Everyone has been locked in their homes for a long time. So, now that coronavirus lockdown restrictions are easing, the temptation will be to hit the open road and enjoy a bit of freedom. But how safe is it to travel while coronavirus still around? What can you do to protect yourself & loved ones against COVID-19 while at the same time beginning to have some fun? If you plan on taking a road trip any time soon, here are ten tips to keep you safe while you are cruising the highways.
- Wait a While Before You Take Long Journeys
Sorry to put a damper on your travel plans, but health experts are still recommending the best way to prevent coronavirus spreading is to stay at home. Businesses may be reopening right now, but a coast-to-coast road trip is still not a great idea now. Remember, it is not only you that you must protect from coronavirus. You also must consider those more at risk in the towns that you visit.
- Check the Travel Restrictions Before You Travel
Travel restrictions may apply in some regions for some time to come. So, check what the current situation is at your destination and in all the areas you will travel through before you set out. The coronavirus crisis might be easing in some areas now, but there could be a second wave of infections that would cause restrictions to be tightened again. If you are not careful, you could find yourself in lockdown hundreds of miles from home.
- Do Not Travel If You Are Experiencing Any Coronavirus Symptoms
If you have any symptoms of coronavirus or you simply do not feel well, don’t take risks with other people’s health; stay at home. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are coughing, shortness of breath, a fever, aching muscles, and the loss of taste or smell. You may think that it will be OK to travel if you are driving in your car. But, when you stop to use a bathroom or check into a hotel, you could pass on the virus onto other people.
- Pack Essential Supplies
Make sure that you take a supply of food and water when you set out on your road trip. Even though some businesses will be reopening soon, it will be a long time before everything gets back to something close to normality. Many restaurants and stores may stay closed even after the coronavirus restrictions are lifted because the owners and staff are not confident about reopening yet. Sadly, it is also likely that a lot of establishments will never open again because they have gone into bankruptcy during the lockdown.
- Don’t Forget the Hand Sanitizer
Because many stores and restaurants will be closed, finding restrooms on a long road trip might be tricky, too, so you may not be able to wash your hands as frequently as you would like. Pack a supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizer so that you can clean your hands after touching anything that may have been infected with the virus. And, of course, use your hand sanitizer before and after you eat, and any other time that you would have customarily washed your hands.
- Use Face Coverings
The wearing of face coverings is now recommended in most public settings and is one of the most important steps you can take to stay safe during road trips. So, pack a supply of disposable face masks or other face coverings. Most national and local governments are urging that the public use cloth face coverings rather than medical face masks because things like surgical masks and respirators are needed for health workers. Either way, you may not get much of a welcome from the locals if you arrive in a town without your mouth and nose covered by something.
- Use Alcohol Wipes to Disinfect Surfaces
Wipe down high-touch surfaces like door handles, gas pumps, and the buttons on ATMs before you use them. If you stay overnight in a hotel, you may want to disinfect the surfaces in your hotel room as well. While the big chain hotels will have implemented strict room cleaning protocols, the cheaper hotels might be a little less diligent about cleanliness. Even in large hotels, it will be impossible to be sure that the maid has thoroughly cleaned your room.
- Maintain Your Social Distancing
It is to be hoped that you are not going to be getting less than six feet from other people while you are driving, but when you stop for a break, you will need to maintain your social distancing to stay safe during your drive. Keep your distance from other people when you are waiting in line in stores, taking a bathroom break, and in restaurants if they are open for business. It should go without saying that picking up hitchhikers during the coronavirus crisis should be avoided as well.
- Plan Your Trip in Advance
Taking off on a road trip without any planning is not going to be an option for a while. You will not be able to stop off when you feel tired and find somewhere to sleep and eat, because many places will still be closed. You will need to keep a close eye on how much gas you have in the tank, too, because you might find that many of the smaller gas stations are closed. So, plan where you are headed, where you will stay, and where you will stop for gas and bathroom breaks. Yes, a road trip will not be the adventure it once was, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Enjoy Yourself, Be Alert, and Be Sensible
Everyone is itching for freedom, but the advice, for now, is that long road trips are not advisable. Short trips around your local area, though, will relieve tension, lift people’s spirits, and will be good for the mental well being of the entire family. So, if you want to get out of the house for a few hours, take a short road trip with people from your household only, and avoid stopping in densely populated areas. Only set out on a road trip, though, if the travel restrictions in your area allow non-essential journeys.
To sum up, taking a road trip would be safer than traveling by air or by train, but long road trips are still not advisable. Local coronavirus restrictions permitting, though, a short journey in the car around your area could be just what you all need to break the monotony of COVID-19 quarantine and get everyone smiling again.