One of the questions we hear most often is “Where is it safe to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic?”
While the pandemic certainly poses a number of challenges and safety concerns when it comes to travel, there are still many destinations you can enjoy while limiting your risk. And in our opinion there is no greater place to be during a pandemic than the great outdoors!
And while the destination itself is an important factor, how you travel is just as important. That’s why we recommend small group travel as a great way to help limit your risk. Instead of being exposed to countless people during a multi-day trip, small group travel helps limit your exposure to just the people in your group. And you can further decrease your chances of exposure by traveling with your own close circle of family or friends. At The Clymb Adventures, we partner with experienced travel guides around the world that have designed small group trips with your safety in mind.
To help you decide where to travel during COVID, we’ve put together a list of our top picks for great outdoor destinations to travel to during COVID-19:
The most popular choice of where to travel during COVID is, of course, domestic trips. A roadtrip is arguably the easiest way to escape potentially crowded airports and still get the thrill of adventure. Take off in your own vehicle or rent a camper van and explore parts of the country you’ve never seen before. Avoid crowded cities, and instead use this time to explore the small towns and open landscapes that make up such an amazing part of this country. While you’re out there, here are some of the great spots we recommend across the U.S.:
- National Parks. What better time to explore mother nature than during a pandemic. Escape to the fresh air and open wilderness of some of the most beautiful spots the US has to offer. The great outdoors can also be the perfect way to avoid crowds. At The Clymb Adventures, we’ve done all the hard work of planning your next trip to a National Park for you. We’ve created amazing 4 to 5 day, professionally-guided escapes at some of the most diverse National Parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Death Valley.
- Moab, Utah — Find you next escape on two wheels by cycling the famous White Rim Trail. This classic four-day mountain bike tour is a must for any cyclist visiting Utah’s canyon country, offering a perfect combination of great riding and spectacular scenery. The White Rim Trail, located in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, is truly a special place. You’ll ride along the White Rim layer of sandstone with dramatic canyons below and majestic red rock cliffs above. The trail meanders through arches, towers, and other fantastic rock formations. Your guides will lead you on bike and on foot to explore the hidden treasures that the White Rim offers. Visit an ancient Indian dwelling or perhaps trek into a slot canyon disappearing into the desert sandstone.
- The San Juan Islands — What better way to flee the crowds than by hopping on a kayak and exploring Orca whale territory in the Pacific Northwest? After spending your day catching glimpses of bald eagles, osprey, California Sea Lions, and Harbor Seals, you’ll be treated to local craft beers from local Washington breweries. This Clymb Adventure for beginners and experienced kayakers alike, keeps you out of the hotels and away from packed campsites. Instead, you’ll have access to secluded boat-in campsites which are fully equipped with fire pits, picnic tables, running water, and outhouses for a comfortable experience. Here, your guides will prepare meals made with locally-sourced, organic foods, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, paired with great craft beer.
- Idaho’s Main Salmon River — Another great option of where to travel during COVID is Idaho’s Main Salmon River. Escape the city and retreat to the Main Salmon River on this five-day rafting trip. Disconnect from reality in the heart of the Salmon Challis National Forest in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The endless rugged mountains, extensive canyons, and pristine river waters will leave you wanting more! With its unspoiled waters, white sand beaches, and jagged mountain peaks, the Main Salmon River makes for the perfect summer getaway. The Main Salmon River is ideal for a family vacation with breathtaking scenery, safe but exciting rapids, and spectacular weather in the summer months.
- New Hampshire — While New Hampshire is also currently among the states with the lowest number of COVID-19 cases, we are really recommending this great state because of the beautiful White Mountains. Home to Mt. Washington, New England’s tallest mountain, the White Mountains are a perfect getaway for anyone looking to build the mountaineering skills. That’s why The Clymb has helped craft a two day trip for you to learn the essential fundamentals of alpine mountaineering, and then put your skills to the test by summiting Mount Washington
- Kauai, Hawaii- What if there was a hidden Hawaii, beyond the usual tiki torches, luau dinners, and Mai Tai’s, only seen by the truly adventurous? On this four-day adventure you’ll journey through the remote wilderness areas of the Waimea Canyon State Park, known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” An overnight backpacking trip is the perfect opportunity to escape the crowds and to experience the green-and-pink striated cliffs of Waimea Canyon like few others ever do. The remaining days will be spent cooling off in hidden swimming holes, camping beneath the Milky Way, and snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. With the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation, this trip is an excellent opportunity for those that have never backpacked or are interested in learning more about the activity.
