Coronavirus has the world on lockdown. For weeks or months, we’ve been cooped up inside, riding out the storm from our sofa. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that life online is no substitute for the real thing. As summer approaches, the blue skies and golden rays are only going to make the cabin fever more intense. With air travel off the cards, American’s are likely to return to the freedom of the open road. But before your rubber meets the road, consider these tips.
Take Safety Protection
Good hygiene on the road is even more essential than back home. Make sure you’re able to wash your hands regularly, whether with soap and water or alcohol gel. Also, a pack of disposable gloves is useful when pumping gas, or going to a public restroom.
Top tip: Pay with cards, not cash – cutting down face-to-face interaction. Plus, you don’t know where that change has been.
Plan Your Trip
Planning is vital. Travel restrictions are in place across certain states, and local authorities can quarantine you for 14 days. A spontaneous detour might be scenic, but can cause unnecessary hassle. For example, Florida has suspended all in-person toll payments.
Stay aware of the changing situation. Check out the Federal Highway Administration directory of state Department of Transportation websites for the latest information.
Consider Where to Sleep
If you’re not travelling in an RV, you’re going to need somewhere to sleep. Many hotels have closed, particularly in popular tourist centres. However, some major chains are still open – such as Hilton and Best Western – and guests are now able to change or cancel reservations up to 24 hours in advance with no penalty. If in doubt, ring to confirm your booking.
Prepare to Cook Yourself
In most states, restaurants are closed, though drive-throughs and takeout are generally available. Look at it as a fantastic opportunity to practice a little outdoor dining. With a simple stove or portable barbeque, you can quickly rustle up a fabulous meal, be it mac and cheese or a great steak. Then, crack open a beer and enjoy.
Prep Your Car
About a third of drivers only clean their car’s insides once a year. Your steering wheel is likely four times dirtier than a restroom. So, make sure to wipe all the surfaces down and clean the carpets.
After you’ve cleaned, pack a box of essentials. Drinks, snacks, water and fuel will reduce the number of stops, and are handy in an emergency.
Get Off the Beaten Track
In the post-coronavirus world, you’ll be wanting to avoid tourist hotspots. Consider this the perfect chance to check out America’s forgotten wonders. Letchworth State Park, New York contains winding gorges and cascading falls; the locals call it the ‘Grand Canyon of the East’. Or head down to St. Augustine, Florida, which claims to be the oldest city in the US, dating back to 1565. The Spanish architecture is dazzling in the summer sun.
After weeks online, you probably want to get away from it all – to reconnect with nature. America has thousands of hidden gems. Drive through the Garden of the Gods in Colorado, where red rock monoliths jut out of the lush undergrowth, or venture out to Block Island near Martha’s Vineyard, and treat yourself to 17 miles of pristine crowd-free beaches.
Whatever you do this summer: think smart and stay safe!