Many people are having cabin fever after isolating these past weeks. Although health officials are urging all Americans to avoid any nonessential domestic travel, there are many families who will travel in the months ahead.
Consider these tips for any driving trip you may be considering to stay safe.
Take Time to Prepare
Even if you are an expert at traveling, things are different now. Each state may have different rules. Be aware of changes to toll collection, rest-area rules, just to name a few. The Federal Highway Administration should have the latest information about any Covid-19 related changes which are state-specific.
Packing and sanitizing
Be sure to pack some essentials that you may not have had to consider for previous trips. These include hand sanitizer, disinfecting wet wipes, disposable gloves, sealable disposable plastic bags and tissues.
Good hygiene on the road is much like that at home with thorough hand washing before eating and after using the rest room. This may require extra vigilance when it comes to high-traffic roadside stops such as gas stations and public bathrooms, It is advisable that drivers wear disposable gloves while pumping gas, rather than worrying about wiping down the nozzle itself. Discard the gloves outside your car or seal them in a plastic bag for disposal later if a trash can isn’t available.
In public restrooms, be careful not to touch fixtures like the faucet or door handle after washing your hands, which she says “defeats the purpose” of handwashing (instead, use a piece of tissue or paper towel to shield your hands after washing).
Another tip: Pay for gas with cards, not cash. This eliminates the face-to-face interaction necessary for a cash transaction, and cards — but not cash — can always be cleaned with a disinfectant wipe after use.
Restaurants in some states are resuming dine-in service — but expect changes like limits on the number of guests allowed inside and extra space between tables. In states where a sit-down meal still isn’t allowed, drive-through and takeout service are typically available instead.
If you need to stay somewhere overnight, call ahead to confirm your reservation; some hotels have closed, especially in big tourist centers. But many of the hotels from major chains that you’ll find along highways are still operating.
Hotels are also rethinking their approach to sanitization and social distancing in light of the outbreak and have announced ramped-up cleaning and safety standards to be rolled out in the weeks and months to come, like the use of hospital-grade disinfectants and contactless guest check-in procedures.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association has also developed guidelines that outline stringent cleaning procedures for everything from elevator buttons to exercise equipment.
It is recommended to use your own sanitizing supplies on “high-touch” surfaces in your room. This includes wiping down exterior and interior doorknobs and handles; the TV remote and bathroom fixtures; and any surfaces on which you’ll rest your belongings, like tabletops or the area around the bathroom sink.