TAMPA, Fla. - Any long-distance travel can become a headache even with good planning, but add in the unknowns of the coronavirus pandemic, and travel almost becomes a nightmare.
Donovan and Dana Santis were faced with this challenge when they received news that his mother had been diagnosed with leukemia. They simply had to see her, but she lives in Maine.
"How could we get there safely?" was Dana's first question. "We weren't just trying to take a family trip like a vacation."
The Santis family considered all of the options. Air travel would mean airports and airplanes with mask-wearing and potential connecting flights. It would also mean a hotel stay somewhere and then dining on top of it all. There were just too many variables and unknowns.
So they settled on a different option: A recreation vehicle.
"An RV seemed like we were self-contained," Dana explained.
The RV represented a means of travel, lodging, and dining where they wouldn't have to wear masks or deal with crowds of people. They planned the trip around campsites and prepared their menus in advance so that cooking in the RV kitchen was just like making meals at home.
And the bonus of the RV was that once they arrived in Maine, they already had a place to stay without adding a burden to the family.
But if the task of driving a large vehicle is a bit scary, Donovan Santis said, "It literally drove like a car, a very, very big car."
Both of them described is as very comfortable as they traveled 450 to 500 miles a day on the 1,500-mile one-way trip.
"I almost forgot that we were in a pandemic," said Dana. "It almost felt like you were in your own world again, where everything was normal once more."