Summer Vacation in the Pandemic Era

Summer Vacation in the Pandemic EraAre you having a good summer break? Our son’s school year wrapped up about a month ago and everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief. Homeschooling was hell at first, but we adjusted and survived 3rd grade. Summer is going relatively well so far. However, this summer is completely different due to the pandemic. Most of the activities we used to do aren’t available this year. The pools, rec cens, museums, libraries, farmer markets, free concerts and summer camps are all closed. Luckily, we can still enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking. We visited several state parks nearby and enjoyed exploring them. However, I’m hankering for a real summer vacation.

Canceled Thailand Trip

I wanted to visit my parents in Thailand this summer, but that plan got scuttled by the COVID outbreak. Thailand banned all international passenger flights in April. The airport just opened in July, but regular tourists still can’t get in. They are only open for Thai nationals, foreigners with work visas, students, and a few other categories.

I could still go, but RB40Jr can’t. His passport expired earlier this year and we didn’t get a new one in time before the passport office shut down. The central passport processing office is open now, but they are prioritizing critical cases. For non-essential travelers, it will take several months to process a new passport. Also, you have to apply in person for a kid’s passport. Our county passport office is still closed, but the neighboring county is open. We’ll go in next week to apply.

Anyway, I doubt RB40Jr will get his passport before September. So our trip to Thailand was canceled. Luckily, I didn’t book anything and didn’t have to deal with the hassle of refunds.

California Road Trip

Our backup plan was to take a 2-week road trip to California. We wanted to visit my brother, my wife’s parents, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Lassen National Park. Unfortunately, COVID is surging in California now. At first, we canceled the southern California leg of this road trip. The worst of the surge is in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. However, new case counts are rising around the Bay Area, too. A few days ago, we finally decided we won’t go. California is a hot zone and we want to avoid the risk.

CA covid

I was crushed. I was looking forward to seeing families and taking Mrs. RB40 to those national parks. She grew up in southern California but never been there. Also, it’s been over 4 months of mostly staying at home. I need a summer vacation.

Oregon Road Trip

Fortunately, Oregon is doing okay so far. Our case count is rising too, but not as fast as most states. I think it’s still okay to take a short road trip to Eastern Oregon. We’ll visit the John Day National Monument, hike, and dig for some fossils. These are all outdoor activities so I think it’ll be pretty safe.

The Painted Hills

I’ve been meaning to visit the Painted Hills for years. This area is out of the way so you have to dedicate a few days for them. This road trip should be a lot of fun. It’ll be great to get out of town. That area has no cell service so we’ll be offline for a few days.

Uncertain time

2020 is full of uncertainties. You have to be flexible when there is a crisis in the background. I’m disappointed that we couldn’t go to Thailand or California, but I moved on. We’ll take a short road trip and be thankful we can do that much. After this road trip, we’ll hunker down in town to wait for school to start.

Oh, talking about school. We just found out they’ll split the kids into two groups when school opens up. Group A will go to school on Monday and Tuesday. They’ll clean on Wednesday. Then group B goes to school on Thursday and Friday. I guess that’s better than homeschooling 5 days/week. Even with half the kids, will they be safe? Kids are terrible at social distancing. They’ll have to learn to stay apart. The schools can’t even control lice, can they control COVID? We’ll have to see how it goes in September.

Are taking a summer vacation this year? Where are you going?

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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