation. We absolutely love an amazing dining experience, a delicious lunch spot, and don't even get me started on coffee shops! But, the truth is, we haven't eaten in a restaurant since March. We have two dinner reservations in Charleston at places that are small, limited seating, with areas we feel comfortable dining in. But, we're also staying in a suite with a full kitchen. We're planning on bringing most of our breakfast and lunch food just to keep our dining out at a minimum.

Thank you to Nakturnal for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own.

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Emily Lewandowski @emilyjlewandowski