After months of stay-at-home orders, homeschooling, and working from home, many people just need a break. In the United States, COVID-19 road trips offer an opportunity to take that much-needed break.
Because of the continued uncertainty related to travel restrictions, quarantines, and potential new outbreaks, road trips are emerging as a more attractive travel option compared to flying.
Traveling by car offers many perks, especially during COVID-19. You can limit close interactions with those outside your group. You also have increased flexibility for when you can leave. Plus, you can usually change your plans at a moment’s notice.
The tips below will help you plan safe and enjoyable COVID-19 road trips in the United States.
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Research the status of COVID-19 outbreaks
When planning your road trip, research the status of COVID-19 outbreaks in the states you’d like to visit. Are cases increasing? Are cases decreasing, but current cases have maxed out medical resources?
Here are two great resources to check while planning your COVID-19 road trip:
- The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention state-by-state COVID-19 tracker, which will show you the count of cases in each state.
- This website, which shows the trend of COVID-19 outbreaks by state.
Reduce your risk of exposure *before* the road trip
The last thing you want is for you to inadvertently spread COVID-19 to others during your road trip.
Prior to your road trip, reduce your risk of exposure. Limit your interactions with crowds and individuals outside of your travel group. To be cautious, you can do a full 14-day quarantine in advance of your road trip.
Visit less busy areas
Try your best to avoid popular, busy areas. Popular attractions continue to draw crowds, which increases the risk of exposure to you and your travel companions.
There are an incredible number of beautiful, less crowded places to visit in the United States. These locations allow you to enjoy your road trip experience without the stress of crowds. Plus, this gives you an opportunity to spend your dollars in rural communities that could really benefit from your financial support right now.
Avoid busy times of day
Another way to limit your interactions with crowds is to visit locations during the least busy times of day.
When planning your trip, enter the location you plan to visit in Google search. Google will show blocks of columns that indicate the busiest times of the day. Aim to visit the location during less busy times of the day to avoid crowds.
Don’t rely on websites for operating status
I recently drove from Virginia (where I live) to Iowa (where my mom lives). Although I checked websites in advance to confirm operating status and restrictions, I often discovered that the website information differed from the actual situation when I arrived at locations.
I recommend calling ahead to confirm the operating status and any COVID-19-related restrictions at the places you plan to stop. You don’t want to be surprised upon arrival that something is closed, has limited operating hours, or requires advance reservations.
Bring a travel sanitation kit
It’s a germy world out there. Reduce your exposure by packing a travel sanitation kit with things like disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and face masks.
Check out this article for ideas about what else to include in your travel sanitation kit.
Bring your own food and beverages
During your road trip, you want to limit the number of stops you need to make. This reduces the risk of exposure to you and those who might interact with you.
One way that you can limit your number of stops is to bring your own food and beverages. Instead of having to run into a gas station to grab some food along the way, you can just dig into your own stash.
Bring your own entertainment
No matter where you go in the United States, you’ll likely find some type of restriction that will limit your entertainment options.
Bring along bikes, scooters, games, card decks, puzzles, etc. to help create your own entertainment on the road.
I hope these tips help you to have a safe and fun COVID-19 road trip. Happy travels!