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As Coronavirus Complicates Travel, Snowbirds Weigh Return Options

Category: Travel

Update May 21, 2020 – Your editor just returned to CT from FL after agonizing about when and if to return. Part of the journey was by car (to Tallahassee) and the second part by air, which included a stopover in Charlotte). Car traffic in much of Florida is lighter than usual but with far more cars on the road than in April. In parts of FL along the Gulf Coast very few people wear masks, even in the supermarkets. In Miami the drivers are just as crazy and aggressive as ever, there are just fewer of them. The Tallahassee Airport was empty at 5:30 AM, and the Charlotte Airport jammed at 9:00 AM (see photos below). The planes were both full except for middle seats. We are glad to be up north again, our opinion is the situation is Florida is going to get crazy with everyone thinking the pandemic is over.

Charlotte Airport 9:00 AM
Tallahasee Airport 5:30 AM May 21, 2020

March 30, 2020 — The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc in just about every corner of our lives. Now it is presenting snowbirds with another dilemma – when and how to return from their warm winter escapes. Those with a lease ending on March 31 or April 30 have an even more difficult situation.

But the problem of when to return is just one decision to make. There is also the issue of how – drive, fly, or train. They might have existing reservations for both themselves and their vehicles – if those haven’t been cancelled yet. Let’s explore the issues via a few examples.

Barbara and Bill’s Florida lease expires tomorrow, March 31. As renters, their options are fewer. Their landlord informed them they must vacate. Short term rentals in the area are prohibited now, so there is no option for staying longer. They had planned on driving back to Maine, but worry that there won’t be any place to stop for gas, rest rooms, and overnight stays. Then there is the issue of roadblocks being set up in certain states (Rhode Island, Florida) to prohibit out of state visitors – will they be able to pass through and get home? Or will they just have to endure long lines of traffic? Flying is an option that seems better than it did before, since reports are that most planes are flying almost empty (as are the airports). But that leaves the problem of where to leave their car – finding a friend to store it or paying for long term parking. Decision: they will be driving back starting March 31 with relatives and friends hosting them on the way back.

Florida: Port Saint Lucie Rest Stop, April 1 at 1:00 p.m. Photo by Bill Carito

Harry and Karen were also renters who came up against the end of their lease. They had been renting a car, so getting back to Texas from Florida meant flying, which worked out OK late last week.

Tony and Barbara flew back to Chicago from Florida last week. Although they own their own place, they felt they needed to go back north since she has a medical condition and needs to be near better medical facilities. They also wanted to be near family. There were only 3 people on the plane back, but had to worry about how they would get home from the airport.

Jack and Bobbie, owners in Florida, were planning on flying back in early May with their car driven separately. The weather is nicer where they are now than it is in Connecticut, but eventually it will get too hot and get into the hurricane season. Just about everything is closed in both places, so there is no advantage there. Assuming the May plane reservations are not cancelled, the driver of their car might still cancel. So driving seems like the solution, although that comes with the worry about gas stations being open, or that New Jersey, New York, and other states might try to block their return. They are hoping that relatives along the way will put them up so they can avoid motels (which if open are reporting high vacancy rates). Wait and see, hard as that is, seems to be the answer.

Out west and in other parts of the country there are other groups of retirees who stay in private or state campgrounds. Many state facilities have closed, so the folks in those places are on their way back north. Private campgrounds and RV parks mostly remain open, although many of them have closed their pools and clubhouses to maintain social distancing. Those people have the option to stay put longer, since there are probably vacancies, but the longer they stay the more dicey the conditions are for their return home.

So what are your plans for returning home?

If you are a snowbird down south, what are you planning to do (or what did you do)? Are you going to stick it out, or head north as soon as you can? Did you change how you plan on returning home? If you drove or fly, what kind of conditions did you encounter? What are you worried about? Please share your experiences, plans, and concerns in the Comments section below.

