Disclaimer: I started writing this post prior to the most recent spike in cases back in early to mid-fall, when it was relatively “safer” to go on a road trip. With the entire US and abroad suffering from a significant increase in cases, I’ve been debating on whether to post these suggested tips or not. While I do not recommend taking a vacation now as of December 2020, I feel these tips may be useful when we’re all hopefully getting back out on the road again once cases start to decrease.
If you told me a year ago a pandemic would prevent most travel in 2020, I probably would have thought you’d be exaggerating. But alas, here we are eight months into the pandemic with uncertainty as to when travel may go back to “normal” again. However, road trips have provided a relatively safer option during these times, as long as safety precautions are being taken. Here are some tips and suggestions for ensuring a safe vacation on the road.
Research your destination(s) for travel advisories and quarantine requirements
We carefully mapped our road trip to only visit states where there were little travel advisories and no quarantine requirements. But that doesn’t mean we let our guard down. We continued to maintain social distancing, wear masks, avoided indoor dining as much as possible, and always washed our hands! We planned our road trip two months prior to departure, but continued to keep up with any updated state changes and restrictions. Even since our road trip ended two month ago, requirements for the states we visited have already changed for NH residents. It’s important to be extra prepared and flexible in case of needed last minute changes.
Read through all safety precautions being taken for your accommodation (and cancellation policies)
Types of accommodations are usually a personal preference (I tend to find AirBNBs more affordable than hotels), but regardless of what type you choose, make sure they are taking safety precautions seriously. Also ensure their cancellation policies are flexible and will work for you. I personally have been ripped off in the past from cancellation and rebooking fees, pre-COVID, and prefer to book places that offer flexible rescheduling and free cancellations.
Plan for social distancing activities
We went on our road trip in September, which is personally one of my favorite months, with both summer and fall weather in New England. This made it a great time to explore outside with plenty of hiking and beach adventures. While some places were open for indoor dining, we also tried to dine outdoors whenever we went out to eat. Planning some free, outdoor activities can be beneficial during these times, especially due to the uncertainty of indoor places being open.
Pack plenty of masks for both indoors and when social distancing is not possible
I know choosing whether or not to wear a mask has become politicized in the United States and this post is not meant to create an argument on the subject. However, regardless of how you feel, please be respectful of places that require to wear a mask.
Despite these stressful and unprecedented times, it is possible to take time to slow down, enjoy the little things, and have fun exploring more “local” places you would not have otherwise!