By Molly Barnes, Digital Nomad Life
Now that businesses have begun reopening and travel bans are no longer in effect in some places, you may be contemplating some time off to get away with the family. If you’re up to the adventure, a family road trip offers a great opportunity to get away from it all as you explore the natural wonders in your city or state.
Take some precautions, and you can have a great time on the road without worrying about contracting the virus. Here are some tips for enjoying a safe, stimulating road trip during the pandemic.
Planning is the key to successful travel — even more so when traveling in a pandemic. Take time to research your destination(s), plan your routes, check travel advisories, and reserve your campground, hotel, or private rental in advance. Much of this research can be done online to save you time and money.
When selecting a destination, make sure it’s not a hotspot for COVID infections. National parks, lakes, beaches, mountains, and other natural attractions provide great entertainment for the kids and make it easier for you to social distance. Fortunately, many outdoor recreational spots today offer clean, hygienic porta-potty facilities for greater convenience in enjoying the great outdoors.
Get Your Vehicle Ready
Once you’ve planned your trip, take your vehicle to the shop for servicing. You don’t want unexpected breakdowns or repairs to ruin your travels. Have your mechanic check your tires, brakes, battery, fluids, hoses, belts, lights, and wipers.
If your road trip will take you over rugged terrain, your “city car” may not be the best choice. Consider renting a 4-wheel-drive vehicle better suited for off-road travels. If you don’t know how to drive a stick shift, now would be a good time to learn, as the ability gives you more options for renting a vehicle capable of getting you to off-the-beaten-path destinations and back safely.
While you’re in preparation mode, review your auto coverage so there’ll be no surprises in the event of a breakdown or accident. Make sure you have ample protection on the road, especially if you plan to travel far from home.
Pack Essentials and Emergency Supplies
It’s always a good idea to have a vehicle emergency kit in your car, but it’s even more essential when you’re heading out of town. In the event of a breakdown, you’ll have the supplies you need to make minor repairs or stay safe until help arrives. Your kit should also include such essentials as:
- Mobile phone and car charger
- First-aid kit
- Basic tools for repairs, duct tape, jumper cables, and road flares
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Warm blankets
- Paper towels or wet wipes
- Ice scraper/snow brush
Also pack a supply of drinking water, kids’ drinks, adult drinks, nonperishable food, and healthy snacks. Having these with you reduces your need to stop at grocery stores during your travels. The less contact you have with others, the less likely you’ll be to catch the virus during your trip.
Take Along a Health Kit
Road-tripping during a pandemic requires greater care than usual. Preparing a coronavirus travel kit with the following supplies can enhance cleanliness and hygiene during your travels:
- Face masks or coverings
- Disposable gloves
- Wet wipes (large and small)
- Hand sanitizer
- Laundry soap, dish soap, and/or bleach
- Paper towels
- Toilet paper
- Hand soap
- Sealable plastic bags and trash bags
These supplies can be stored in a durable plastic bin for easy access.
Assess Your Finances
Check your finances beforehand to ensure that you’ll have sufficient funds for your road trip — plus some extra, in case you run into trouble on the road. Budget funds for food, gas, lodging, fun activities, souvenirs, and any other expenses you feel would make your road trip complete.
Chances are, you’ll be using your credit card for many of these purchases. If your cards are maxed out, start paying them off ASAP to create some room for your travel expenses when the time comes. Good credit is always an asset when you travel, so make an effort to boost your credit before hitting the road.
Take Advantage of Deals
With fewer people traveling during the pandemic, many hotels, vacation rentals, and restaurants are offering special deals for vacation getaways. If you plan to patronize any of these facilities during your road trip, find out which are offering discounts for food and lodging, complimentary activities, or free parking.
You’ll also want to be sure the facility is doing its part to maintain a safe, clean, hygienic environment. To be on the safe side, you may want to disinfect surfaces in your room yourself, and maybe even use your own sheets and towels during your stay.
Keep Your Vehicle Clean
Maintain a clean, hygienic vehicle during your travels. Whenever you stop, clean and disinfect your car. A trashed vehicle is ripe for infection, not to mention uninspiring to travel in. Disinfecting your vehicle is more work but well worth the effort in protecting you against coronavirus during your travels.
Road-tripping during a pandemic poses its share of challenges, to say the least. However, with a little ingenuity and willingness to take extra care, you can have an amazing road trip experience despite virus and quarantine restrictions. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Great American Road Trip today!