With the glorious summer sunsets gracing us with its presence, and warm nights charming us into spending more time outside, the idea of road-tripping across our cities, states, or countries seems to be too much of a temptation to base up. Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic still being a reason that so many of us are carefully staying home and social distancing, is traveling something you can plan for safely?
Although it’s true that the safest option of all is to not travel, planning your vacation or road trip before your region lifts strict (or not so strict) pandemic-related restrictions is something you might be want to do. Regardless, whether you’re planning to hit the road the moment experts say we’re in the clear, or playing it safe and planning for later in the year, here are a few tips to keep in mind, to keep you safer and lower your risk of getting sick.
Plan Your Trip. Have a Route.
Now, probably more than ever, preparation is key. Whether you’re traveling to a new destination or a tried-and-true family spot for indoor and outdoor adventures, you should take the time to research and plan your route from start to finish. Why should you do this? Well, if you’re mapping out your stops, which roads you’re taking, and which cities you’ll be passing through, you’re more likely to know if any relevant travel advisories come up while you’re driving. There are multiple places that have suspended in-person toll collections, rest stops that are completely closed, and gas stations may have temporary operating hours. Don’t risk running into a situation you’re not prepared for by planning ahead of time!
Get Your Vehicle Ready
Before you hit the road, get your vehicle looked at! Even in a not so troubling time, getting stranded by the side of the road is never a fun or ideal way to vacation. Make sure your vehicle is checked by a certified mechanic before you put on the cruise control. Of course, this doesn’t just mean checking and changing out oil or checking tire pressure. It also means doing the “little” maintenance things, like topping off wiper fluid and making sure all your lights are working properly.
Pack the Essentials
No matter if you’re on the road for an hour or a day, make sure you pack the essentials. You’ll stay safer if you’re not stopping at multiple locations or heavily trafficked gas stations by carrying your own snacks, bottled water, and emergency kit. It’s not a bad idea to pack books, games, and anything else that might keep the kiddos busy as well. Whatever your “essentials” are, if you have room in your vehicle, back more than what you think you need.
Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize
I’m sure I don’t need to be the one to tell you that proper handwashing methods, keeping your hands away from your face, and wearing a mask are all things you can do to keep you and others safe in your travels. If we’re being honest, these are things we should continue to make a habit, even if things go back to relative normal. However, sometimes it can be tricky to wash your hands every time you touch something that would be considered germy. That’s why it’s highly important to carry and use hand sanitizer. Make sure your kids have small bottles hooked to their jeans or backpacks as well.
Good hygiene on the road isn’t any different than good hygiene at home. So wash your hands thoroughly, but be vigilant with that hand sanitizer when you’re going through high traffic areas like rest stops, gas stations, or right before you eat a snack in the car. Hand sanitizer bottles are a must, but it’s a good idea to pack sanitizer wipes and non-medical disposable gloves as well. If you need to stop for gas or open a door, make sure to carry a few wipes around with you or wear gloves. This way, you can more safely touch surfaces without the fear of germs.
Use Common Sense
We’ve all been there. It’s hard to break typical travel habits that we’ve used in the past. But it’s the time to be overly cautious about what we’re doing with our hands and how close we’re standing to those outside of our immediate groups. Mostly, it comes down to using common sense. If the situation feels dangerous, then think before you enter a building, touch a surface, or stand close to those not wearing masks. The idea isn’t of course to panic. Vacations are meant to be fun, after all! Simply be prepared, take the time for hygiene, and use common sense to keep you and your loved ones safer.