For many families, summer means time for a vacation. Kids are out of school, the weather is nice, and parents could use a getaway. However, in the time of coronavirus, things aren’t so simple. Traveling, particularly by plane, can be unsafe, and hitting popular destinations could lead to run-ins with non-distanced crowds.
There’s a lot to consider when planning a vacation this year. One strategy that can eliminate some stress is road tripping. Taking a road trip eliminates some of the scary variables associated with travel, can save you money, and makes sense during the pandemic.
Just be sure to only travel with your quarantine crew.
While no two circumstances are the same, flying is generally unsafe right now. There are ways to limit the risk if you need to fly, like wearing a mask and frequently washing your hands, but the safest thing to do is avoid flying. That’s the main reason that if you plan on taking a vacation, driving is your best bet. If you’re traveling just with your family, staying contained in your car while commuting lowers the risk of spreading or catching the virus.
Of course, unless you’re just driving around the corner, it’s not like you’ll be locked in the car from departure to arrival. You’ll need to stop for food, gas, bathroom breaks, etc., but planning and prep can mitigate risks there too. Make sure to stay well-stocked on gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, drinks, and snacks before you head out.
In general, to stay safe the CDC recommends you:
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with others
- Wear a cloth face-covering in public
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Pick up food at drive-throughs, curbside restaurant service, or stores
Public restrooms and gas stations will probably be the germiest places you’ll encounter on the road, so come equipped with disinfecting wipes and wear gloves. Otherwise, the actual road portion of the trip should be pretty safe and manageable. Of course, there’s more to a vacation than the travel.
Safe Room and Board
Now that you’ve got safe travel handled, the next step is finding somewhere to stay overnight. As a first tip, you should probably avoid planning a trip to anywhere experiencing major spikes in new coronavirus cases. The best way to stay safe is to stay away from any hot spots.
Most hotels are cleaned and sanitized regularly. Most medical experts agree that staying in a hotel room doesn’t pose a significant risk of catching coronavirus. Still, if you stay in a hotel, you should avoid gatherings with strangers and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, like doorknobs and toilet handles.
For a safer lodging experience, you can look for an Airbnb instead. As opposed to a communal hotel, an Airbnb will provide a self-contained environment without other people potentially introducing the virus. Whichever route you take, contact the hotel staff or Airbnb owner about their cleaning methods before you book.
You can also rent an RV if you prefer to take your temporary living space with you on the road.
For the safest accommodations, a camping trip will keep you distant from others and away from the virus. Like anything, busy campgrounds and rest stops can pose a threat, but exercising caution and following health guidelines will help lower the risk. Check your local state park rules and find out if they allow overnight camping.
The Bottom Line
Traveling poses some risks, obviously, but a road trip is the safest way to vacation during the pandemic. No matter what you do, wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance. It may not be the summer vacation you dream about, but a coronavirus road trip is a smart, safe, cost-efficient way to travel.