Health experts are recommending to stay local as much as possible and avoid long-distance travel. But for those of you just itching to get away for a bit, here are some tips from those in the know about road trips during a pandemic. Bear in mind that your trip will require more advanced planning and preparation than it ever has before.

  1. Plan your route. Before you head out, you’ll need to preplan your route. Some states still have restrictions on in-person toll collections and rest area food sales. Believe it or not, some states may not even let you drive through without a two-week quarantine! Travel apps like Roadtrippers and AroundMe can tell you what’s nearby. These apps identify your position through GPS and allow you to choose from a list of places, including gas stations and hotels.
  2. What to pack? Now that you have your route, it’s time to pack supplies. Health officials recommend bringing along items like masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wet wipes, disposable gloves (for those germ-infested gas pumps) and resealable plastic bags so you can dispose of your gloves. You’ll need to be extra vigilant about hygiene when hitting rest stops with public bathrooms and gas stations along the way.Pack your favorite road trip snacks, too, with a small cooler for drinks. Fewer stops mean less contact with others.
  3. Will rest stops be closed? Most state rest stops are open, but some are taking advantage of the decrease in traffic for major renovations. If you do stop, remember to pay attention to hygiene. The restrooms are open to the public, which means you’ll be exposing yourself to more germs. Vending machines might be closed at some stops, but you won’t be completely out of luck if hunger strikes. The Federal Highway Administration gave mobile restaurants temporary permission to use interstate rest areas to feed truckers who are transporting vital goods during the COVID-19 pandemic, so you may be able to find fun, interesting foods along the way. To see the status of rest areas in the states where you’ll be traveling, check out interstaterestareas.com.
  4. Stay safe at the pump. You will probably need to fill your tank at some point along the way. Health officials recommend using disposable gloves when handling the pump rather than wiping it down with a disinfecting wipe. Discard the glove in the nearest bin as soon as you’re done. Use a credit card instead of cash to pay. This will eliminate face to face contact, and cards can be wiped down right after use.

  These tips together with good common sense will help you plan, enjoy, and return from your summer trip in good health, Be’ezras Hashem!

With most overnight camps closed, many families are looking for creative, safe ways to enjoy the great outdoors as a family this summer. We know how important it is to take advantage of nature during the warm summer months, but the outdoors poses more health risks than ever before.

Here are some tips for to maintain a healthy summer during these times:

  1. Know before you go. Most national parks and waterfronts are constantly updating their hours as the pandemic evolves. Check whether your destination will be open before you head out. If it looks like it will be crowded, have a backup plan.
  2. Practice social distancing. Of course, this is easier outdoors than indoors. But even outdoors, it’s important to stay on guard. Keep your group size small, maintain a six-foot distance from other guests, and keep a mask on hand to cover your nose and mouth in case you need to move a bit closer at any point. If you are sick, be considerate and stay home.
  3. Plan ahead. Bring your own food because most public places are not selling snacks over the summer. Pack hand sanitizer in case you need to touch any surface.
  4. Play it safe. Choose toned-down, low risk activities. Keep in mind that search and rescue teams and healthcare systems are both strained.

 

To stay cool this summer, entertain your kids, and ensure their well-being, try some of these great popsicle making tips!

 

First off, arm yourself with a great, easy-to-use mold.

 

Look, you can get those cute plastic molds with colorful covers and built-in straw, but you don’t need them! In fact, those nifty covers are so easy to lose and are hard to wash.

 

Instead, opt for the classic popsicle mold that has ten slots or so (popsicle sticks required.) The Norpro kind is ideal — and easy to find on Amazon, at Walmart, or elsewhere.

 

When pulling out the pops after freezing, patience is key. Run warm water over the outside for a few seconds for easier release.

 

What do you like freezing up into popsicles?

 

For a fun, sweet, kid-favorite: Pour apple, orange, or grape juice or even lemonade into the molds. (Avoid lemonade with high fructose corn syrup.)

 

Juice may not be good in excess due to the high sugar content (plus, your body needs lots of pure water to hydrate and cleanse itself.) That said though, enjoying juice in popsicle-form takes lasts longer, making it an OK treat J. Pure fruit juice is much more nutritious than regular grocery-store freeze pops and saves you money along the way!

 

For added flair to your finished treat, drop a few colorful berries into lemonade pops before freezing. The resulting pink and purple pops will wow the kids!

 

Freezing leftover smoothies is always a winner. They’re healthful, fun, and reduce waste.

 

Not down for pops? For improved gut health, try this smoothie:

 

  1. Plop these ingredients into the cup of an immersion blender, a cool Ninja or Vitamix
  2. ¼ cup of Pasteurized Egg Whites (sold in grocery stores near eggs or butter)
  3. ½ cup canned organic coconut milk. Native Forest is a great, junk-free brand.
  4. ½ a frozen banana
  5. 2-3 frozen strawberries

 

            (You may have the urge to add more fruit, which would throw off the sugar/protein            balance. To build up beneficial intestinal bacteria, protein and good fats are prime. The            opposite is true for sugar, even fruit sugars!)

 

  • Now Blend! Here’s where you can throw in a good probiotic powder to boost gut health even more!
  • Stick a straw in it and enjoy! If the kids aren’t really in the mood of a smoothiehave no fear. Freeze the smoothie into the popsicle mold. Even half-full is good because it prevents waste! Tomorrow you will have the best front steps or off-to-camp treat!

 

Enjoy!

 

A note on hydration: Be sure to drink, drink, drink while having fun in the sun. Consider a nice water bottle or canteen to encourage water-drinking. Get your favorite flask and have a safe, memorable, and wonderful summer.