Just when you thought it was safe to plan a family getaway, the world's health picture shifts once more. New covid-19 hot spots, travel restrictions and protocols threaten to undermine your planned adventure. That's why the concept of "trip stacking" is gaining popularity and may be your solution. Travelers are choosing to book their dream trip. But, they are also crafting a backup plan. It's an alternate yet appealing option in the event their first choice becomes untenable.
Here are five ideas to consider.
1. Dream trip: Cruise the Mediterranean
Oh, to cruise the Mediterranean. While pondering a trip about Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas, the kids have focused on the latest on-board amenities, including skydiving, virtual adventures, glow in the dark laser tag and bumper car showdowns. The adults imagine strolling the ancient pathways in Florence and sipping local wines on the Amalfi Coast.
Backup plan: Canoe in the Boundary Waters
But, should an international adventure become overwhelming, consider a canoe adventure on a scenic lake where social distancing is easy and the natural beauty is top-notch. Head to the Minnesota Boundary Waters and paddle amid a sparsely populated, one million-plus acre expanse of wilderness. Listen to the waves lapping against the shoreline and the haunting lullaby offered by local loons as you drift to sleep in one of 2,000 secluded campsites that dot the lake region. Wake to the sounds of birds chirping in the birch trees before setting out to explore more of the 1,500 miles of canoe routes that crisscross the waterways. End the day around the campfire, toasting with Italian wine.
2. Dream trip: Epic theme park
You've been saving to visit an iconic park like Disneyland in California or Universal Studios in Florida. The kids have yearned to explore Space Mountain and to experience Harry Potter's world of magic. But if this isn't the year to stand in long lines, nudge to the front for the street parade or to cozy up with other fans while waiting for the Hogwarts Express, then having a plan B makes sense.
Backup: Stunning national park
Consider exploring 45 miles within Maine's Acadia National Park via the rustic roads made possible by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. The historic, 16-foot-wide pathways were designed to enable the Rockefeller family to navigate the area on horseback or in horse-drawn carriages. Thus, none of the roads are too curvy or steep, making them ideal for today's family cyclists. History-laden, stone-faced bridges cross streams, waterfalls and roads. Bike or walk them, or take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
3. Dream trip: Discover French art and history
Your bucket-list trip to France would ideally include plenty of art and history. The Louvre and other important museums would be on the list. A D-Day-focused educational tour of the beaches of Normandy — including Omaha Beach and the Operation Overlord Museum as well as the American Cemetery where more than 10,000 white crosses dot the landscape — would be part of the plan.
Backup plan: American adventure history
But if crossing the pond must wait until a later date, consider dipping into history a little closer to home.
Discover some of the last remaining natural stretches of America's longest river — the Missouri — while on the lookout for wildlife and scenic vistas and contemplating the significant history of the area. How might this river have appeared to Lewis and Clark when they navigated their way along the Missouri more than 200 years ago? You'll learn about the plants, animals and landscapes described in the Lewis and Clark journals and find out how the river has changed course over the years.
The Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail extends from Ft. Randall Dam near Pickstown, S.D., to Sioux City, Iowa, mostly within the boundaries of the Missouri National Recreational River (MNRR), a National Park unit consisting of relatively free-flowing segments of the storied river.
4. Dream trip: Luxury Scottsdale resort
Checking in to an expansive luxury resort is a real treat, and a family stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is no exception. A Sonoran Desert gem, families love the chance to dig toes in the sand at the Sunset Beach pool or join the festivities at the Sonoran Splash pool where water slides, music, games and dive-in movies increase the fun factor.
Backup plan: Scottsdale house rental
However, this may be the year your family chooses to dial it down a notch by booking a house rental in a resort area you are eager to visit. You'll have more control over time spent in public spaces while still taking advantage of the outdoor options, including golf, hiking and star-gazing that a resort destination, like Scottsdale, provides.
5. Your dream trip
It's important to carefully consider all change and cancellation policies when planning your dream trip and a backup plan. Given the rapidly changing circumstances, your best option may be to give your dream trip the opportunity to unfold when it will be most enjoyed by all.
Your backup plan.
Sometimes the best backup plan is to stay in your home, sweet home until the time is right to travel.