Looking to travel internationally during COVID? While a trip to a different country right now can be a bit tricky, there are still a few destinations around the globe that are accepting U.S. travelers. Among other health safety precautions, we also recommend that you protect your wallet by booking trips with flexible departures. Flexible Departure trips give you the flexibility to book your vacation now but decide when you want to travel later, whether that’s next month or next year. Since the COVID-19 situation is changing so rapidly, these flexible departures are a great way to ensure that you don’t get stuck booking a trip you can’t actually use. Here is our short list of where to travel during covid outside of the US:
- Croatia — One of the only European countries accepting US citizens right now, Croatia offers exquisite waters, rich culture, and a multitude of outdoor recreation. Spend 8 days exploring Croatia’s Elaphiti Islands via land and sea. Less than an hour sailing time from Dubrovnik, this archipelago includes 13 lush islands with sandy and rocky beaches. Unspoiled by mass tourism, the islands are ideal for relaxation and outdoor recreation. In fact, many of the islands have no permanent inhabitants, and cars are not allowed on Kolocep and Lopud Islands, allowing for a truly peaceful experience with natural surroundings.
- Ecuador — On August 6, 2020 the U.S. Department of State removed the Global Health Advisory Level 4. While all travelers over 18 years of age arriving in Ecuador need to provide proof of a negative COVID PCR test, as long as the traveler does not present symptoms of COVID, the traveler does not need to perform mandatory preventive quarantine. So, if you’re healthy, it might be time for you to embark on a trekking adventure through some of South America’s most iconic terrain. We recommend quickly getting off the beaten path and trekking remote, unspoiled trails through the heart of the Ecuadorian highlands. With The Clymb Adventures, you’ll trek through the mighty Andes of Ecuador on an epic 8‑day adventure. Discover an incredible world of stunning mountain landscapes, massive volcanoes, hidden rural villages, and rich indigenous cultures. All of this beauty comes together to shape the famous Avenue of the Volcanoes in the Ecuadorian highlands. This trekking adventure will transport you into the heart of the Andean culture to experience the local way of living as you hike narrow, pristine trails used by the local mountain people.
- The Galapagos — If you’re already in Ecuador, you can’t miss your chance to see the Galapagos Islands. While it may only take hours to get there, you’ll quickly begin to feel you’ve been transported back in time as you become surrounded by the unspoiled flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands. The archipelago forms a natural sanctuary, preserving species and allowing them to evolve over countless millennia. Hike to the top of Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela Island and explore the circumference of the massive, lava-filled crater. Snorkel through lava formations with sea turtles, penguins, sea horses, and more at the Lava Tunnels, and bask on the pristine white sand beaches of Santa Cruz Island. This trip includes all accommodations, as well as professional guides and naturalists.
- Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania — As of June 2020, Tanzania is open to tourists from all countries. So, if you’re ready for one of the most epic mountain climbs in the world, look no further that Mt. Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest freestanding mountain. We recommend hiking along the Rongai routeto the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. As the only trek starting at the North side of the mountain, this unique approach moves through coniferous forest, offering mesmerizing views. While fairly challenging overall, the Rongai route provides a moderate acclimatization experience and remains friendly to beginners.
As always, we recommend you visit the local government websites where you plan to travel and review the required documentation for entry, current restrictions, and general recommendations for travel within the area. We encourage you to also visit your home country’s embassy website if you are traveling to a foreign country. Requirements can change rapidly. Please be sure you stay abreast of the requirements and restrictions for anywhere you plan to visit. You can also enroll in the U.S. government’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and you will be sent updates if the situation in your destination changes. You can find the program link at https://step.state.gov/.
Also, please be sure to take all necessary precautions to limit your exposure and the exposure of others. We highly recommend that you take precautions while you travel like wearing a face mask, thoroughly washing your hands regularly, disinfecting surfaces you touch, avoid touching your face, and bringing along personal hand sanitizer during your travel. We also recommend consulting with your health care provider before traveling.
Looking for more outdoor adventure tips? Check out The Clymb Stories Tips section!