6 Tips for Road Trips During COVID
No doubt you have seen a disaster movie where the heroes make a mad dash across the country, staying just barely in front of some terrible weather phenomenon. In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has been like a slow-developing thriller, but without the scramble of mass evacuations. Instead, families are holed up and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Every trip outside the home is like a nerve-racking roll of the dice. Long-distance travel is not something to be taken lightly, spurred by boredom or cabin fever.
However, what if you must make a road trip? Perhaps you have aging parents in another state or need to help with some family emergency. What can you do to reduce the risk of catching COVID? By now you are achingly familiar with the standard precautions regarding mask usage, social distancing and frequent hand washing. These are even more important when you are driving through a series of unfamiliar areas every day. Consider adding the steps you are already following with some tips culled from the experiences of recent travelers.
Note: Wear your mask at all times in public and change masks frequently.
1. Sanitize like a maniac. No one is going to look back after all of this is over and bemoan that they “over-sanitized.”Keep your sanitizer in the center console and use it early and often. If you are not sure whether you remembered to use it at the last stop, use it again just in case. Use cards rather than cash and sanitize the card when they hand it back to you.
2. Avoid the roach coaches. Plan the legs of your journey and make reservations at clean, safe hotels. Don’t let exhaustion be the deciding factor in choosing a pillow for your sleepy head. Most hotels are working hard to follow safety protocols and they have the details posted online. Of course, with fewer people traveling right now, you may even find that the rates are lower than usual.
3. Don’t stop unnecessarily. This is not the time for tourism. Even if you are a “foodie” and you are bypassing some of your dream locations, you need to keep your stops to a minimum. Once you are stopped for the evening, mask-up in public areas and resist the urge to explore. Use the time each evening to plan your stops for the next segment of the trip. This no-frills approach also applies to seeing friends along the route. If you’re tempted to pause more often than necessary to make visits, remember that these stops increase the risks—both for you and your dear friends.
4. Fuel up quickly and cautiously. If you pull into a gas station and no one in the area is wearing a mask, that tells you a lot about their approach to safety. Tread carefully. Try to pay at the pump whenever possible. Also, if you need to stretch your legs while fueling up, do so outdoors.
5. Make your meals last. Yep. During COVID the term “meals on wheels” has taken on a new connotation. Can you plan your meals so that you do not need to stop three times every day, risking a roll of the virus dice at each stop?
6. What is your restroom sanitation routine? It may be challenging to plan for when you will need to take a restroom break. However, you can establish a sanitation routine to be followed any time that you use a public restroom. This might include putting on gloves, carrying sanitizing wipes, wiping down key surfaces, disposing of the gloves on the way back to your vehicle and then immediately sanitizing your hands again.