The Complete Guide to Camping During Quarantine

Where better to find some social distance than in the middle of nowhere?

As long as the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, it's important to keep our distance from one another, but is it necessary to be stuck indoors?

With many of us quarantining in small homes with little access to the outside world, a lot of people are starting to get a little stir-crazy. But now that the weather is getting warm, is it possible there's a solution that can take the claustrophobia out of isolation? After all, there are no infected doorknobs in the mountains, and there's more than enough great outdoors for everyone to spread out and breathe in the fresh air without fear of contamination. But is it even possible to plan a camping trip during the lockdown? And what do you have to keep in mind?

Thankfully the answer to the first question is yes. It is possible to go camping right now, otherwise this would be a very short article. In fact, if you look at CDC guidelines, camping may be the only safe(ish) form of travel for the time being. So as long as you are not currently under a strict 14-day self-quarantine order due to symptoms or likely exposure to the novel coronavirus, you should be able to drive to an appropriate camp site and get away from the world. That said, there are a number of restrictions and challenges involved in camping right now. You can't just throw a tent and some sleeping bags into a car and hit the road. So expect to do some extra research, planning, and preparation—and be ready to get a little dirty.

campfire

For a start, many of the most popular camping destinations are closed. While it's still possible to visit certain national parks, for example, their facilities are mostly closed, and few of them are currently allowing any camping. Private campgrounds and RV parks in some parts of the country are considered "essential" and are still operating, but they usually involve tightly-grouped campsites and central facilities that don't really offer the best conditions for social distancing. So what are your options if you want to camp safely?

The short answer is: You're going to have to rough it. The easy options—that offer showers and toilets and a camp store on site—are either closed or at risk of becoming disease vectors, but there are "dispersed," "undeveloped," and "primitive" campsites scattered all over the country, as long as you're willing to get a little dirty, take everything you need with you—including a toilet (or at least a shovel to dig a hole).

The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service offer the most options, and many of their campsites are listed on resources like Campendium and iOverlander where users can leave reviews, photos, and descriptions that should help you figure out which sites suit your needs. Some of these sites may have a fire ring or a camping table, but others will just be a flat patch of ground, so do your research. And while you're at it, keep in mind that some locations may be inaccessible for normal vehicles, so be sure that you know if your car is up to the task, or if you need to carry all your supplies on your back.

BLM camping Wanderly Magazine

Many of these sites are empty most of the year, but with fewer options available (especially for people who live permanently in campervans and RVs), some of them are sure to start filling up. And since this kind of camping operates on a first-come-first-served basis, you may want to have a couple backup locations in mind—in the worst case scenario, the limits on where you can camp in a national forest are minimal. Depending on the site you choose, you may be all alone or have a hundred neighbors scattered at a safe distance—so be sure to bring some form of privacy when you're ready to put your camping toilet (or the hole you just dug) to good use. If you don't want to bother with a camping toilet and prefer to bring a shovel, be aware that it's illegal to dig in a National Forest, so you'll need to find a BLM site and dig your hole at least 200 feet from any paths or waterways.

Something else to keep in mind is the importance of minimizing supply runs. Do your best to bring everything you will need with you so that you won't need to make any trips to stores where you risk contracting or spreading the virus. Bring plenty of food and water, and check your inventory three times before you head out. Either get what you need delivered, or make one big shopping trip—with the requisite face mask and liberal use of hand sanitizer.

Camping bugs

If you manage to get through the stress of all the research, planning, and preparation, then you'll be ready to hit the road and do some relaxing away from the fear of the pandemic—with only bears, mosquitoes, rain, bees, tics, snakes, spiders, and the pungent smell of a latrine to keep you up at night. Ah, nature.

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Three Things to Consider When Planning Your Vacation

There are plenty of things to consider when planning your vacation. Make sure you have all your bases covered by the time you buy your plane ticket!

Going on vacation is wonderful after months of stress and work. There's just one last hurdle before hopping on that plane: planning.

There can be an overwhelming number of things to consider when planning your vacation (COVID-19 not least), but putting them in an itemized list helps. Here's a quick cheat-sheet for you to get a jump-start on that.

Vacation VacationUniversity of Kentucky

Remember Your Budget

If you make a budget, which you definitely should, stick to it. Don't spend more than what you can afford when you start vacationing. Vacations are meant to be relaxing, so saddling yourself with debt will only dampen the fun of your trip. How much are you spending on living accommodations, food, activities, travel? How much are you setting aside in emergency funds in case something happens?

Plan for the Length of the Trip

Are you going out of town for a few months, or do you only have a week off? How much time you have can affect where you can go and how much you can enjoy it. If you only have a week and a half for a trip, then it's best not to go somewhere that's a 16-hour flight away. Half the trip is going to be spent on planes, and the other half will be spent being jet-lagged.

Trip length can also affect how you have to deal with your home while you're away. If you're away for long periods of time, do you need to hire people to cut your grass? Do you need to hire house sitters or babysitters? There are even things to know if you need to board your dog. Keep all these in mind for extended vacations.

Consider the Weather

You never want to ruin your vacation by heading somewhere beautiful in its offseason. Depending on the time of year, most activities could be canceled due to weather restrictions. Some places are ideal for winter trips, and other destinations are made to be enjoyed during the summer heat. Plan accordingly, and don't show up in a swimsuit when it's 50 degrees outside.

