With the holidays quickly approaching many are wondering if they should undergo their normal pilgrimages home to loved ones. Simple tasks a year ago, such as hoping on a flight, booking a hotel, or stopping at a rest stop for lunch have now become much trickier as we battle through this pandemic. With Covid ramping up once again, many travelers are opting out of flying and choosing to drive long hours to their holiday destinations instead. While driving is certainly safer than flying these days, it does not come without risks. To help your holiday travel go as smoothly as possible our team has put together a list of tips based on commonly asked questions regarding car travel during Covid-19.
If you are able to make your trip in one shot and avoid staying at a hotel that would certainly be ideal but if that is not possible you will want to find a hotel that has been taking covid-19 precautions seriously. The most important factor when staying in a hotel is their “occupancy buffer” or the amount of time a room stays empty between guests. The general consensus on how long the occupancy buffer should be is 3 days. Some hotels might try to sell you on UV lights and air purifiers but the most effective way to ensure your room is Covid-free is time. If a hotel cannot answer what their occupancy buffer is or if they admit to having new guests every night then we would urge you to look elsewhere for your overnight stay.
While shared spaces such as the pool and gym are now closed in many hotels, you will still have to travel through the lobby which can get quite crowded during peak times. If possible, try to check in and out of your room during off hours such as early in the morning or late at night.
One of the biggest worries of travelers looking to avoid coming in contact with Covid-19 is “Where am I going to stop to go to the bathroom?”. Unfortunately, going to the bathroom is unavoidable but if you wear a mask, wash your hands, and then sanitize back at your car, your chances of contracting Covid from the short time you are inside are very slim. While rest stop bathrooms have a reputation for being “icky”, we have found that during this pandemic they have actually been kept very clean due to new protocols.
Any substantial road trip is going to require that you stop to eat at least once! Luckily there are a few very safe ways to handle food while on the road.
The safest option is to simply pack your own meals in a cooler and stop to eat at local parks or rest stops. What is most important here is that you eat either inside your car or outside. Don’t go inside a rest stop simply to eat.
If packing your food is too much trouble or your car doesn’t have the available space then look for restaurants with drive through or curbside pickup options and choose to eat outside or in your parked car.
Another unavoidable stop when road-tripping is stopping to gas up the car. Luckily, getting gas for your car is an outside activity so there is very little reason to be worried. If you wear a mask, wipe down the pump handle, and sanitize your hands after touching the pump you will be fine.
If you are unable to drive yourself to any festivities this winter and are wondering how to safely take a taxi or rideshare check out this article. Safe travels and happy holidays!