Although the hot days of summer are behind us — and as a result prime road tripping time is behind us too — fall is still a perfect time for hitting the road. With many employees continuing to work from home and many schools offering remote learning, the time seems right. What better way to explore fall foliage and add a bit of brightness to otherwise drab days, more than six months into a global pandemic?
But how to road trip safely, with COVID-19 still running rampant, especially throughout the United States? Here are ten considerations to take, if you want to plan a road trip right now and stay as safe as possible!
How to Safely Hit the Road: 10 Tips for a Safe Road Trip During COVID
1. Pack a COVID Toolkit
If you’re a road trip veteran, you know that it’s best to travel with a first aid kit, and perhaps some basics like wiper fluid, engine oil, and a spare tire. The approach with this COVID safety toolkit is similar! You should bring along with you everything you could possibly need as far as sanitization.
Here’s a list to get you started:
- Hand sanitizer
- Extra masks
- Disposable gloves
- Disinfectant wipes
- Tissues/paper towels
- Sealable plastic bags
Bring enough that you won’t need to buy more along the way and you won’t be stuck if you lose the fashionable cloth mask you ordered from your sister’s mother-in-law.
2. Consider a Day Trip
A day trip allows you to make use of what’s arguably the best part of road trips: driving on an open road and taking in the scenery. Are there any places where you can drive to a natural park or perhaps along a shoreline? Mountains are my favorite for this type of excursion.
A few months back, after not driving for three months, I took my car and just drove along an old highway. Since it’s not in too much use anymore, I was able to really enjoy the trees and the scenery.
3. Consider a “Pod” Road Trip
If you’re going to be spending significant amounts of time in a car, you should probably do so either a) with people who live in your household, or b) with folks who’ve been in your quarantine pod from the start. If you need to use the air or the heat, you don’t want to be breathing recycled air from folks who may’ve been exposed in their other circles.
4. Stay Outdoors as Much as Possible
Campgrounds are still open for another six weeks in many places, and even longer in others. If you’re going to be heading somewhere outdoors, think about places that are off the beaten track and not standard destinations. Your chances of encountering fewer people will increase if you select an obscure location.
5. Research, Research, Research
Research your destination. Pick somewhere that’s not experiencing a surge in cases. You definitely don’t want to increase your exposure by going somewhere that cases are on the rise.
It’s important also, to understand the regulations where you’re headed. For example, is quarantine required if you enter the state? Each state, and sometimes even county and city, have their own regulations, so you’ll want to be diligent about this research.
6. BYOS: Bring Your Own Snacks
Snacks, aside from music and scenery, are the best part of a road trip. Bring your own so you can minimize interactions with other people. Some good road trip snacks include: carrots and celery, grapes and apples, beef jerky, sunflower seeds, nuts, and cheese and crackers. Bring along plenty of drinks as well, both water and other soft drinks as you prefer!
7. Enter Rest Stops and Gas Stops Prepared
What to do when you have rest stops and gas stops? Use your toolkit! Put on the gloves to pump gas and pay at the gas pump to minimize interactions. If you must go inside to use the restroom, make sure that you’re wearing your mask and that if there’s a line, you distance from people in the line. Touch as few surfaces as possible, and use your foot to flush the toilet— no shame in stretching out those legs! All in all, your goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible with as few items touched as possible.
8. Call Ahead
It makes sense to call ahead to hotels, campsites, or places you’ll be staying: Find out what their cleaning processes are and the ways they are taking precautions for COVID-19. Consider bringing your own sheets and minimize time in common areas inside, such as the lobby and the elevator.
If you’re in a room with a tv, don’t touch the remote. Instead, use the gloves from your kit and place it into a sealable plastic bag. Remove the decorative pillows and bedding from your bed.Wipe down all the surfaces with your own disinfecting wipes. Finally, skip housecleaning: you don’t need to have more folks entering the room and bringing in other germs.
9. Have a “Sick Plan”
Make a plan for if you get sick while traveling. If you use medications, make sure to bring extra with you, in case you end up delayed. If you have other medical concerns, plan for those. Think about where you might stay, or how you might pay for the added expense. Hopefully with these precautions, it will be unnecessary, but better to be prepared!
10. Plan a trip for later
If after all of this, you end up deciding not to take a road trip just yet, you can always plan one! Half the fun of a road trip is making the plans for it and dreaming about what you’re going to see and do. Consider curating some playlists, getting a map and finding stops, or exploring potential locations for when the pandemic is over. You can have a Zoom date with fellow travelers and make a party of it.
If you’re considering a road trip with a medium size group, you might consider chartering a sprinter van or another midsize vehicle to cart around your group. With plenty of space for luggage and quick, easy quotes, Bus.com is here to help!