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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!