For further reading:
Our Ideal Snowbird Pairings

Posted by Admin on March 30th, 2020

54 Comments »

  1. Nice to see this Blog this morning as it is exactly what we are going through. We planned on leaving our home in Florida and drive back to our cabin in Pennsylvania in time for Easter. But now that we will not be getting together with family members, it doesn’t matter so much when we leave, although we are making plans now since Florida may be the next hotspot. There are a lot of logistics to figure out without getting overwhelmed of getting from point A to point B. I noticed leaving Florida is not a problem -trying to get into the state is more of an issue. Gasbuddy.com was on the business news yesterday and reported no problem with gas stations-they will be open and so I added their app to my phone to reassure me where the gas stations are. I then went to the website of the hotel we normally stop and read all that they are committed to doing, and will waive any cancellation fees if we make a reservation but decide not to stop (Vacancy doesn’t appear to be a problem and cheaper rates than we we came down), but I will still take gloves and our Clorox wipes and our own blankets and pillows if we do decide to stay. I looked up the status of rest areas – which we do need- at interstaterestareas.com and found that along our route they are open for gas and bathrooms but all food courts are closed-. We plan on eating our meals out of our cooler anyway. It is only a 17 hour trip so we should be good. Then comes the problem of arriving and having to go the grocery store to stock up, but we’ll tackle that when we get there.

    by Jemmie — March 31, 2020

  2. Don’t travel stay isolated! We don’t want Florida virus spreaders in the north! Why don’t people listen to the medical community and their expertise! Self quarantine , go out inky when needed! Stay alive don’t spread this virus any farther

    by Ron — April 1, 2020

  3. Please, I only have a few words TO STAY WELL YOU NEED TO STAY PUT, OTHERWISE WE ALL SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES. I have been in the health field for 40 years and I know how this works.

    by tcardinale — April 1, 2020

  4. Lemons/Lemonade
    When/If this ends, there will be a glut of vacant properties available in Florida for new shoppers.

    by Peder — April 1, 2020

  5. I understand that some need to get home and I wish you well. Traveling from Florida to the north is not bringing the virus there it is already rampant. it is more like going from the frying pan into the fire. It is best to stay put if you can.

    by goldenage70 — April 1, 2020

  6. Ron, your empathy for those of us stuck in Florida is astounding. Bet you also like crying infants and barking dogs.

    We would prefer to stay where there is less virus than up north, almost the epicenter of the USA infections.
    We have concerns about hotels, but as long as there is gas and rest rooms, we can just drive through.

    by oxbowmann — April 1, 2020

  7. We had a winter rental in NC near the beach which ended March 28th, 2020. The owner would not extend our lease. We were to go back to NY the end of March and had started packing. We had been looking for a house to purchase nearby and had almost given up when a townhouse became available at the last minute. We bought it and are remaining here in NC until NY is safer and easier to travel to. We consider ourselves very fortunate that we don’t have to travel during this dangerous time.

    by Sandy Nancy — April 1, 2020

  8. Our issue isn’t a seasonal move: we bought a home in Virginia and had planned to drive across the country. With the current restrictions, we’d have to zig-zag across the nation and by the time we’re ready to go, the rules may change again. Now we don’t know if the movers will take our furniture, if we can drive or should fly. Personally, I’d rather stay where we are but we have a commitment. Ideas are welcome.

    by Marcia — April 1, 2020

  9. Sandy Nancy, May I ask where in N. Carolina you purchased?

    by LisaJ — April 1, 2020

  10. Staying in place at a safe and secure location in Tucson. Live in Alaska and hope to travel home in Alaska sometime towards the middle of May. Canada will allow Alaskan’s to travel through Canada back to Alaska. Need to show an Alaska drivers license along with Alaska tags on any vehicle . If travel is restricted, I plan to spend the summer in the mountains of Arizona or New Mexico. I pray that everyone stays safe and acts with wisdom.

    by John — April 2, 2020

  11. In California they are advising everyone to wear a mask when out doing necessary things. You can make a cotton one or use a bandana. Lot’s of information on how to make one online. It’s serious folks! Stay in…be safe!

