Summer 2020: The Season of Road Trips

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I think we can all honestly say that the summer of 2020 will live in our minds forever.  Staying close to home, reducing vacation costs and staying healthy have been the goal for all of us this summer.  Whether you are planning a family road trip, a trip for two or just driving solo, we’ve put together a few tips to help you prepare for the road.

Get Your Feet Wet by Taking a Day Trip first.  If you are planning an extended road trip, we suggest you get your feet wet by planning a day trip close to home.  This will give you an indication of what you’ll need to do to prepare.  For example, how many snacks you will need and how much hand sanitizer you will go through in a day.  Your one-day trip will help you get an idea of what to expect for your longer trip.

Get Your Car Ready for the Road.  AAA published a helpful checklist to help you make sure your vehicle is as ready for your road trip as you are.  It’s especially important this year, as availability of service might be limited, and few outside contacts are desirable.  If your own vehicle is not the best option for a long road trip, why not rent one that’s bigger and more fun to drive?  Picture yourself in a cute red convertible for rolling down Highway One or a sturdy SUV for tackling mountain roads.  Or, you can opt for a sleek luxury car for a smooth, stylish ride.  No matter what rental company you decide to work with, be sure to review their cleanliness policies, along with pickup, return and pricing. 

Plan Your Route and Keep it as Simple as Possible. Preparation for any road trip is essential but especially important during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Limit the number of places you visit and make a note of rest areas that may be closed so you can plan your stops appropriately.  Also, as tempting as it may be to visit as many landmarks and quick stops along the way, keep your list of must-sees short to avoid additional exposure to large groups of people.  Visit the Roadtrippers website for assistance in planning your route.  Know your roads, highways, and freeways to avoid detours and unexpected closures.  Your local AAA can provide up-to-date road information and directions.  

Gear Up.  Make a list of items that you’ll need and want along the way.  Stock the cooler with all your snacks and beverages.  Pack a travel kit, including masks for everyone plus a few extras, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, isopropyl alcohol wipes for phones, travel laundry detergent to wash fabric masks, and a thermometer.  It is also advisable to include an extra cell phone charger, first-aid kit, blanket, flashlight, basic tools, jumper cables and gloves.

Don’t Take a Vacation from Safety.  Keep yourself and others traveling with you healthy during your summer road trip by following CDC guidelines.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; washing your hands frequently; keeping six feet of physical distance; and wearing a face covering.  Car and RV travel are considered lower-risk options.

Research Ways to Save.  While taking a summer road trip can reduce your vacation expenses, it still won’t be cheap.   A little research could help you find great deals on hotel stays and attractions.  See what businesses are offering travel deals online and use an app like GasBuddy to help you make the most of your fuel.

Make Safer Purchases.  It’s always a good idea to bring a little cash on your trip, just for emergencies.  It’s also prudent to rely on your credit or debit card for your expenses on the road.  Remember, these cards add extra protection against theft and fraud while making it easier to track your spending. 

Monitor the Coronavirus Spread.  As your road trip gets closer, be sure to watch for COVID updates from the communities you plan to visit.  Some of your destinations may have adjusted hours or close on certain days for increased cleaning measures.  

We would be remiss not to mention that safe travel isn’t just the responsibility of hotels, restaurants and popular destinations.  Heeding state and local laws are imperative in keeping yourself and others safe.  We will all need to modify our behavior and make adjustments, so travel is possible this summer and for the rest of 2020.

So, if the open road is calling you, play it safe for a truly memorable summer road trip.