Keeping the Spring Travel Bug at Bay

It has now been a full year since #lockdowns against the novel #coronavirus went into effect worldwide, shutting down in-person gatherings such as concerts, conventions, school and sporting events. People canceled their trips due to travel restrictions, and most haven’t boarded a plane since.

A year later, the prospect of taking a pleasure trip has improved. With three COVID-19 vaccines being administered nationwide, many of the most vulnerable segments of the population are starting to get some protection against the disease. But we’re not out of the woods yet, and you may still want to hold off on planning that jaunt.

Spring fever, of course, is an affliction that worsens with the rising temperatures. You probably want to go out and do something — anything — that involves fresh air, sun, scenery and social interactions. For the next few months, however, the safest bet is to get creative while breaking the routine.

One safe way to shake up the routine is to take a “staycation,” Everyday Health says. Just set aside time to create your own spa experience, meditate or explore parts of your own hometown on foot. You can also try bring one of your dream destinations home for a night; if you can’t go to Italy, for example, make some fresh pasta and cue up a Fellini film.

If you absolutely must get out of town to preserve your sanity, consider taking a camping trip with the people in your family or “pod,” says the Washington Post. If you observe masking and social distancing rules with anyone unfamiliar, camping is one of the safest ways to enjoy the outdoors while avoiding the spread of the virus.

One thing the Organizing Blog advises doing in the spring is a thorough #cleaning and #decluttering. Throw open the windows and enjoy the fresh air as you scour; once you sort out extra stuff you don’t need and #donate it to ClothingDonations.org, your home will be much more livable.

One more way to keep the travel bug at bay is to plan your dream trip(s) for the future. Experts say that domestic travel could return to normal once most people are vaccinated, and that is currently targeted to happen by the start of summer. International travel may have to wait a while longer, depending on the destination.

When you decide to travel again, you’ll have that much more pent-up anticipation for your trip — and maybe enjoy it more thoroughly as a result. But wherever you go, stay safe: Wear a mask, wash your hands and observe social distancing. Travel is fantastic food for the soul, but you don’t want to gamble with your health.

Continue to Keep Hard Surfaces Clean

Keeping your home #clean is more important than ever during the #COVID-19 pandemic. While most infections are passed through shared airspace, Wired says, you may still be able to pick up the virus from a surface. Clean (removing dirt) and disinfect (killing germs) all frequently touched surfaces in your home — doorknobs, tables, kitchen and bathroom counters, faucet knobs, light switches, and remote controls. And do this daily if anyone has had contact with the outside world.

Holiday Fun for the Socially Distanced

It’s going to be a difficult holiday season for anyone who’s used to getting together with family and friends. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across America, many are choosing not to travel or to celebrate only with a handful of close contacts.

But that doesn’t mean that the fun has to end!

The most obvious way to celebrate is to fire up the phone, tablet or computer and have a videoconference with your loved ones. Yes, it can be disconcerting to keep your eyes on the screen for hours on end, but it’s a great way to keep in touch.

Add a #festive virtual background to your call, Good Housekeeping suggests, to keep the #holiday spirit alive. An added bonus? You can speak from a pretend winter wonderland, a professionally decorated drawing room or the set of your favorite Hallmark movie.

You can still engage in traditional holiday pastimes such as baking cookies, taking a drive to see the holiday light displays or sending letters to Santa without getting into too many strangers’ airspace, Postable says.

Another activity is to send the holiday cards you might not have had time to send last year. Even though this blog is going live with only 10 days until Christmas, nobody is going to complain if your greeting arrives a day or two late or send a New Year’s card instead.

Consider sending one of your cards to a local #veteran you know (or find one at a nearby chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Association or other organization). They are getting older and will need to stay isolated to protect their health this year, and a card might brighten their season.

If you find yourself beset with holiday #clutter after all of the virtual celebrations are over, consider bagging and boxing your unused and unwanted stuff and contacting ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. It will be resold to new households, and the proceeds will benefit veterans programs.

The Organizing Blog wishes you and yours a safe, happy, healthy and clutter-free holiday season!

Celebrate a Virtual Thanksgiving

If you find yourself stuck at home for Thanksgiving this year, consider doing your usual holiday activites remotely. You can share family recipes and prepare dishes together with far-flung friends and relatives via FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype, says a story in the Dallas Morning News, or host a virtual Happy Hour over the weekend. During the pandemic, it is safer to stay home and limit interpersonal contact — and skipping big gatherings this year will likely help things return to normal by this time next year. Happy Thanksgiving from ClothingDonations.org!

Cooking a Scaled-Back Thanksgiving Feast

If you’re cooking a feast for a small group (or just yourself) this year due to COVID-19, a turkey breast is a good way to get traditional flavors on your plate, says Simply Whisked. But there’s nothing saying that you can’t feast on pork chops or Cornish hens instead. Many people — especially vegetarians — may be looking forward to sides such as green bean casserole and mashed potatoes just as much as the main course. So pick a couple of favorites to make, along with a tasty dessert. And remember to give thanks!