You may have had to cancel many of your winter plans like an end-of-the-year getaway, but there are a lot of safer options, like going on a road trip. For one, riding an airplane or the train poses higher risks of transmission than going on a cross-country road trip of your own because when you drive by yourself, you’re obviously not sharing an enclosed space with people you don’t live with.
For the record: Staying home is still the most surefire way of staying healthy and protecting yourself from being infected. But if you really must travel, driving is your best bet. This is your step-by-step guide to planning a safe and healthy cross-country road trip.
- Observe your health. How are you feeling, physically and mentally? Do you have symptoms like fever, dry cough, and loss of sense of smell and taste? If the answer is yes, then don’t leave your house. Quarantine and self-isolate for two weeks, and don’t think about stepping on that gas before you feel better.
- Once you’re feeling 100%, check on your destination. What are the state or city’s COVID-19 requirements and restrictions? If the state is currently on lockdown or suffering from a high rate of infections, it’s best to postpone your trip for a while until things get better. But if not, check still if the state has quarantine regulations for visitors. Keep checking state-to-state travel restrictions to make sure you don’t violate any of them.
- If the state you’re planning on visiting is open, inspect your car. Double-check the following:
- To prevent overheating, inspect everything that uses fluids in your car, like the motor oil, brake fluid, coolant, and windshield washer fluid. ;
- Your car’s electronics, to make sure that you won’t run into inconveniences like losing a lamp in the middle of the night.
- Check your brake pads, hoses, and belts.
- Inspect your tires to make sure they’re not over or underinflated.
- Bring your tools and a spare tire.
- Besides your emergency contacts like your close family and friends, you can also draw up a list of important contacts such as your primary healthcare provider if you start feeling any symptoms and a car accident attorney in case you get into any vehicular mishaps during your trip.
- Stock up on disinfecting essentials such as alcohol-based sanitizers with 70% alcohol content, disinfecting wipes, and disinfecting spray.
- Bring enough food and snacks to keep you from going on unnecessary stops.
- If it’s a cross-country road trip, book the necessary motels or bed-and-breakfast you will stop in during nighttime. Check the reviews for the properties’ cleanliness.
- Plan your activities around the possibility of having to self-isolate for two weeks when you get there. The last thing you want is to spread the virus to the people you’re meeting.
- Make sure you’ve had enough sleep before going on your drive. 7-8 hours of sleep should be enough. Pump yourself up with caffeinated drinks or anything healthy that gives you energy.
- Avoid going on unnecessary stops. When you use a public toilet, take the following safety precautions:
- Wear a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-approved mask properly, which means it must go over your mouth and nose.
- Keep a physical distance of at least six feet or one meter from other people.
- Wipe down the toilet seat with the disinfecting wipes you bought.
- Wash your hands thoroughly right after using the toilet.
- Rub your hands with your hand sanitizer once you get back to your car.
- If you must buy food, eat your meal in your car. If you opt to dine in, choose a restaurant that has an outdoor dining option.
- When you get to your motel or bed-and-breakfast, wipe down the high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and telephones. Use your disinfectant spray to disinfect the air around the room lightly. Wear your mask and keep a safe distance while interacting with others.
- When you get to your destination, follow the state’s rules for quarantining. Observe your body for symptoms, and self-isolate if you’re feeling under the weather.
- If you must tour, look for spots that allow for physical distancing, like parks. Skip indoor activities like going to a museum or a concert, at least for now.
- When you get home, observe your health once again before meeting with high-risk loved ones.
These small inconveniences will not last forever. We are doing this to protect the most vulnerable and do our part in helping the medical and scientific community fight this virus. So go on that road trip—but be a responsible traveler, not just for you, but also for the entire world.