That rounds up the basics, but there are plenty more things to consider when planning your vacation. Give yourself wiggle room if any unique considerations pop up in your planning process.

There has never been a better time to learn a language than right now. While we can't really travel, we can still get ready to explore the world and other cultures through film, music, and food. But the key to all of this is language. It can be hard getting started on your own and so we found the perfect solution: Rosetta Stone.

We've been loving hunkering down and digging into Rosetta Stone, a language learning app with many different languages, the best lessons, and an affordable subscription. It's flexible and made to work for you, no matter what level you're starting at. Jump back into French without dusting off your highschool books or pick up Mandarin with a clean slate.

Thinking about Rosetta Stone for your language lessons? Here are the answers to your most pressing questions:

What languages do they offer?

With Rosetta Stone, you can choose from 25 different languages including Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese. When you get the Unlimited Languages subscription you gain access to all 25 and can switch between languages. While you may be intensely learning German, you can take a break and pick up some conversational Korean — all in one app.

What are the features?

What makes Rosetta Stone's lessons really work are the incredible learning features.

Phrasebook will teach you short, useful expressions that are sure to come in handy during your travels, letting you see the practical application of what you're learning. Seek & Speak brings the fun back into learning by having you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and taking photos of them to get the translated name. Even in an app, Rosetta Stone turns any environment into a classroom.

TruAccent is a speech engine within the program that provides instant feedback on your pronunciation so you know if you're on the right track. You'll grow more confident about speaking aloud and it's like having an accent coach in the room with you.

How long does it take every day?

Rosetta Stone's lessons are bite-sized, so all you need is 5 -10 minutes a day to sneak in some practice and work towards your language goals. Of course, you can do more if you want but there's no regimented schedule or pressure to speed ahead.

How does it compare to in-person classes?

With the Rosetta Stone app, your learning is within your control and designed to move at your pace. The app will tailor to your particular interests, strengths, and weaknesses! Plus, with the recent explosion of online classes, most people have fallen away from in-person instruction anyway.

Rosetta Stone brings you expert teaching, fun engaging lessons, and a multitude of language options all on-the-go. Take your classes whenever and wherever works best for you, conveniently on the app.

Is it suitable for all levels?

Absolutely. When you first start, the app allows you to choose a study plan based on your experience level. So, if you're a beginner you can start from scratch and those with some proficiency can advance to where they're comfortable.

How much does it cost?

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month and grants access to all 25 languages, cheaper than Netflix. You get an education at a great value and the best part is no ads while you learn!

We look forward to our Rosetta Stone lessons and highly recommend it to anyone eager to learn a new language or even brush up on an old one. This program makes learning fun, practical, convenient, and most importantly affordable.

Say bonjour, to the go-to language learning app and have the world right at your fingertips!

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!

Like so many out there I haven't been traveling. With everything going on these days I've been staying home, which I love, but it does have me itching to travel. The international section of Netflix just isn't satisfying my travel bug like it used to (trust me, if it's been recommended I've watched it).

I was looking for another way I could travel without leaving home so I did the rounds of take-out food: Chinese, German, Italian, and Mexican. This was fun and tasty but a pricey way to explore the world.

A friend of mine suggested taking a prepping approach to travel and try Rosetta Stone: a language learning program that offers an annual plan with access to 24+ languages.

I've always wanted to learn a new language but have had trouble committing. I was a bit wary about starting Rosetta Stone but ultimately decided to give it a shot.

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month for 12 months (what a deal). While I was determined to learn Spanish in anticipation of my dream trip to Spain, this plan allows me to switch to any of the other 24+ languages.

I was excited to get started and use the app. I figured with all of the extra time I had until I could actually go on my trip, I'd aspire to be near fluent by the time it happened.

Jumping right in, I took a ton of lessons through their app and really binged the language. I loved the focus on conversational language, phrases, and vocabulary but after about a week I had burned myself out a bit.

I ended up pulling back and doing 10-minute lessons a day. This was manageable and easy to incorporate into my schedule whether it was by doing a lesson over my morning coffee or winding down right before bed. Learning in bite-sized amounts helped me digest the information and really process what I was being taught.

After a couple of weeks, I was getting really comfortable with Rosetta Stone and was actually enjoying the learning process… even though I wasn't a big fan of language when I was in school. What really set this experience apart for me was the Phrasebook and Seek & SpeakⓇ features.

Phrasebook teaches short, useful expressions that I know will come in handy on my trip. Seek & SpeakⓇ definitely brought the fun back into learning for me, as it has you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and take photos of them. Once you do this it gives you a translation of each item (I've never enjoyed looking for cucumbers in my fridge before).

Watching so many telenovelas I knew how important the accent is (in any language) but difficult without an in-person instructor. Rosetta Stone realizes that too and uses TruAccentⓇ. The speech engine within the program gave me instant feedback so I knew that my pronunciation was on the right track and it made me more comfortable speaking aloud.

Rosetta Stone turned out to be a great choice for me. Now I'm daydreaming about traveling and feel like when the time comes I'll be ready to. I'm so confident in my learning that I've branched out and have done some lessons in Italian and French! I'm thinking, after Spain… maybe Rome and Paris? My destinations list is endless now!

Honestly, with Rosetta Stone, I feel more inspired than ever to travel and all this inspiration is happening right in my home. I can't wait to take what I've learned on the road but until then the preparation is still incredibly fun and useful.

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!