Five Things to Consider Before Planning Your Next Road Trip

By Alyssa Gilbert

Whether you’re eager to explore new destinations or want to rediscover places in your own backyard, driving has become an ideal mode of transportation for many people during these uncertain times. I recently returned from a ten-day road trip with a couple of friends that extended from California to Texas, COVID-free. Although the circumstances were out of the ordinary, it was the perfect cure to our Zoom fatigue. We were able to lower the risks associated with travel by making a few adjustments. Here, I’ve outlined five safety measures you should consider before hitting the road.

Pandemic Packing Essentials

If you’re anything like me, you can never have too many disinfectant wipes! Use them to clean high-touch surfaces such as gas pumps, doorknobs, and elevator buttons. Keep a cloth mask with you at all times, and be sure to pack disposable masks for those forgetful moments. Pack nonperishable snacks to avoid stopping too many times for food. Face shields provide an extra protective barrier from potential respiratory droplets in addition to a face mask. Other essentials to bring with you include gloves, hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol content), vitamins, and a thermometer.

Pro Tip: Keep a pack of gentle baby wipes with you to wipe your face throughout the day. This will help prevent “maskne,” acne caused by wearing a mask.

Planning Where to Stay

Airbnbs and private rentals offer fewer person-to-person interactions, but the level of sanitation will vary considerably. Fortunately, a lot of hotel chains have ramped up their cleaning procedures to put travelers’ minds at ease.

During our ten-day adventure, we opted for a combination of camping, private rentals, and hotel stays. Everywhere we stayed created a sense of comfort by minimizing interaction with staff, providing contactless check-ins, or using digital keys. When we arrived at our rooms, the remote controls and high-touch surfaces were often wrapped in plastic, and the cabinets were sealed to indicate they had been cleaned.

If you’re not quite ready to check back into a hotel or occupy a rental, there are other options that make it easy to avoid crowds, like camping or hitting the road in an RV. These options allow you to have more control over how and when you interact with other people, not to mention a lot of fun!

Pro Tip: No matter where you stay, be sure to disinfect high-touch surfaces, wash the dishes, and open the windows upon arrival to bring in some fresh air.

Socially Distant Activities

Now is the perfect time to reconnect with nature and explore the great outdoors. Instead of going to crowded theme parks, opt for kayaking or apple picking. There are so many outdoor activities that naturally keep you at a distance from others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and regularly washing your hands. When traveling, these recommendations are no different. Pay attention to your surroundings and make sure the people around you are adhering to the guidelines that have been set.

Pro Tip: These are uncertain times, so it is best to book activities with companies that have flexible cancelation policies.

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