After a year of hearing and seeing pandemic news, who doesn’t want to go on a holiday road trip? While the end of the pandemic is nowhere near in sight, it seems like everybody wants to get in touch with loved ones while they still can. According to Business Insider, road trips are a cultural and social practice done by people to give themselves an identity, whether in the past, present, or future.
While mingling with other people aside from members of your household should be done with caution, you can’t help but travel and connect with your roots. You’re not alone. Everybody else, however, is aiming to travel safely. It would be best if you did the same. Business Insider has also reported that 67% of travelers feel safer on the road in their own vehicles compared to traveling by plane. It turns out that demand for air travel will not be back to pre-pandemic levels until it’s truly safe for everybody.
That, however, shouldn’t be a problem. With proper preparation, road trips can be fun and exciting. To enjoy and be safe on your upcoming road trip, here are steps that you should not ignore.
1. Monitor Your Health
Before even setting a date for your road trip, it’s wise to monitor your health at least two weeks before your departure date. This must also be done for anyone who will go with you. If you’ll be traveling with family, it’s necessary to check their health before you go on the road. Simply put, don’t travel if anyone of you is feeling sick.
If you or anyone in your family have been around someone who was sick during the two-week waiting period, it’s also best to postpone your travel. You have to make sure that you will not be bringing the coronavirus to your destination. Quarantine for two weeks prior, even if anyone of you is not experiencing any symptoms.
Also, update yourself about your destination’s rate of virus transmission. If the cases are high, you will be more likely to get infected. If you do but don’t suffer from any symptoms, you’ll likely spread the virus to others.
2. Check Travel Restrictions
It would help if you were well-informed about the state, local, and territorial government travel advisories and restrictions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also advises travelers to check travel restrictions in the areas they will go through and their final destination.
Knowing what to expect regarding travel limitations can help you and your travel companions to observe proper social distancing, get the required border passes, and wear masks where necessary. It can also help you plan your route, avoiding areas that can hamper your journey.
3. Pack the Essentials
Today, essentials no longer mean just food, drinks, emergency kit, and car toolbox. While these are still important, you also need to bring hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and face masks. When you stop for gas or refreshments, disinfect high-touch surfaces in and out of your car. Handles, mirrors, the steering wheel, controls, and the handbrake lever are common parts that should be regularly wiped.
You should also wipe door handles when you go to restrooms in public areas or convenience stores in gas stations. If possible, avoid using your hands and instead use your elbow when opening doors.
4. Update Your Travel Apps
With the country’s vast land area, you may pass through cell phone dead zones where GPS and online maps will not update in real-time. Before you leave your house, make sure to update and download maps, especially in places where you’re going through. Bring a paper map, too, just in case. Don’t forget chargers for your phone and other gadgets as well.
If you’re traveling with kids, make sure to bring enough infotainment.
5. Checkup Your Car
And of course, prepare your car for the long journey. Make sure all its parts are fine-tuned. Have it checked by an automotive technician to ensure all its functions are operating at the maximum performance level. Bring with you your mechanic’s number in case you encounter a car emergency problem on the road. It’ll be helpful to have someone call and ask how to troubleshoot your car problem.
On the Road
During your journey, maintain distance from other people. When using the bathroom or paying for fuel, leave at least two meters between you and the next person. Do the same when ordering food, but opt to eat outdoors where there is better ventilation.
Make sure to wash your hands or sanitize when getting your hands on high-touch surfaces before returning to your car. Avoid touching money, too. Use cards or other forms of contactless payments to limit person-to-person interaction.
With all of this ready, you will surely enjoy a safe and healthy road trip with your family.