Civilization, disease, and travel are intricately linked. When large populations settle in dense concentrations, various types of infectious diseases will emerge. Many of them will remain in circulation due to the frequent, close contact between individuals in such cities. As people travel to and from population centers, they can spread diseases.
The disruption of the pandemic has emphasized this dangerous link. As a result, our travel practices will have to change. If you’ve been accustomed to booking flights or cruise ships in the past, here’s why it’s time to get used to the rigors and joys of a long road trip instead.
Change is inevitable
We’ve been able to travel the world commercially for almost two centuries. The industry began with steam-powered ships and eventually evolved to use modern passenger aircraft. You can go anywhere in the world within 24 hours. The risk of exposure to diseases has long been an accepted part of international travel; why would things change now?
Initially, COVID-19 was comparable to the flu. They have similar symptoms and seemed to have the same relatively low fatality rates, disproportionately affecting the elderly but seldom dangerous to the young and healthy. We have seasonal flu outbreaks, and no one makes a big deal of it.
But the coronavirus is different in some critical respects. In the months since the pandemic was declared, we’ve seen that it has higher fatality rates than even the worst flu seasons. Symptoms don’t manifest immediately, if at all; the possibility of asymptomatic transmission makes it difficult to stay safe.
Most of all, we don’t have any vaccine available yet for COVID-19. By contrast, there are four different accepted treatments for the flu, with up to 60% effectiveness. Our populations have been exposed to the flu for years; we have some levehl of herd immunity. These factors protect most of us from the worst types of flu.
Road adventures are safer
Until we have developed the same safety layers to combat the coronavirus, travel won’t be the same. People will be required to observe physical distancing, wear face masks, and disinfect regularly. Many travel-related businesses still haven’t figured out how to resume operations safely.
The popular tourist attractions of years past inherently present a high risk of disease transmission. As you’d expect, large crowds moving through indoor spaces such as museums don’t seem to be attractive in the new reality.
Increasingly, road adventures represent the foreseeable future of travel. People can’t stay cooped up forever in their homes. We all need to get out to enjoy some leisure time and enrich our lives with new experiences. Taking your car to a less popular local destination satisfies that craving while encouraging safe practices.
You can avoid the dangers of exposure involved in using commercial transportation such as buses, trains, airplanes, or cruise ships. The ability to maintain a safe distance from others and avoid contact with possibly infected surfaces is greater when you’re in wide-open outdoor spaces. And getting additional sunlight and physical activity will help boost your body’s resistance to disease in general.
Maximizing the experience
Still, if you’re not an experienced road traveler, you’ll have to adjust your planning and preparation accordingly to make the most of your future trips.
Will you be the one behind the wheel? If you’re accustomed to city driving, longer journeys will test your endurance as well as the comfort and capacity of your vehicle. You have to prepare a list of necessary supplies and practice fitting them into your car. And with safety in mind, it’s a good idea to minimize supply runs and avoid eating out; bring as much food and water as you can.
Regular maintenance is always an essential part of owning a car; it becomes downright vital before going on a road trip. While you’re at it, check if your vehicle has any known issues, such as the Subaru cylinder head gasket problem that typically needs replacement around 100k miles. You don’t want to have to deal with that while you’re enjoying a vacation in unfamiliar territory.
Good preparation also extends to your accommodations. It might be harder to book lodgings, such as hotels or Airbnb rooms, that can guarantee cleanliness and safety. Consider learning how to camp outdoors; it can enhance the experience. If you’re not yet ready to stretch past your comfort zone, an RV rental might be a suitable alternative.
Travel will have to change, but it doesn’t have to be absent from our lives in the new reality. Forget about booking flights to exotic locales; for now, embrace the return to the old-fashioned experience of road adventures.