The New Pandemic Flash Point: Your Vacation

Before the pandemic, Ms. Locke planned to fly to Seattle from Minnesota with her husband and children, but as the coronavirus spread across the United States, she decided that she would rent an R.V. and drive there. She soon realized that the cost of the R.V. would be prohibitive, and felt that some states between Minnesota and Washington weren’t taking the virus seriously enough. In the end, both sisters decided to stay home.

“Weighing all these contingencies made me wonder what I would be bringing to my parents even if I traveled as responsibly as possible,” the older Ms. Locke said. “There have been a lot of texts between us, and we both got so worked up and frustrated.”

Ms. Locke’s sister said that she didn’t take the prospect of traveling lightly and has been following guidance to not travel during the pandemic. Nonetheless, she felt that it was important that she see her aging parents sooner rather than later.

“At the time, I felt like ‘if we don’t go see our parents now, then when will we?’” the younger Ms. Locke said. “That’s been the gutting thing: Not knowing the answer to that. It feels like time is being stolen from us.”

Lindsay Chambers, a writer and editor who lives in Nashville, said that she has been surprised by the ways people are justifying going on vacation this year, including saying that they can’t pass up cheap flights and those who would not reschedule bachelor and bachelorette parties. Ms. Chambers said she has barely left her home since February, but she has been following local news and seen images of people gathering at bars and popular tourist spots in downtown Nashville. These tourists, she said, are not being considerate of others. She was stunned to learn that her own friends were going on a beach trip this summer.

“I had to stop myself from shouting at friends who told us they’d be ‘quarantining at the beach,’” she said. “Traveling to another state and staying in a rented condo in the middle of a raging pandemic is not how quarantine works. At all.”

Ms. Chambers, 41, also described being confounded and upset by how some people manage to make her feel, like she’s overreacting by following the recommendations from doctors on health and safety. Other people have also said they experienced this when they stay home while their friends and family interpret the rules more loosely.