People are worried about vacationing this year. For those of us over 60 years old, we’ve been warned to stay away from cruises, international travel, most airplane flights, and crowds. Other than staying at home for months, it turns out that camping may be a great way to enjoy travel while still keeping risks low.

While traveling on a plane or cruise ship means potential exposure to viruses from other travelers, driving in a car, truck, or RV just means exposure with your normal companions. You may want to use gloves or wash your hands after pumping gas, but otherwise traveling this way should be safe this summer.

You can still safely enjoy the outdoors this year.

You might be exposed to viruses while staying in a hotel or a cruise ship but sleeping in your own RV or camper reduces the chances of picking up a “bug.” The advisory says to stay home, and for many of us staying in our RV is “home.” Using your own bathroom is safest, but just washing your hands thoroughly after using a public bathroom should be fine.

Eating at “home” in your RV might be safest and is quite enjoyable. Plus, it is perfectly safe to enjoy an evening by the fire with your family.

The biggest issue with traveling will be your stops.

If you want to take the chance, this may be a good summer to go to some of the busiest national parks. With travel restrictions for foreign tourists, attendance may be lower.

However, at this point no one really knows how attendance will be affected. You still should attempt social distancing when visiting the busiest sections of the parks (like Old Faithful or busy hiking trails). The rule is to stay 6 feet away from other groups. This could be difficult in these busy spots.

This is the year to visit the less populated parks. State parks or Corps of Engineers parks normally don’t have crowds out on the trails. Most campgrounds have some distance between campsites. You may want to pay for your reservation online. This reduces the amount of time in the park office and the handling of credit cards and money.

Enjoying peace and quiet on a canoe on the Mississippi River.

For probably the least chance of exposure to a virus, try dry camping out on BLM land and other such campsites. Many times you can’t even see the next camper. Frankly, spending a few days completely away from it all is wonderful.

The biggest benefit of camping this summer may be to your health. Camping means being outdoors. Hiking, biking, and kayaking can keep you healthy without exposure to crowds. Being outside reduces your stress level, which can be VERY important this year. Breathing clean air in our parks reduces multiple health risks like respiratory diseases. Staying home and worrying isn’t good for your mental health!

No matter what you decide to do this year, it doesn’t help to worry. Enjoy your spring and summer with a walk outside and breathe!