by: Paige Anderson
Road trips. Car tunes. The breeze in your hair. These all signify that summer is officially here! This summer, traveling by car will need more planning due to the COVID-19 virus. Depending on what state you are driving to and from, remember that cases have been reported in all 50 states and quarantine’s are in effect.
Because travel increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick. However, if you are planning a road trip and are determined to take a summer vacation by car, we recommend a few tips for staying safe and lowering your risk of getting sick both on and off the road.
Stock Up On Masks
We all know by now that the spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when a mask is worn. On a road trip, you will need to have easy access to them so you can quickly put one on when the driver suddenly announces “we’re stopping at the next gas station”. So have a mask in your pocket and shove a few in the side pockets of the car. You will use or misplace them more frequently so buy in bulk.
Keep the Car Germ Free
After you get gas and have a bathroom break, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the car like the door handle, seat belts, the steering wheel and window buttons. Use hand sanitizer, disinfecting wet wipes, disposable gloves, sealable disposable plastic bags and tissues. A handheld car vacuum cleaner will come in handy for cleaning in between stops.
Eating, Drinking, Reading and Napping
While on the road this summer, it may be more difficult to find restaurants that are open because they could suddenly close without notice. It is essential to stay up to date on locations that allow for pick up at food drive-thru’s or provide services for curbside take-out. Or, to be even more prepared, bring a cooler and stock it with items such as sandwiches, fresh fruit, milk, boiled eggs and water. Pack non-perishable food like granola bars, cereal and dried fruit for snacking. Remember to buy a bag of ice frequently to keep your food from spoiling! For making tea or coffee, consider using an electric heating car mug thermos. A mug that is environmentally friendly and has a healthy stainless steel liner so it does not rust is the best choice. Thermos that use the cars battery are totally convenient and practical for road trips because they use a voltage range of 12 – 24V and have high-low modes for different kinds of cars. As the winding road takes you to beautiful destinations, a sleeping pillow in between stops may also be a good idea. For a great read, we recommend the classic book On The Road by Jack Kerouac.
You can find rest stops on your road trip by using the app USA Rest Stops. It will help locate the nearest rest stops in the U.S. along interstates, U.S. highways and state highways and can also show welcome centers and service centers. Closed toe shoes like sneakers are safer than flip flops so bring a pair that are easy to take off and put on.
Document the Journey
As the landscape changes, it will be a good idea to document it on a full HD dashcam. You can share your trip with friends and loved ones on social media and they can give you feedback when you enter different states regarding recent closures. Additionally, if you are the creative type and enjoy making memories the old school way, consider getting a creative travel journal with a scratch map for documenting places that you visit. This will be a one-of-a-kind keep-sake that you will cherish long after the road trip has ended.
Keep the car cool with a retractable sun shade to place over side windows. Getting sun burnt is a drag so wear sunscreen and a great pair of sunglasses. If retro is your style, consider getting a pair of vintage fishtail framed sunglasses before you go!
You’re going to need a car charger with multiple outlets to charge all of your gadgets. We love the expanded 3 cigarette lighter charger that supports using 3 high power appliances at the same time, (like the vacuum cleaner and the mug) and it has dual USB ports for charging phones and tablets.
For up-to-date information and travel guidance, check the state or local health department where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination. While you are traveling, it is possible a state or local government may put into place travel restrictions, such as stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order, mandated quarantines upon arrival, or even state border closures. Plan to keep checking for updates as you travel. Have fun and be safe out there!
For the latest coronavirus news and advice go to AARP.org/coronavirus.