The COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on traveling this year as regions worldwide implemented travel restrictions to slow the spread. Unable to visit international destinations, American citizens packed their vehicles and hit the road to explore neighboring cities and states. Though the summer is coming to a close, road trips continue to rise in popularity as people jump at the chance to get out of the house, spend time with loved ones, and have fun before hunkering down for the winter.
While domestic road trips are a lot safer amid a pandemic, your health and safety should remain a top priority. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Local travel restrictions
International regions aren’t the only places that have implemented bans or stipulations for travelers. States across the US have also implemented regulations to protect its citizens. As some areas are experiencing a spike in new coronavirus cases, governors have mandated that residents crossing state lines quarantine for at least 14 days. If you happen to live in a hard-hit state or travel to one, knowing this information in advance is essential to planning your road trip.
The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the only thing plaguing the United States; there has also been an increased report of hurricanes, tropical storms, tornados, and wildfires. Road trippers are encouraged to analyze the weather reports along the route they plan to travel to ensure their safety. If a tropical storm is heading towards an area you intended to visit; it is best to alter your plans or postpone your trip to avoid getting hurt.
Attraction closures and guidelines
Due to the national health crisis, many popular attractions are either closed or have strict guidelines for tourists to follow. For example, if you planned on loading up your pick-up truck bed drawers with bait, tackle, and other fishing gear for a weekend trip at a state park, you’ll want to check their official site to find out if the lakes are open to the public. If available, find out about hour changes, capacity rules, and health and safety guidelines while at the park to protect yourself.
Passenger health risk
Though many states have started phases to reopen, the nation is not out of the woods yet. Anyone who is considered high-risk amid the pandemic should be mindful of where and how long they travel. Suppose you or someone traveling with you has diabetes, upper respiratory issues, or over 60. In that case, you should avoid hard-hit states to reduce your exposure to the coronavirus.
Rest stop safety
If you’re planning a long road trip this fall, chances are you’re going to stop along the way. While rest stops remain open for essential workers and local travelers, you must take precautions. Try to limit your stops by filling the tank at the gas station and packing plenty of snacks and beverages.
If you have to visit a rest stop, make sure you have a face mask and gloves for protection. Do your best to remain at least 6 feet away from others and avoid touching surfaces. Wash your hands thoroughly and use gloves to pump your gas and handle food from fast-food restaurants.
They type of vehicle you choose for your fall road trip can directly affect your health and safety. As sitting close for too long increases the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19, it is recommended that you select a ride with enough space for your passengers. If the weather permits, it is also ideal to keep the windows rolled down for proper air circulation. Lastly, don’t overlook traditional road trip safety tips like having your car serviced before your trip.
PPE, sanitation, and social distancing
Your fall road trip’s final health and safety consideration is personal protection equipment, sanitation, and social distancing. These factors are all essential to keeping everyone safe during the journey. When hopping out at rest stops or attractions along your route, air the car out and use antibacterial wipes to sanitize the vehicle before reentry.
Everyone should wear face masks, carry hand sanitizer, and practice social distancing when visiting destinations. Properly dispose of single-use masks, wipes, and gloves after every use. If using cloth masks, ensure that you wash them once you arrive at the hotel before wearing them again.
As millions of people long for a vacation or reprieve from the pandemic’s stresses, road trips have become a viable solution. Though the fall can be one of the most beautiful times of year to explore the country, it’s not without risk. Amid the pandemic, fall road trippers must consider these health and safety tips to ensure their trip goes off without a hitch.