Taking a Road Trip During the Pandemic

A highway through the mountains.

More and more Americans are expressing an interest in taking a road trip this summer. (Image: PatternPictures via Pixabay)

More than 2 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus and over 115,000 people have died. With the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, one might think that people would be reluctant to travel unless absolutely necessary. However, there seems to be a growing interest in going on a road trip.

“I think Americans will take a wait-and-see-attitude about longer trips this summer, but they may be interested in taking road trips… We’ve seen surveys that show that about a third of Americans say they plan to take a road trip this summer,” John B. Townsend II, a manager of public and government affairs for the American Automobile Association (AAA), said to The Washington Post. If you, too, are thinking of heading out for a road trip for a few days, here are the things you should keep in mind.

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PPE for a road trip

Stock up on all necessary Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) like face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, sanitary wipes, and so on. There is no guarantee that you will be able to buy them during the trip since people are likely to have cleared the shelves of any stores you come across along the way. If you are renting a vehicle, make sure to disinfect it completely before hopping in.

If you are traveling with other people, ensure that everyone inside the vehicle wears gloves and masks. It only takes one person to get infected during the journey for everyone to end up with COVID-19.

Pack enough face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and so on for your road trip in case the stores along the way are out of them.
Pack enough face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and so on for your road trip in case the stores along the way are out of them. (Image: FolsomNatural via Flickr)

Dining

When you visit a restaurant, check whether the waiters and other staff members are wearing gloves. If not, it is better to look for other places to eat. The tables should also have adequate distance between them, in accordance with current safety norms. If possible, avoid visiting restaurants at all. Instead, opt to buy food from drive-through restaurants so as to minimize the chance of physical contact.

Stops

When stopping at a gas pump, wear gloves while you handle the nozzle. Pay the cashier using a credit card rather than in cash. Once you get the card back, wipe it off with a disinfectant. Before entering the vehicle, remove the gloves and dispose of them. Similar precautions need to be taken in public restrooms too. Avoid directly touching the nozzle of a faucet or a door handle. Carry some tissue paper with you and use it as required when handling such things.

When stopping at a gas pump, wear gloves while you handle the nozzle.
When stopping at a gas pump, wear gloves while you handle the nozzle. (Image: Screenshot via YouTube)

Motel stays

The COVID-19 outbreak has forced motels and hotels to ramp up their cleanliness. However, it is always better to be cautious when touching things inside the motel room. Even if the motel staff assures you that everything in the room has been disinfected, it is better that you wipe surfaces that you will regularly come in contact with, like bathroom fixtures, the TV remote, handles, doorknobs, and so on.

If you are only staying for a few days, ask the motel administrator not to send in housekeeping. By preventing strangers from entering the room, you will minimize any chances of being infected.

Since demand is pretty low, you might get some good deals on RV rentals and motel stays. So if you have been planning for a road trip but are worried about the money required, this might actually be a decent time to fulfill your dream. Just remember to follow proper safety and hygiene guidelines.

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