Here are Tips for Safe & Stress-Free Road Trip
There’s nothing quite like hitting the open road with only your sense of adventure to guide you! That must be the reason road trips are the subject of so many classic American films and novels (National Lampoon’s Vacation, Little Miss Sunshine, On the Road, the list is endless . . .). If the end of summer has you feeling a little antsy, like you might have cabin fever, a road trip might just be the perfect cure. The good news is that, in the midst of the pandemic, it’s pretty easy to socially distance on a road trip. But, these days, you may need a little more than your curiosity and intuition to guide you. The safest and most stress-free driving journeys will take some planning. Keep reading for my top tips on planning your next road trip.
1. Know Your Route
I recommend mapping your route in advance using Google’s My Maps feature, which allows you to customize your points of interest and get driving directions. Save and download your map before your departure in case you lose cellular service during your drive. If you’d like to be alerted to traffic and road hazards, as well as calculate your tolls in advance, I suggest the Waze app. Beyond downloading maps and driving apps, though, during the pandemic, you’ll want to investigate the current regulations of the areas you plan to visit. State and local health departments will have the most up-to-date Covid-19 information at this link for resources in all 50 states, that can give you a sense of local and state travel restrictions, national land closures, and COVID-19 case counts in the areas you want to tour.
2. Book Accommodations in Advance
The days of simply stopping at a roadside inn or motel when you’re feeling tired after a long day on the road are on pause for the time being. Instead, after mapping your route, decide on some exciting places to stop for a night or two and for accommodations in that destination ahead of time. Or perhaps your road trip is simply a drive to a fabulous resort for the week. I can advise you about hotels, resorts and VRBOs with flexible cancellation policies and their health and safety protocols, as well as dining and room service availability. Wherever you decide to stay, it’s a good idea to sanitize your living and dining spaces with the cleaning supplies you packed (see below for more on what to pack!). I can take the overwhelming stress out of planning and vetting accommodations for you or you may always book accommodations with my extra Virtuoso amenities directly at this link. I’m an expert at finding the best accommodations fit for solo travelers, couples, families, or friends traveling together. Contact me for a complimentary one-on-one consultation today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Prepare for Departure
Half the fun of road trips is outfitting your vehicle to be a home-away-from-home on wheels. Pack a cooler of your favorite snacks and drinks. And don’t forget your car chargers and phone mounts! Create music playlists and download podcasts or audiobooks to pass the time on the road. (Although I can’t promise you won’t still hear that age-old question from the back, “Are we there yet?!”) To prevent roadside emergencies, take your vehicle in for a tune-up before you leave, and double-check that your trunk contains a spare tire and emergency kit. When road tripping in this pandemic, you’ll want to pack extra masks, if you won’t be able to wash yours on the road, gloves for gas stations and rest areas, disinfecting wipes for sleeping and dining spots, and hand sanitizer. Be sure to store your hand sanitizer in your cooler, glove compartment, or center console, out of direct sunlight and heat, to preserve its effectiveness.
4. Discover Points of Interest
Just because we’re in the midst of a pandemic doesn’t mean you can’t still integrate some spontaneity into your road trip! Getting off the interstate is a good way to find points of particular interest to you, especially the outdoors. Why not traverse some of America’s Byways, designated as such for their cultural, historic, and scenic qualities? Or check out AllTrails for nearby hiking paths—a good opportunity to stretch your legs. Atlas Obscura, the self-described “definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders,” and Roadside America, “your online guide to offbeat tourist attractions,” provide endless lists of unique and quirky points of interest, from the “world’s largest” everything (like this buffalo statue) to kitschy museums (like this one for bobbleheads). If hunger strikes while you’re on the road, I recommend the explore tab in the Google Maps app because it lists which nearby restaurants are offering takeout, curbside, and no-contact delivery. Check out the HappyCow app for vegan and vegetarian-friendly dining options. And if you love TV shows like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, find out where to dine at restaurants “as seen on TV” by visiting TVFoodMaps. Perhaps mom-and-pop and hole-in-the-wall restaurants are more your style; if so, head to Roadfood for a state-by-state directory and reviews. If you happened to bring your pup along for the ride, the Bring Fido app will let you know what restaurants welcome customers with dogs. After your meal, if it’s time to refuel before getting back on the open road, check out the GasBuddy app for the best prices nearby.
I hope you found these tips for planning a safe and stress-free road trip helpful. If, on the other hand, you’re anxious at the thought of planning your road trip in advance, I’d be happy to help you map out your journey, book ideal accommodations, and even sign up for some pandemic-friendly excursions. I have no doubt my customized travel plans will have you humming Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” in no time.