    by lulubelle — April 2, 2020

  12. I’m one of the many kicked out of the New Mexico state parks. So have been dispersed camping on BLM land while waiting for it to warm up in northern MN. I really don’t want to return earlier than my usual end of April because the forecast through the 16th is still cold. 45°! Further complicated by the fact my driveway is too steep to park my RV so I have to use an RV storage lot. When I get home from winter I usually take the bus, but I don’t know if they will even be running. If I have to ride my bike the 9 miles back I want it warmer than 45°! To further complicate things I have to go back as my tenants have lost their jobs in this mess and informed me they are leaving when their lease is up at the end of May. So I need to be there to inspect for damage and return their deposit and get things like the water heater off and furnace turned low. Ironic that I had intended to sell the duplex this summer. No chance now.
    But, the worry for all of us is to how not to become one of the projected 250,000 dead.
    Which raises another thought for those if us on the road in RVs. If we did succumb to the virus what happens to our RV and all our belongings? You can’t expect a family member to leave quarantine to fly out and drive it home.
    All kinds of issues that this is raising!

    by Bob — April 2, 2020

  13. We very much appreciate this front line dispatch from Barbara and Bill, who left Florida for Maine on April 1. Here is what it is like on the “western” route up north: (see the photo of Port St. Lucie rest stop by Bill, which is now in the article above).

    Hi John —it changes everyday but….

    —Florida rest stops are open and clean, for restrooms , little store and gas only, attended by people with masks and gloves.

    —restrooms are open in big supermarkets like Publix and Winn Dixie

    —the stops at the top of the Keys and on The FL/GA line are well run and orderly, though creepy to view from the other side of the road

    —first night hotel was Hilton Garden Inn at the Savannah airport just off 95. More people than I would have thought given the lack of traffic on the roads. Take out options available from local restaurants but we opted for sandwiches from their store.

    —SC and NC. Very few personal vehicles just giant trucks. At the rest stop on 95 where we ate our pb&j sandwiches was 100% truckers and fleeing snowbirds.

    —Truckstops are very orderly. Places to wait to pay marked out. In the men’s room Bill hears two truckers saying they ALWAYS sanitize everything so this is nothing new.

    —VA —cars everywhere. Very sloppy at truckstops. Help yourself to hotdogs from the grill! Get it together, VA!

    —last night in Hilton Garden Inn in Winchester VA. We are going 81 to 84 to avoid NJ and NYC. More what I expected. Very few people but room service available. Chef tells Bill they served 3 meals that day total. Amazed they are still offering this.

    -every time we get out of the car we Clorox wipe door handles, steering wheel, gear shift, seat belt buckle, etc when we return. Wipe down all surfaces in hotel rooms, door handles, faucets, etc.

    —we’re doing 600 miles a day which is tiring. Don’t recommend without 2 drivers.

    —At the border of each state they should just post the agreed to cruise control setting for the left lane and right lane. Would save everyone a lot of aggravation.

    A note about Barbara and Bill, frequent contributors to Topretirements.com
    About Barbara Ross and Bill Carito
    Barbara Ross and Bill Carito are enjoying their second acts in Portland, Maine. Barbara is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries published by Kensington. You can visit her website at http://www.maineclambakemysteries.com. Bill is an iPhone photographer whose photographs have been shown in national exhibits. You can follow him on Instagram at at billcarito and bill.carito.colorphotos.

    PS – They arrived safely in Maine on Friday night. Hurrah!

    by Barbara and Bill — April 3, 2020

  14. Barbara and Bill-
    Great Update!! Keep us posted
    Safe travels!

    by Staci — April 4, 2020

  15. What is wrong with people? This is a pandemic!!! Stay hone and isolated until the threat passes!
    Stay hone don’t travel!!

    by Ron — April 4, 2020

  16. To each of you who have said ‘stay put, don’t travel’ well, you seem to miss the point. We, too, have a seasonal rental but we are opposite. We rent in a small town in the central Colorado Rockies; we’re avid skiers and will continue until we age out of our skiing life.

