Authored by Renee Wainwright
Planning a safe and carefree road trip during the pandemic is not impossible! Although the thought of leaving your safe bubble sounds scary, there is still an option to travel and be as careful as possible.
While we’re all waiting for things to get back to normal, planning a road trip can be an excellent way to unwind, without risking anyone’s health or safety.
Eliminating physical contact with other people as much as possible, exceptional hygiene, and a few other smart choices can make your trip memorable, even if it’s happening during a pandemic.
The seven tips below will keep you safe while you’re on the road.
7 Tips For A Safe and Carefree Road Trip During The Pandemic
Pack And Store Properly
Packing properly will save you both time and nerves! Once you’ve decided where to go and how long you’re going to stay, it’s time to start putting together a list of things to pack.
Even if it’s a short trip, you should still pack more clothes than usual, so that you can change more often due to the pandemic. Make sure to bring a bin where you’ll store the dirty clothes.
Pack snacks and food if possible. The more you can avoid crowded restaurants and supermarkets, the better. Having your favourite snacks with you will make the job much easier.
Having enough storage and keeping things organised can be tricky, and that’s why you should use organisers and bins. It’s also a great idea to organize a trash bin specifically for your car to minimize your stops (and loose trash flying everywhere!).
If you’re going for a long road trip, think about your valuables. Bringing expensive jewellery, watches, and other valuables is not a good idea and can often make your car a target for theft.
Opportunistic petty crime has increased during the pandemic, so if you leave valuables in plain sight on your dashboard or car seats, it’s a beacon for theft. Think about finding a good storage solution that will keep everything secure while you’re gone.
Bring Your Own Pillows, Sheets, Towels
As far as health and safety during the pandemic goes, RV road trips (above) are best, because you won’t have to worry about the hygiene of using the same towels, pillows, and sheets as previous guests.
But if you do plan on sleeping in hotels or in Airbnb accommodation, bring your pillows, sheets and towels. Although it’s much more likely to contract the virus from hard surfaces, there is still a possibility that you can get it from fabrics.
Respiratory viruses can get on textile materials and stay there for several hours, sometimes even days.
Do your research and choose suitable accommodation. Some hotels, hostels and Airbnb’s did not practice high hygienic standards even before COVID-19, and you can easily see that in the customer reviews section.
Ask about the safety and cleaning protocols in your accommodation, and try to find out if previous customers thought that their protocols were satisfactory.
Pack A COVID Safe-And-Sanitise Kit
There is no way you should be hitting the road without a kit filled with face masks, hand sanitiser, sanitising spray, wipes, and everything else you’ve been using to stay safe during the pandemic.
This is an essential kit that will help you reduce your travel anxiety and help you feel more secure.
Don’t forget about antimicrobial wipes you’ll use for cleaning surfaces. If you’re on the road for several days, wear a new mask every day.
Store the one you’re wearing in a clean piece of paper or a small mesh bag. Wash your hands frequently and spend at least 20 seconds washing with soap and water. The sanitiser that you’ll pack should contain at least 60% alcohol.
Don’t forget to sanitise everything you touch. This includes door and car handles, knobs, gas nozzle handles, light switches and more.
If you’re staying in commercial accommodation, wipe down all the high-touch surfaces. Avoid touching objects with your bare hands. Instead, use a disinfectant wipe or your elbow.
When you need a bathroom break, put on a pair of gloves or use a disinfectant wipe to touch doorknobs, gas station pumps, buttons and more.
Eating indoors during a pandemic is not a smart idea. Always opt for an outdoor restaurant that follows COVID-19 safety rules. Or even better yet, pack your own picnic to enjoy.
Even spaces that are partly outdoors, covered with tents, aren’t as safe as being completely outdoors with enough airflow. Visit only restaurants that obey the safety measures, places where the waiters wear masks, and where there is enough space between the tables.
To avoid getting in touch with too many people, you can simply order takeout. If you’re travelling with your family, friends or a partner, one person should go out of the car and get food. There is no need for everyone to wait in line or mix with the crowd.
If you can, an ideal alternative is to cook your food. It all depends on the type of road trip you’re planning and where you’re going to stay. Fruits and vegetables are easy to pack and can last for a few days.
Keep Your Distance
Even if you’re road-tripping to popular tourist attractions, make sure you avoid crowds. The best way to stay safe is to wear your mask and keep your distance from other people.
Another way to go is to include only outdoor attractions. You can also check and call beforehand to book your tickets, since most places probably operate at reduced capacity.
Popular attractions can attract many people, and that’s why you should either take them off your visiting list, or visit during low hours.
Avoid Making Stops
If and when possible, avoid making bathroom and break stops. It can increase the chances of getting in touch with a lot of objects and people.
Bathrooms and gas pumps are not the most hygienic places on Earth, so you’re better off if you reduce these stops to only when necessary.
Carefully plan the route and stops before you depart. Write down your schedule: that way, you’ll always be on time and know where exactly you’re having a break.
Road tripping during the pandemic is an option as long as you plan the trip carefully and bring all the essentials. Due to COVID, you have to take a new list of essentials, such as masks, disinfectants, antimicrobial wipes, gloves, and sanitising spray to name a few.
Use this kit to clean all the high-touch surfaces in your accommodation, and use the wipes to open doorknobs, press buttons, or touch the gas station pumps. Reduce the number of bathroom and gas station stops to a minimum.
Pack more clothes than usual so that you can change them more often. Carefully store the things you’ll bring in containers, and don’t forget to protect the valuables you’re leaving at home. Bring your linen and pillows, because respiratory viruses can stay on fabric.
To stay safe, dine outdoors, order takeout or prep and bring your food. When it comes to tourist attractions, visit them during low hours to avoid crowds. If you follow these seven tips, you will have a happy and carefree road trip that you’ll never forget.