Summer Essentials—In the Midst of a Pandemic

Memorial Day Weekend brings the socially recognized start to the summer holiday here in the United States. And while things are certainly a little bit different than last year’s Memorial Day Weekend, I think there’s still ample opportunity to get excited over the most adventurous and relaxing season of the year.

Whether you’re planning outdoor hiking trips or resort-style vacations close to home, one of the most important things we can do right now with regards to summer fun is focus on preparation. I know that with everything that’s happened in the last couple of months it can seem like preparation might be all for naught if an unforeseen flare-up happens to come our way. Or it might seem impossible to even know where to begin to ensure both safety and fun during our summer escapades. But rest assured that gathering what resources you can to stay as alert as you can will prove to be the best course of action.

The Place

Destination is key for many when deciding where to spend a summer holiday. While it’s great that the possibility of traveling again is slowly starting to become a reality, most of our summer vacations are probably going to take place in destinations closer to home. It’s just safer to venture out slowly while there’s no definite answer to how long our situation is going to last—of course, I mean the virus.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t still plenty of options for you. Consider doing some research on a city in your state or territory that you’ve never been to be before. Or find a place near by that has several hiking trails and maybe a wooded park or camp area. Bring a tent or stay at a vetted bed and breakfast. A simple vacation has a lot of potential to be a great one. And it’ll probably be more relaxing than a bustling city in a foreign country anyway.

The Plan

I love spontaneous travel. I like the idea of not really having any expectations or schedules for a new place when I get there. Despite this, now is a very difficult time to be spontaneous. Because many places are still under some sort of lockdown or slowly coming out of one, it’s extremely important to not only know where you want to go, but to also recognize the safety measures that are taking place in that location. Plan out where you’re going to stay, what restaurants are open for you to eat in, the rules and regulations for visiting museums and parks. You’re going to need to take that extra time in planning out a more detailed itinerary, but it’s better than not being able to enjoy your vacation because you didn’t realize that all of the places you want to visit are still closed.

The People

I’m talking about the people you’re going to be traveling with, as well as yourself. If you’re traveling in a group, you need to be on the same page with regards to safety and traveling. The last thing you want is to spread an unwanted disease amongst yourselves and then possible to the people waiting for you when you return home. It’s also important to talk about comfort level with the people you may be traveling with—how far are you willing to travel, what safety equipment are you going to bring, should people in the group interact with people who aren’t in the group? It’s not worth it to travel if you and your friends and family are just going to be filled with worry the entire time you’re out and about.

Keep It Clean

We can’t write a post about summer adventures in the middle of a pandemic without addressing the fact that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Which means safety always comes first. Wear those masks, wash your hands, stay away from people you aren’t quarantining with. It may seem like second nature to you now, but because summer is a time to let loose, it can be easy to forget about that pesky little virus. It still exists. So stay safe.

Staying In

I know we’ve been talking a lot about safe traveling in this post, but you don’t have to travel to have a fun-filled summer. Cook up a summer vibe with a virtual vacation to the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland or the Great Wall of China. Virtual vacations are plentiful right now—just a quick google search and you’re there. Google’s Arts & Culture feature is also a great resource for taking you out of your current environment and transporting you to an ornate theatre or a European museum.

A collection of movies and books is also essential for making the most out of this summer. I’ve spent my fair share of time scrolling through Netflix or Hulu looking for a good movie to watch. For books, if I don’t have anything particular in mind, I like to have a search through Goodreads. I’ll start with a book or a genre that I know I like then follow the rabbit hole of suggestions from there. After you find a book that looks interesting, you can usually get enough information from the summary and comments to figure out whether or not you’d like to read it—usually without any spoilers! If you guys are interested in reading about my movie and book favorites for this summer, leave me a comment below because I’d love to share some more in-depth thoughts with you!

Of course, there’s always cooking and baking and other kitchen/food-based activities. I’ve yet to really get into this since the pandemic started, although I’ve been eyeing a couple of summer dishes to try within the coming month!

Summer Swag (not to be confused with the namesake post from the summer of 2019)

Obviously we can’t go on any summer adventures—in or outside of our homes—without first making sure we’re decked out with all the best summer gear. I’m talking sunglasses, swimsuits, sandals, and more!

Summer Essentials.1

These are my picks for summer sunglasses. Not because they’re particularly trendy right now, but because I’m a sucker for aviator sunglasses. And that rose gold color never goes out of style, let’s be honest. You can get these from Target for just $15.00.

For swimsuits, I’ve picked out both a one-piece and a two-piece suit that I think will be the talk of FaceTime vacation for years to come. This first one is the River Island one shoulder swimsuit from ASOS. The stripes are a simple print, but the one shoulder and single knot tie in the middle definitely add a bold flair to any beach or poolside sitting. Right now it’s available for just $22.50.

Summer Essentials.2

My two-piece pick is the Floral Ruched High Waisted Bikini Swuimsuit from SHEIN. This $14.00 suit is available in the forest green color pictured below, as well as a burnt orange and a bright red. I love the combination of a solid-colored bottom paired with the floral print top. It’s definitely a piece that screams summer.

Summer Essentials.3

Last but not least, sandals! I think these Baise Camel Flat Sandals from Lulus are a simply stylish choice. I picked a pair that had a little bit of texture as I thought it added to the appeal, but was still a neutral enough color that it’ll go with just about any outfit. These are available on the Lulus site for just $19.00.

Summer Essentials.4

As we find a way to loosen the reins on travel and movement in these next couple of months, I do want to stress that I am in no way discouraging traveling. The global economy has already taken a massive hit from the total lack of tourism, so if a shorter and even closer trip is a possibility for you, go for it. I am, however, encouraging safety. Make sure that non-essential travel is something you are comfortable with. And if it is, then please take into careful consideration where you want to go and who you want to go with. It’s all a part of the small steps we need to take to find our way back to a familiar sense of normal. And I know it’ll be all worth it when we finally get there.

* * *

What are your summer essentials this year? Masks, gloves, six-foot distance markers? I kid, I kid. But seriously, as places are starting to slowly open back up for the summer, consider these safety and stylish items in order to be the most prepared for this popular season.

NOTE: This post was originally intended for publication on Sunday, 24 May.


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