    Unfortunate or not, the unknown pandemic, when we skied for two weeks in Summit and Eagle counties, exposed us and 1000s of others to COVID-19 by simply doing what we thought was a really safe outdoor sport in the clean air Colorado. While we were there, that part of Colorado became the epicenter of the 1st cases in the state.

    We drove back to Salida and found out the seriousness of the outbreak. The Colorado Dept of Public Health requested that anyone who had been there for the last 6 days should self quarantine 14 days. On the same day, the governor closed all downhill ski hills. This was March 14th.

    At that point, we discussed w/our out of town owners if we could extend. We were good to stay in place but only until the end of April. Salida closed all restaurants, bars, inessential retail….and 10 days ago, hotels, Airbnb/VRBO.

    I absolutely love Salida and the outdoor life that this small town embraces. We would have stayed in place but we had no other options to rent at the end of April; our house was being rented by a couple who live 2 hours away and wanted to be closer to the Heart of the Rockies Medical Center for the birth of their baby. It was not like they were going to cancel the trip.

    The day Chafee County announced all commercial lodging rentals would be closed, we decided it was time to go and on March 28th, the last day of our quarantine, we left Colorado for the 3 day drive to Maryland.

    Yes, we could have stayed another 30 days but the unknowns made the decision.

    Our drive was uneventful. We drove two 650 mile days and the last was about 500 to home. I-70 was 90% commercial trucking except around the cities. We stayed in Lawrence KS and Huber Heights OH along the way. Both new Tru Hilton hotels had 3 rooms sold each night. Both said they would be closing w/in days. We had access to most rest stops and fuel was not a problem. We mostly ate food and snacks we had brought. We distanced, washed our hands, disinfected our car, hotels along the road.

    The day we got back to Maryland, the Gov Hogan (he’s a good one, managing this mess) announced the executive order to stay in place. Our fear of staying in Colorado was that interstate travel would be restricted in the future.

    We are safely home and in day 6 of this quarantine. We made the right decision for us.

    I think it will be months before this pandemic is done and a year, if not longer, before our World remotely resembles January 2020.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    by Imelda — April 5, 2020

  17. There is a portion of the population that is not going to stay isolated and locked up. Just look at the Spring breakers. They were out there on the beaches making out and partying hard just like in years past. Hell, I am pretty sure if I was still that age, I would not give up my Spring break to isolate myself. That is pure human reality: The good, the bad, and the ugly!

    by Bubbajog — April 5, 2020

  18. Peder, would you be willing to be our scout or realtor? We’re wanting to rent or buy in Florida next winter. I’m mostly looking for a place where I don’t have to wait in traffic to go to the beach. And not have worry about parking there either!

    by Caps — April 5, 2020

  19. The idea is that everyone should wait this out in their PRIMARY home.

    by Jan — April 6, 2020

  20. What is hard to understand? “Stay home” should mean that you remain in the home you are in at the present time if you are lucky enough to have multiple homes. That home is where you are living at the time the order was issued. Only travel for necessary things means do not take a pleasure drive to another home or state just because you can.Don’t compound the problems states are having.

    by NANCY ROSENBERG — April 8, 2020

  21. STAY WHERE YOU ARE! I live in a gated community in New England and about half of the townhouses are owned by snowbirds. We have had a stay at home order since mid-March. Now, all the snowbirds are returning and are out and about and the numbers of infected people is rising exponentially. People today are self centered and distrust the press. Some of us are enduring great pain and sacrificing seeing family and friends, but others are just doing as they please and it is not just the younger generations, it is the self centered baby boomers!

    by Maimi — April 9, 2020

  22. I do not think we need to label generations. For whatever reasons, people of all ages who do not adhere to the guidelines are risking their health or someone else’s if they turn out to be a carrier. This disease knows no generational age group. All are at risk. Last night here in Washington, DC new guidelines require that all are now required to wear a mask when going to the grocery store. I have been wearing gloves and a mask for over two weeks.

