Whether you’re making the trek to visit relatives for the holidays or finally taking that delayed summer getaway, you may be getting ready to hit the open road again.
Of course, a road trip during a pandemic is quite different from our carefree road trips of the past. But with some prep work, some new safety habits, and a go-with-it attitude, you can still make your trip memorable and safe.
Service and Prep Your Vehicle
You want to be comfortable and safe on your trip, so put your mind at ease by giving your car a little love before heading out.
- Get it serviced. Schedule your car for a full service and inspection, which may include oil change, fluids check and top-off, tire check, brakes, etc.
- Double-check the emergency kit. Add, update, and replace items as needed. Use our handy essentials emergency kit article as your guide. Make sure it includes a first aid kit.
- Add Covid-specific supplies. Throw in extra masks, sanitizing wipes and gel (at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol), and disposable gloves into your kit.
- Pack for comfort. Knowing you’ll be spending hours on the road, pack music, tablets, blankets, comfy shoes, and flip-flops, as well as jackets and easy-to-throw on layers. Sunglasses, stick-on sunshades, and sunscreen will help protect against all those UV rays (though not as hot in autumn, the rays can still do damage).
- Limit shopping along the way. Bring along things from home that you know are not contaminated, such as snacks, bottled water, medicine, phone chargers, and trash bags.
Plan It Out & Prep Ahead of Time
A lot has changed in the last several months, which means you’ll need to do a little more legwork ahead of your trip.
- Map out your route. Even if you’ve made this trip before, there may be unexpected closures along the way. Use a mapping app to get ahead of any problem areas.
- Check states and counties for Covid-19 case counts. Avoid traveling through areas with high breakouts or infection rates.
- Check travel restrictions for your destination and locations along the way. Some states and cities are requiring travelers from other areas to quarantine for 14 days upon entry (or are outright barring visitors).
- Before setting out, download one or two payment apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay to limit the number of germy PIN pads you have to touch.
- Have a plan in case you or a family member gets sick. This virus is wily, and sometimes sickness happens despite all your best prevention efforts. So have a contingency plan ready to go.
Have a Plan for Dining & Restaurants
Restaurants can be especially risky as hotspots for coronavirus transmission. Reduce yours and your family’s risk with these tips.
- Bring your own stash of non-perishable food in case of restaurant closures or limited dining options.
- Utilize drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curbside pick-up options if you want to reduce your exposure. Pack a family-sized picnic set (and blanket) ahead of time so you’ll have utensils and plates at the ready. Scout out parks or lakes where you and your family can eat.
- If a restaurant offers outdoor seating, choose that over sitting indoors. Bring coats and lap blankets if it’s chilly.
- If dining indoors, choose restaurants that maintain social distancing between tables indoors. Wear your mask as much as possible.
Know Your Game Plan for Hotels & Lodging
Because hotels are high-traffic areas, it’s important to take extra safety steps before, during, and after your stay.
- Research hotels and reserve in advance.
- Call ahead and ask about their policies on cleaning and disinfecting, as well as contactless check-in and check-out.
- Whatever the hotel’s stated cleaning policies, make sure you swipe high-touch areas in your room with disinfectant wipes: doorknobs and handles, bathroom fixtures and counters, light fixtures, TV buttons, and remote control, and any surface where you might put bags, computers, purses, etc.
- Ask the front desk to forgo housekeeping services, as it limits the number of people in your room.
- Minimize use of high-traffic areas such as lounge areas, dining areas, saunas, fitness centers, and salons.
Must-Do’s for the Entire Trip
Make a habit of the following, and safety will soon become second nature.
- Follow the basics at all times: Frequent handwashing, mask-wearing in indoor public spaces (and outdoors where you can’t socially distance), and 6 feet distance between you and others outside your household.
- Limit the number of stops along your route.
- Use contactless payments wherever possible.
- Be cautious when touching fuel pumps – diligently use hand sanitizer after every use or use disposable gloves.
- Use hand sanitizer every time you enter your vehicle (same goes for family members), which will keep your vehicle’s interior clean.
- Wipe down your car’s interior every day – preferably multiple times. Especially germy surfaces include door handles, steering wheel, gear knob, stereo and temperature control dials, cup holders, and seatbelts.
- Have your whole family make a habit of wiping down their phones multiple times a day – phones may well be our most-touched item.
While road trips in 2020 may be nothing like those of the past, yours can still be something you and your family look back on with fondness, good feels, and probably some laughs as well.
This article is furnished by California Casualty. We specialize in providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.