The Great American Eclipse of 2017 seemed like a once in a lifetime experience for many excited sky-watchers, and normally it would be. Total solar eclipses are rare and require a special alignment of the earth, moon, and sun to achieve. It can sometimes take hundreds of years between eclipses, especially for an eclipse you can see in your part of the world. The 2017 eclipse was the clearest and most accessible view of a total solar eclipse (not to mention the blue blood moon) that anyone has seen in their lifetime. But that seems to only be the beginning of the celestial show.
Apparently, our solar system is in the ideal configuration for American eclipses because another beautiful opportunity will be rolling around on October 14, 2023. This time, the SouthWest will be the center of the show with the ideal viewing spots spread over Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Oregon. Whether you witnessed the wonder of the 2017 eclipse or are looking forward to your first real chance to see the eclipse up-close and in-person, it’s never too early to start planning for your trip.
As anyone who got into place for the 2017 eclipse will recall, viewing sights were packed to the gills with people. Hotels and Airbnbs were booked up for miles around and there wasn’t an open patch of grass for camping in sight. Even plane tickets to nearby city airports became 20% more expensive due to the high demand and many people wound up sleeping in their cars in grocery store parking lots and empty fields simply because that was the only option.
Not to mention the struggle to find safe eclipse viewing glasses. Every store from coast to coast sold out of eclipse glasses. Online stores with warehouses overseas ran out. Official government sources trying to keep everyone safe ran out. Eventually, people were being tricked into massively over-paying for cheap and even counterfeit eclipse glasses in an attempt to join the incredible and rare experience.
Even if you live close to the ideal viewing path, planning far in advance is your best bet for making sure your eclipse viewing experience is complete and enjoyable with safe solar eclipse glasses, a cozy place to park, and somewhere to sleep nearby. We’ve put together a handy checklist to help you get ready for the 2023 eclipse with a great spot and high-quality solar eclipse glasses.
The first step is to study where will be best to view the eclipse. The 2017 eclipse was great because it spanned the center of our country, allowing everyone to mostly drive some hours north or south to get into the viewing band. The 2023 eclipse, however, favors a western strip of states which is great for south-westerners but may require more travel for everyone else.
All of the major cities in New Mexico are inside the band including Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Roswell for the alien-enthusiasts. Of course, the city most likely to be packed with vacationers and one of the only ideal beachside viewing sites is Corpus Christi. Of course, you’re more likely to find a spot and a little room to spread out if you choose some middle-of-nowhere spot with a little town nearby. And if there’s anything this southwest eclipse path includes, it’s big empty stretches of land.
Your ideal viewing spot will depend on your starting location long with how and where you want to camp. The most important thing to remember is that almost every inch of the central eclipse band will be packed, no matter how empty it usually is. Cities and towns will be the most crowded, but you can expect people to go driving into fields and out into the desert to find a good spot as well. Unless you want to make a glitzy vacation out of your eclipse trip, we highly advise you pick a small town to become your base of operations and scout out a field or parking lot to be your destination viewing spot.
All you need is an open view of the sky to enjoy your eclipse, and the rest of your plans will hinge on knowing where you’re going. If you make a road trip of it or rent a car after your flight, you can even rove around to find the right spot a few hours before the eclipse. Just remember to expect crowds.
Do not count on there being any available lodgings for hundreds of miles surrounding the central eclipse band or even in the outer band. Not only will every hotel and Airbnb listing be fully booked up around the big day, but you probably also won’t be able to find a patch of grass to pitch a camping tent on for miles around any settled town. Much less in official campgrounds. Booking your lodgings months in advance, if not over a year, is the best way to make sure that you have a place to stay near your viewing location. If you book late, you’ll have to settle for somewhere further away or even wind up sleeping in your car as many people did during the 2017 eclipse.
Both hotels and Airbnb listings will fly ‘off the shelves’ as the eclipses approach and, have no doubt, prices will skyrocket as hosts realize the power of supply and demand. In order to secure comfortable lodgings at a reasonable price, book as early as possible and resolve to make a real vacation out of the trip.
If the 2023 eclipse band is far from your home, you may want to book a plane instead of taking a road trip and you can bet these prices are going to jump into astronomical ranges as well. Book early before the airlines realize what they have going and enjoy all the rewards of early plane booking. You will likely be able to pick your favorite seat on the plan, select your in-flight meal ahead of time, and maybe decide to splurge on a few little extras. Don’t forget to book your rental car reservation on the other side as well, as these are also likely to become unavailable closer to the date.
Then It’s time to think about car logistics. Chances are that you’ll be driving to your viewing spot and gathering with hundreds of other people to look at the sky. However, getting a good parking place and waiting for the eclipse will take some dedication and arriving quite early. We highly suggest you plan for a little comfy car-camping for several hours during eclipse day. Don’t forget to pack a cooler, some blankets and pillows for backseat lounging, and perhaps a few folding chairs to chill outside. Some people will be driving up with their RVs and recreational fifth wheels which automatically brings all the comforts of home, but clever packing can achieve many of the same enjoyments.
No doubt, the most popular eclipse viewers will be the ones who bring a foldable grill, turning the entire viewing party into a tailgate barbecue.
One of the biggest challenges involved in the 2017 eclipse was finding high-quality solar eclipse glasses. There were millions of cheap plastic and cellophane glasses floating around along with a bizarre mix of welding helmets, steampunk goggles, and people holding up panels of shaded glass in order to see the eclipse. The cardboard options, in particular, were problematic because many of them were easily damaged and many were even counterfeit, fakes that were not as safe and well-shaded as the manufacturers claimed. Many people got eye injuries with eclipse glasses they thought were safe and many more simply looked goofy in disposable or make-shift solar glasses.
Ideally, you can find a pair with sturdy plastic frames, wide-set lenses for safe viewing, and lenses that are undeniably dark enough for safety. Your best bet is Shade 14 welding lenses in normal sunglasses frames, something we can help you find and secure many months before the next eclipse. Even better? They’ll definitely last between 2023 and 2024 meaning you get two eclipses for the value of one set of glasses.
Once you have a pair of cool solar eclipse glasses for the 2023 and 2024 events, the rest of your plans can fall into place. With safe eyes, your most important priority should be early booking. The earlier you book your lodgings and any necessary transportation, the more likely it is that you will get a comfortable spot and lock in your rates at pre-demand prices. Whether you got to see the 2017 eclipse or this is your first real chance to watch the sun disappear in the middle of the day, MyEywear2Go is here to help. Our line of Shade 14 solar eclipse glasses will look awesome and serve far more reliably than any cardboard set and we can help you get enough glasses for your entire family or friends.
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