    People should not be travelling over state lines as they may be a carrier. This has been stated so many times. I am dismayed that churches in Louisiana and other places are deciding to temp fate while having Easter services and I hope they will not have to bear the possible negative consequences. As a medical professional, I cannot emphasize this enough.

    by Jennifer Lee — April 10, 2020

  23. We were part of the snowbird population weighing return options from Florida to our home in Ohio. Staying in Florida was not an option, it was more of a matter of when to make the trip. For various reason and with a mother in a Pennsylvania nursing home, it was important we were closer. Like Frank mentioned in his Blog – Dispatches: The Travails of a California SnowbirdI, we were in the “stay or go” mode and it too was driving us nuts. It was not an easy decision and of course stressful, but we planned and packed carefully and actually considered to do the 17-hour drive nonstop. Reading Barbara and Bills’s travelogue was very helpful and reassuring , and we became more pro-active about our trip.
    So with our cooler filled with 2-days worth of food, a tub of Clorox wipes, spray Lysol , hand sanitizer, and homemade face masks, we set out at 7:00 AM and drove 12 hours. We found the interstates traffic to be mainly trucks and the drive easy and uneventful. The rest areas were clean and empty, but there were no Service Centers on either interstate 95 or 77 where we could use the restrooms and get gas, so that made for extra stops. Georgia had unwelcoming, but to the point signs all along the way saying “Go Home, Stay Home”, and where we stopped in South Carolina was the only place where people didn’t have face masks, and we were stared at and commented on.; the state of North Carolina is not taking any hotel reservations except for essential workers, so we stayed at a nice but very empty hotel in Virginia, and as tired as we were we took the time to wipe down every bit of the room with Clorox wipes, twice. We got on our way early the next morning and were offered “to go breakfast bags” at the hotel desk, but declined. We only had 6 hours of driving time, which other than the intermittent rain storms, was a quiet and easy drive. We will of course stay quarantined but that will not be hard as there is no where to go and it is rainy and cold here!

    by Jemmie — April 13, 2020

  24. From Mike: Quick re: trip. Flew yesterday SNA to ATL to BDL airports deserted, flights had only 25 people on each. Plenty of room to be 6’ away and did wear a mask and gloves Just in case. No meals or drinks on board other than a snack pack and water. We figured (hope we are right) go now rather than maybe have to wait a couple months… and get back to home.

    Needless to say—really difficult time!!

    by Admin — April 14, 2020

  25. Can any snowbirds who have returned home by flying from FL or CA tell me what the airport did to check your health status or not at the departure and arrival airports? Thank you.

    by Sharon — April 15, 2020

  26. We moved a few comments about more general aspects of the coronavirus problem, including some great questions from Maimi to this Post:
    https://www.topretirements.com/blog/health-issues/covid-this-and-that-questions-and-comments-from-members.html/

    by Admin — April 16, 2020

  27. Staying in place at a safe and secure place in Tucson. Plan on heading home to Alaska towards the middle of May. Canada will allow residents of Alaska to travel through Canada straight back to Alaska. Plan to bypass the western coastal states heading north. Friends traveling now have found the border crossing very easy and fluid.

    by John — April 16, 2020

  28. I watched our county commission meeting via Facebook this week. They decided to send letters to part time residents asking them to consider not returning here for the time being and if they do to quarantine for two weeks.

    by Debra — April 17, 2020

  29. Debra,. (if you care to say) Where is “here”?

    by RichPB — April 17, 2020

  30. John, What is your destination city in AK ? I’m former Military stationed there back in the Sixties and was considering returning there this Summer, however, because of the current Covid-19 situation, I’m now considering 2021.

    by kidder57 — April 17, 2020

  31. Western North Carolina

    by Debra — April 18, 2020

  32. Debra, thanks. I think that’s reasonable to do and would like to see more intelligent leadership from local through state and to national levels. There is a way out of this turmoil, but not by constantly mixing the brew. My wife’s family is mostly in Ashe county. The virus was brought in up there.

