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  • Writer's pictureLara Draxler

Planning a "COVID proof" road trip

If you had asked me a year ago where I would go on a summer road trip this year, I would not have said IOWA. LOL!!! But, we are headed there in about 3 weeks and I couldn't be more excited.

A little backstory...

We had booked a couples' trip to Chicago in March that got postponed due to the pandemic. We had used Groupon to book a boutique hotel for that stay. We got a refund (cash) from that very easily when all the craziness started. We discussed pushing the trip forward to August. We changed the flights and re-booked the Groupon hotel. Then, COVID started re-surging and we realized we were not comfortable with the idea of going to Chicago at all this August. We know wherever we go things will be different, and we plan to prepare for masks, lots of hand washing, and take out. However, my hubby and I just felt so much more comfortable taking our family to a more rural place than a huge metro area. This also seemed like a place we could be a little more flexible exploring. We don't have to plan things so far in advance and can be more spontaneous, and safe.

We also had some changes in our custody schedule this summer due to COVID. We thought it would be better to plan a family road trip than a couples' trip since we would all be together. When we cancelled the Groupon hotel booking the second time, we didn't get a cash refund but a Groupon voucher. We started looking at other hotels and destinations that would be good for a family weekend road trip. We decided we would use our flight vouchers from the Chicago trip to book a flight to TN for the holidays. We did have a bit of change fees for the change of airports and flights, but it still worked out to be cheaper than buying two new tickets to TN.

And then the search began for our NEW DESTINATION! How did we end up with Dubuque, Iowa? When we got our Groupon refund, we had a substantial amount of credits to use. We knew if we went to a less metropolitan area, we would get more bang for our bucks. We started researching and saw this ADORABLE boutique hotel in Dubuque offering great deals. We looked into it and the drive is only four hours, perfect for a weekend road trip. The hotel is called Hotel Julien and we got a HUGE room (sleeping all 5 of us) for two nights and we STILL have Groupon bucks left! The hotel seems to be in a central downtown area close to places to eat and explore.

Also, they have such a gorgeous indoor pool! Can't wait to swim in it.

Once we had booked accommodations, we saw that this is a SUPER fun river town with lots to do! You can check out their tourism website here, but I am most excited about...btw this is one of the best local tourism websites I have ever seen.

  • Field of Dreams site-YUP that Field of Dreams..Kevin Costner. You can go check out where the Academy award winning film was made!

  • Have I ever mentioned how much I love aquariums? Well, Dubuque HAS ONE! A river museum and aquarium will be fun for all of us.

  • Our family is huge into baking. Can't wait to visit this adorable bakery-Candle Ready Cakes-and get a treat.

  • I also really enjoy myself a good cave tour. Hoping we can go check out Crystal Lake Caves.

  • ALRIGHT what we ARE ALL ABOUT-THE FOOD!!!!-I loved this link on the website because it gave a list of top foodie spots in the city and was good for couples AND families. I can't wait to try ALL OF IT. I also enjoy finding local coffee shops while I am visiting a place and Dubuque seems to have an abundance of darling ones. The also have a seemingly great wine culture which my husband I also love.

All in all, I couldn't be more thrilled about this upcoming road trip. I can't wait to do an actual report when we go the first weekend of August. I am excited to explore a totally new place and state. Again, travel right now is different but not impossible. We just have to re-frame our perspective and be flexible.

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