Updated: Aug 16
Pack a Travel Safety Kit.
Your road trip will be more comfortable and feel safer if you make sure you have all the essentials at hand. There will be times during your trip where it may not be possible to avoid all contact with other people or much used surfaces. This kit should include what you need in order to both stay safe and meet local requirements. Here’s what to pack.
Enough of your medications to last throughout the trip (and a little more).
You never know if local pharmacies will be able to fill your prescriptions or whether they have common meds out of stock. Bringing your own supply makes sense.
A daily supply of disposable masks
At the time of writing this, 17 states require face coverings when in public and some states have special rules targeting visitors from other states. Make sure you check out the various guidelines in place at the destinations you will be visiting or even traveling through. Some states have travel restrictions for visitors from other parts of the country. Make sure you know what the situation is before heading to these destinations.
Different areas of the country have been affected at different times. This means you cannot be certain that the places you visit will have a handy supply of sanitizer. The solution is to bring your won. It is very useful when you can’t get to a hand washing facility immediately after shopping or visiting an area where you wind up touching things that may have been handled by others.
These are a must have for when you stay in a hotel or other accommodation. Use them to wipe down high=touch areas such as door knobs, TV remote controls, sink and tub faucets , and other surfaces you will be using when staying overnight. The CDC offers complete advice for cleaning and sanitizing places where you stay here.
A road trip usually means you will need to get gas. Disposable gloves are a safer way to handle the gas pumps, touch screens, and enter in pin numbers when making payments. They are also a good idea to wear when cleaning your accommodations with sanitizing wipes upon arrival.
Toilet paper and paper towels
Use these to open doors and turn faucets, especially in public bathrooms that get lots of use.
Be aware of ways to limit contact with people.
This vacation will be different from other vacations. Bars and restaurants are not all open and even when they are, the experience is different. Look for places where seating is in outdoor spaces. Even better, consider opting for takeout with curbside pick-up. Purchasing online gets rid of the need to touch cash or punch in pin numbers. Pack enough non-perishable snacks for the entire trip. This will help limit snacking stops at convenience stores or supermarkets. Don’t forget a cooler full of drinks. Some visitor spots may indicate busy hours on their web site. Look to stay clear of those hours in order to be able to practice social distancing more easily.
Know the guidelines for your destination.
This is a fluid situation and things can change rapidly. Knowing what the local rules in each state are empowers you to be ready and gives you the reassurance that you know how to navigate the situation. The AARP keeps a page with the rules for each state up to date here.
Make sure your car is in good shape on things like tire condition and oil changes. You don’t want the hassle of a mechanical breakdown. Consider using a rental car instead. Most of the major car rental agencies have made a commitment to implement enhanced sanitizing procedures before letting you get behind the wheel. If it makes you feel better, bring enough sanitizing wipes to give the car a once over on your own as well. Take the time to map out your trip as well. Use services such as Google Maps or Roadtrippers to plan your trip mile but mile and stop by stop. Having your trip plan with you on your phone lets you better plan each day and will help you avoid missing things. Bring along a play list of music that fits your trip. For example, if you are visiting New England seaside towns, load some sailors sea shanties on your phone, or if you are driving through the amazing parks of the wild west, bring along the soundtracks to some spaghetti westerns to match the mood. Adding the right music will make the trip not only more fun, you will remember more of it whenever you hear that music again. Services like Spotify premium will allow you to download your music for playing in places where internet service may be uneven.