Safety tips to consider for your summer road trip amid coronavirus

Ama Nunoo Jun 26, 2020 at 03:00pm

June 26, 2020 at 03:00 pm | Opinions & Features, We Tour

Ama Nunoo

Ama Nunoo | Staff Writer

June 26, 2020 at 03:00 pm | Opinions & Features, We Tour

Photo: UW Medicine Right as Rain

Is it safe to still plan a summer vacation? This burning question is on the minds of almost everyone who had plans on vacationing this summer. However, the world had other plans for us, and the COVID-19 pandemic has altered many plans and sadly claimed many lives as well.

Considering this, one can still go for a socially distanced summer vacation but not on some exotic island, but somewhere road trip worthy that will suffice just okay. Truth is many people are still not enthused about flying because of the virus but that should not ruin summer plans.

The classic American tradition of road trips is set to make a huge comeback as families and close friends (who probably quarantined together or share a flat) would rather rent an SUV together than sit on a flight with someone who might have the virus.

Safety is the topmost priority and, according to a survey conducted by the  U.S. Travel Association in partnership with MMGY Travel Intelligence, 68 percent of travelers “continue to feel safest when traveling by personal vehicle” because nearly half (about 45%) of the respondents preferred to travel more by car.  

Planning your route

The first thing to do before the trip is to plan your trip. No matter how familiar you are with the route, it is always good to check if there are any temporary road closures. States have also put in place coronavirus specific guidelines that may include paying extra tolls or rest stop guidelines. It is good to be abreast with all the necessary changes before you head out.

Pack essential sanitary items

Every traveler must pack but packing in these times must be geared more towards keeping the virus far away from you, your family, and friends as possible.

The trip will be incomplete without essentials like snacks, bottled water, and medications. However, Geriatrician June McKoy, associate professor of medicine at Northwestern Medicine, advises that one should pack hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, tissues, disinfecting wipes and sealable disposable bags because one’s hands and surfaces need to be cleaned and sanitised regularly.

Personal hygiene protocols that have been recommended to be followed at home must be enforced more strictly on road trips, especially when it comes to washing of hands under running water with soap before eating and after using the restroom.

On the road, these protocols must be enforced with caution because one will be using public bathrooms and rest-stops. Avoid touching surfaces with your bare hands. Preferably, use tissue or paper towel to open the door or close the tap so it does not defeat the purpose of washing the hands. Remember to dispose the tissue.

Nonetheless, McKoy said drivers should wear gloves when using the gas pump and resort to cashless transactions.

Dinning

Opt for drive-through services when thinking of a place to eat although some restaurants have sit-in options, be sure to observe all safety protocols. Make enquiries at every diner or restaurant in order not to flout sate laws because the rules vary from state to state.

Hotels

Confirm all bookings before the trip to prevent any disappointment. All hotels have beefed up their sanitary protocols and are strictly enforcing the social distancing rules.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association, an industry group, has also established regulations on strict cleaning procedures for everything from exercise equipment to elevator buttons and even remote controls.

However, it is advisable to wipe down every surface again with your own disinfectant wipes. According to Mckoy, it is advisable to do your own cleaning and sanitation if you’re staying more than a night to minimise contact with others.

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