    by RichPB — April 18, 2020

  33. Kidder57-I am traveling to the May-Su Valley about 70 miles north of Anchorage (Willow). I hope conditions will improve this summer so you can visit. The Alaska Hwy is in great shape. If you plan to fly, you probably can get a good deal on renting a motorhome to travel around the state. This seem like it’s turning out to be a disaster-tourism.

    by John — April 18, 2020

  34. Unless someone lives where the virus originated, it is always “brought in” from somewhere else. It was brought in to New York, New Orleans, Washington State, etc.,

    by Clyde — April 18, 2020

  35. Clyde, that’s true. I meant “brought in” in the sense that it was a “visitor” to the area and not a local who went elsewhere and contracted the virus bringing it home. IOW, the sense that Debra was describing that the local government hopes to limit. They are really asking for no more than what the stay at home policies are trying to implement.

    by RichPB — April 19, 2020

  36. Sorry but I have to chime in. Isn’t a local who contracts the virus elsewhere and brings it home a “visitor” to someplace?
    Not in my backyard!! Lol

    by Staci — April 20, 2020

  37. I don’t dispute that, Staci. The most recent case in Ashe County was a resident who went to work in Wilkes County and brought the virus back to Ashe.

    Now with partial re-opening, more are moving about, even state to state, putting more and more at risk. That movement probably includes snowbirds.

    I’ve seen almost no posts to TR blogs. I trust that that means people have nothing to say rather than increased infections.

    by RichPB — May 18, 2020

  38. I am wondering what people are finding now when they travel, the above comments are all from April, we will leave Florida in mid June rather than much earlier when we normally do. We can do the drive in two long days but it will include an overnight and many rest area stops and gas stations. Are they still pretty much empty and clean ? A hotel stay has us concerned but we don’t have a choice, although we will choose the one we have always stayed at. Anyone have any updates on if they are seeing more travelers out and mask wearing ? We have been told the traffic is noticeably different going through major cities and we are all for that so we can hurry home.

    by Darlene — May 19, 2020

  39. All,
    We are far from over from this deadly virus! Travel is NOT advised
    Stop the spread of this deadly virus! Wear masks! Follow medical advice regarding social distancing

    … States are dangerously allowing few restrictions opening up the potential for a second even more deadly wave of the Corona virus

    by Ron — May 20, 2020

  40. Darlene,
    We will be departing FL this Sunday for 15-16 hr drive to Maryland. If we get very tired, we will
    pull over somewhere and sleep in the car for a few hours. We considered taking the auto-train
    but other than saving some driving time, you are clustered with others maybe worse than in a hotel.
    Driving in your car and spending quick stops at gas stations spreads germs no more than roaming
    around Florida where masks are not a requirement in stores.
    Of course we will wear our masks and take our jar of wipes.
    When we get to Md Darlene I will post here our experience with gas and rest stops.

    by carol — May 20, 2020

  41. Need Masks everywhere. Love’s had the clean bathrooms, multiple stalls.
    Only food is takeout, no matter where.
    Bring hand sanitizer.
    Use hand sanitizer after pumping gas and before touching car handle or steering wheel.
    We stay at Day’s Inn, Flatlands, WV on trips from MO to NY. Clean and almost new.

    by M. Wood — May 21, 2020

  42. Your editor and wife returned to CT from FL on May 21. See update at beginning of this article – road and air traffic is returning to normal – even if the virus isn’t!

    by Admin — May 24, 2020

  43. Ok, need someone with crystal ball here…have airline credit that expires in October, think we would be crazy to try flying south then? Already cancelled tickets twice—once for premature grandchild, second time for the plague. Don’t want to lose the money, need vacation badly (don’t we all,) but don’t own hazmat suit for plane ride. Wait till last minute and see how it’s going? All opinions welcome.

    by Daryl — May 25, 2020

  44. Daryl, Worth risking all for maybe $1000. Not to me. Airlines blocking center seats is a token. At least must also block alternate rows just to start.

