Family Road Trip Tips during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Cabin fever is real. What was at one point expected to be an eight week interruption has turned into a seemingly year-long pandemic. With social distancing measures in place, our choices to escape our daily routines are few. It’s hard to look forward to the weekends when you can’t go out and do typical fun summer activities. A road trip might be one of the best ways to take a break from it all and safely explore something different this summer.
In fact, the United States Travel Association (USTA), in partnership with MMGY Travel Intelligence, conducted a survey on Americans’ current perceptions of travel. According to the survey, 68% of travelers, “continue to feel safest when traveling by personal vehicle and when visiting outdoor destinations such as parks (34%) and the beach (26%)”. Additionally, 45% of the respondents said they are likely to travel more by car. Are you a part of this large group planning to end the summer with a fun family road trip? If so, you’re going to want to follow these 4 tips to ensure a safe and fun family road trip:
1. Safety First
If you’re planning to travel with the intent to escape coronavirus, think again. It’s always important to keep a first aid kit with you while on a road trip, but it might look a little different during the coronavirus pandemic. Make sure to pack plenty of hand sanitizer for the road, as well as a few masks and disposable gloves. Additionally, check the current rules and guidelines in place at your stops. Just because your hometown doesn’t currently have a mandatory mask requirement in place doesn’t mean that will be the case in the cities you’re traveling to.
Don’t forget to pack a few garbage bags, paper towels, toilet paper, and wet wipes for accidental spills as well. Although these essentials aren’t specific to the viral situation, they’re commonly overlooked and could avoid an unnecessary stop that increases your potential exposure to the virus.
2. Creative Ways to Save Time and Money
Use Waze to Reduce Road Rage
With more than 2.5 million iPhone downloads alone, Waze is widely known as the best free app to use while driving longer than your daily commute. How does this free app stand out compared to the standard maps app in your phone? Live traffic updates, warnings of police speed traps, and up-to-date road closures help Waze stand out. We all know that summer means construction, but Waze takes road construction into account to optimize your route. The coolest part is that it’s all run by an active community, so users report on traffic conditions, construction, etc in real time. Waze can even help you navigate tolls. Join the community today!
Pack a Cooler
This one is an absolute must if you’re trying to avoid crowded restaurants, long drive-thru lines, or are traveling on a budget. Packing food and drink in a cooler will not only help you save time throughout the trip, it will also help you save money. Checkout Pinterest for some easy road trip meals that can be packed in your cooler.
Use GasBuddy to Get Cheap Gas and Win Cool Perks
GasBuddy, another wildly popular app, is run by a community of people who love cheap gas. Even though gas prices around the U.S. are still quite low compared to 2019 prices, it doesn’t hurt to save money on the non-negotiable costs of a road trip. Use GasBuddy’s Trip Cost Calculator to plan your route efficiently and get the best deals on gas along the way! Plus, you can earn cool perks like free gas cards by confirming or updating prices in the app.
3. Enjoy the Path Less Traveled
Traveling to more remote locations during your road trip will mean less potential exposure to coronavirus. Modern tools like the National Forest’s Interactive Visitor Map make it easy for you to find dozens of great locations for camping and other outdoor recreational activities. It’s even easy to set a maximum distance to travel so you can plan your route to fit your schedule. For more information on how to camp for free around the United States, check out this ultimate guide to dispersed camping.
Aside from reducing your risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19, centering your getaway around nature has other health benefits. From limiting your screen time to improving your circadian rhythm, there’s plenty of documentation supporting direct health benefits achieved from camping in the great outdoors. A few include:
- Improved air quality
- Reduced stress
- Natural dopamine boosts
- Stay stimulated and inspired
4. Download Content Ahead of Time
Although we encourage reducing screen time while you’re at your destination, a long car ride can be the perfect time to catch up on your favorite tv series or movie. Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ all offer content that can be downloaded to your smartphone or tablet ahead of time. This allows you to watch your favorites without any Wi-Fi or cellular data connection.
Don’t limit yourself to shows and movies. Checkout some of the nation’s favorite podcasts or download a fun playlist from wherever you get music. For a more vintage experience (or to give your kids a history lesson), try burning a CD for the trip ahead of time.
Family Road Trip Takeaways
Coronavirus might have changed your travel plans, but it doesn’t have to ruin them altogether. The main thing is to have fun, stay safe, and respect guidelines put into place by experts. Let us know what other tips you have for making the most out of a family road trip this summer.