Summer means one thing for most families, Vacation Season. While there are many reasons for going on a trip this vacation season such as a change of scenery or a love of the outdoors, there is one thing that unites us all. We want to keep ourselves and families safe while on our vacations. As we all adjust to the new normal of mask-wearing and social distancing, it can be hard to think of just how we can enjoy ourselves as we take a trip this year. Here are some safety tips for those of us taking to the open road during the pandemic
Plan your route
There is an old saying that goes “…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When Benjamin Franklin wrote these words long ago, he could never have dreamed of seeing America in the midst of a global pandemic, but the sentiment remains the same. It is a lot easier to prevent something from happening than to try and deal with the damage after it occurs. With an attitude of prevention in mind, the CDC has a few recommendations when planning your vacation this year
- Ask yourself whether COVID-19 is spreading in your community or the area you plan on visiting. If things are heavy where you will be going you have an increased risk of bringing the virus home, whereas if things are heavy where you live you risk spreading the virus outside your home area.
- Think about any underlaying conditions you or your family members may have, such as immune deficiencies or conditions that will prevent mask wearing.
- Check your local health department guidelines as make sure that the area you plan on visiting requires that visitors quarantine themselves on arrival.
- Make sure that whatever you plan on doing you feel confident you can maintain a 6-foot social distance while engaging in any activities.
It is also a good idea to make sure your car is in good shape before going out on your trip. In the pandemic you don’t want to be caught in a breakdown far from home especially since most repair shops are doing work by appointment and may not be able to repair your car right away. Map out your route and research for any road closures or construction delays that might fall along the way
Packing and Sanitizing
After you have your plan in order its time to think about what you will be bringing with you. In the new normal this includes more than just clothes and items to keep yourself busy on the drive. You’ll want to have face coverings for all the members of your trip as well as everything you need for sanitizing on the go. This includes things like hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, wet wipes, and disposable gloves. It’s also a good idea to bring along a good-sized stash of water and snacks to cut down on the amount to times you need to stop during your trip.
Consider making your gas purchases with cards instead of cash so you can reduce the number of face to face interactions you will have to make. Remember a card can be sanitized with a wipe after use, cash is a lot harder to keep clean. Another point to keep in mind is that many public restrooms are closed during the pandemic. While some restaurants and fast food establishment may have open restrooms, many are keeping their restrooms closed to the public for sanitary reasons. This means that you may have to rely on roadside rest areas on your voyage so be prepared. Use paper towels or disposable gloves to touch all surfaces and be vigilant with your hand washing and sanitizing routine.
Dining and Sleeping
Restaurants in some states have resumed dine-in service, but you should be aware of the changes in the area you’re traveling to such as limits to the amount of customers allowed inside at any time and extra space between tables. In the states where dining in isn’t allowed yet, take-out service is generally available as well as drive through’s in many areas. This is where you may want to consider doing a home rental for your vacation you’ll have a kitchen where you can cook your own meals so you can visit a local grocery store and stock up or pack a cooler and bring groceries from home.
If you need to stay at a hotel during your stay make sure to call ahead to confirm your reservation, check in time, and check out rules. Most hotels are open for business again, especially from big chains, but not all so be prepared and make sure your reservations are solid. While hotels are rethinking their approach to sanitization and social distance due to the pandemic, it’s a good idea to practice your own sanitization routine during your stay. This includes wiping down things like door handles and doorknobs, the tv remote, and bathroom fixtures. You should also wipe down any surface your belongings are coming in contact with like tabletops and the counter around the bathroom sink.
As we all adjust to the new normal during this pandemic it is important to remember that public safety is all of our responsibility. With a few precautions though and some planning there is no reason why you and your family can’t enjoy your vacation this summer.