    We gave up several hundred in. Fees and deposits earlier this year for a planned vacation. At least you have time to see if the Memorial Day fiasco turns into a death March.

    by RichPB — May 26, 2020

  45. Daryl,

    I would not fly or stay in a hotel until there is a vaccine &/or herd immunity. And I don’t think that will happen by Oct. Just not worth it, imho. I guess that the airline will not let you put the trip on hold until all of this is over?

    by Fionna — May 26, 2020

  46. Thank you Rich and Fionna, think you are right. Would probably worry myself to death at each cough for the next 14 days anyway and ruin the vacation. Done fretting about this.

    by Daryl — May 26, 2020

  47. We drove 15 hours nonstop from FL to MD on Sunday. Sunday travel is often our drive date of choice
    because of less traffic. This being a Sunday in the middle of Memorial Day weekend the traffic was light and we had no backup or roadchecks crossing from one state into the next. The exception to this was
    as we approached the FL/GA line the traffic backup going into Fl was at least 7 miles long due to what looked like checking temps or something as people entered FL. We primarily stopped for gas at major
    places like Love’s and at those stops 1/2 the people wore masks at the pumps or in the store. Liked that Love’s has no door to pull open as you enter the bathroom area and the stalls were clean and the tap water hot. Once we just had to stop for gas at a smaller place in NC where absolutely no one wore masks (except us) and the bathrooms were filthy. State run rest stops were open with most travelers wearing masks. Hope this helps others starting their drive soon.

    Editor’s note: Thanks Carol for the great report. So interesting to learn of these experiences!

    by Carol — May 26, 2020

  48. Daryl, I was looking around on the internet and found a solution someone suggested worked for them. I am not saying this will work but it might! Again, I did not do this, this is a quote from someone else. Make sure you find out if this will work. It might be lame advice.

    Just book the cheapest 1-way fare you can find with the voucher, and you’ll get a new voucher generated for the remaining amount with a new 12-month time limit on it! I booked a $47 flight in the past (and didn’t take it) to save $800 of an $850 voucher generated with only a 3-month lifespan.

    by Louise — May 27, 2020

  49. Thanks, Louise. I will try that and see what happens. Southwest always gives you a year from the first booking, and the last two tries, my end date was still October 18, but it’s worth a try.

    by Daryl — May 27, 2020

  50. Thanks Carol for giving the feedback that you said you would- I appreciate it very much it is very helpful. We will of course wear masks and will have our Clorox wipes. I am glad you mentioned Love’s for gas and restroom if needed. A neighbor who already left to go north reported to stay clear of Pilot gas stations, they found the restrooms in South Carolina so filthy dirty didn’t use them they thought they could pick up another disease! So we will look for Love’s if we don’t come across Service Centers. By the way I am impressed you drove 15 hours and understand why you would. We didn’t consider driving on a Sunday, but you have a good thought and we are of course flexible on the day but will leave in mid-June.

    by Darlene — May 27, 2020

  51. Darlene, I forgot to mention as we drove by roadside hotels there were very few cars in the lot. I think that is a good thing if you have no choice but to stop overnight. And when I say we drove 15 hours nonstop 85% of it was done by my 73 yr old husband!! Safe travels.

    by carol — May 28, 2020

  52. We almost always start our travels on a Sunday – especially if we are going through Atlanta. Seems like a lighter traffic day.

    by Sandy Mueller — May 28, 2020

  53. Sandy M. – Yes, and sometimes hotels/motels have cheaper rates on Sunday nights since that’s usually a slower night.

    by Clyde — May 28, 2020

  54. Left for my home in Alaska from southern Arizona. Great trip through the mountain states with no problems. Crossed the Canadian border without any difficulty. The officials requested that we limit our contact with Canadians and stop only for gas and minor supplies. We were required to pass through Yukon in 24 hours if possible with no stops other than for gas. Canada is not open for any tourism until at least June 21st, if not later. The towns along the Alaskan Hwy are hurting for travelers.

    by John — May 29, 2020

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