Earlier this year we were in lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. Now that we’re slowly coming out of isolation, many of us have decided to take trips we missed, visit friends and family, or just to get out of the house.
Air travel is an option, but is it a safe one? Many airlines are having passengers practice social distancing and have put additional sanitizing and disinfecting practices into place between flights, but most of us still aren’t comfortable with the thought of breathing recycled air for at least a few hours, even with our masks on.
If you’ve decided to hit the open road and rekindle your relationship with road trips, we’ve got some tips to keep you safe and happy while you traverse the highways and byways, pandemic-style.
1. Reduce Your Mileage
COVID-19 may have dashed your plans to travel cross-country this year, but that’s okay -- you can still have a great vacation, even if you don’t rack up as many miles as originally planned.
In fact, even a staycation or a day trip are good compromises to get a break and limit your exposure to germs and hot-spot areas of infection.
The CDC recommends staying in your home state to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, if you do plan to travel out of state, you should check with your destination state’s guidelines to determine if you’ll be required to self-quarantine when you arrive. Additionally, you’ll want to check your destination’s COVID-19 cases to give you an idea of how safe it is to travel there; leaving one COVID hot spot for another probably isn’t the getaway you’re looking for.
2. Minimize Your Stops by Packing Food
Traveling during a pandemic should consist of getting from point A to point B while minimizing the amount of stops you make along the way. The more stops you make, the more you put yourself at risk of exposure to germs.
Consider packing food so you don’t have to stop for meals. A cooler packed with ice and refrigerated foods that are cold to start with can safely keep contents below 40 degrees.
Make bathroom and gas stops one and the same. Bypass mid-trip visits and avoid heavily populated areas like busy rest areas.
3. Pack Multiple Masks
When you’re packing for your trip, don’t forget your mask. Make sure you have enough for every family member so that everyone can have a clean mask every day of the trip. You can buy masks or make them yourself, and disposable masks can really come in handy here.
Keep your masks over your nose and mouth when you enter restaurants, gas stations, and other public areas. If you take public transportation, wear your mask the entire time.
If you’ve got kids (or let’s be honest, even adults) who loathe mask-wearing, make masks as positive an experience as possible. Let kids decorate their masks for the trip, and make sure adults have masks that are comfortable to keep complaints at a minimum.
4. Use Hand Sanitizer, and Lots of It
Gas stations, rest areas, and fast food places epitomize road trips… and germs.
Protect yourself and your travel companions by packing enough hand sanitizer for your trip, and then some. Hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol can effectively remove 99.9% of bacteria, germs, and spores from not only your hands, but also non-porous surfaces like your smartphone, steering wheel, and door handle.
The next time you stop for gas or a bathroom break, spray some sanitizer on high traffic surfaces even inside your car to help keep your car as germ-free as possible.
Tablets and smartphones get a lot of use during car trips, too. Use a hand sanitizer spray every so often to quickly clean screens and cases so you can keep using your device with a much lower risk of transferring germs and bacteria to your hands, and eventually, to your face.
Every member of your caravan can carry their own hand sanitizer (make sure your younger travelers are always supervised), but you don’t have to buy a trillion tiny bottles of hand sanitizer spray either. Sanitizer.com offers a family protection kit that contains everything you need to keep hands and surfaces sanitized while you travel, and a convenient refill bucket so you don’t have to worry about running out while you’re on the road.
When you’ve got effective hand sanitizer spray in tow, the germs lurking on gas nozzle handles and in public restrooms don’t stand a chance.
5. Bring Along Some Disposable Gloves
Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of sickness, but if you’re not able to wash your hands after pumping gas or stopping at a convenient store, you can mitigate the germ pickup by wearing disposable gloves.
Disposable gloves also come in handy if you find yourself changing a tire, adding windshield washer fluid, or performing any other unexpected car maintenance that could make your hands dirty.
Even though wearing gloves helps decrease the transfer of germs and bacteria from high-touch surfaces to your hands, you’ll still want to use some hand sanitizer when you take your gloves off.
6. Have Plastic Bags Handy for Trash
Gloves, used masks, food wrappers, and tissues have to go somewhere, and the floormats aren’t the place. Pack disposable plastic bags so you can keep trash in its place while you travel. This not only reduces the amount of stops you need to make to clear your car of trash, but it isolates trash to prevent the spread of germs.
If you want to be more environmentally savvy, you can pack a reusable trash bag, but once the bag has been emptied, be sure to use a sanitizing spray to quickly sanitize the bag before it is used again.
7. Prioritize Good Attitudes, and Patience
A road trip requires a positive outlook and some extra patience under normal circumstances.
Traveling during a pandemic calls for a little more of each.
Factor in extra time for stops, remembering you’ll have to take extra precautions like sanitizing hands and surfaces as you and your travel companions get back in the car. Remind younger family members why it’s important to practice good hygiene and social distancing habits if they become frustrated with the extra road trip rules.
Don’t forget to have fun, either. Road trips can be memorable, pandemic or not. Print pandemic travel bingo cards, wear fun masks, and take turns being the official sanitizing officer responsible for cleaning surfaces during stops.
Where to Get Your Road-Ready Sanitizer
Sanitizer for your road trip is an absolute must. The best sanitizer to take with you should have at least 70% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol so it is effective on hands and surfaces so you can use the same handy spray on your hands, tablets, phones, and any other surface that germs have decided to stow away on.
Sanitizer.com has high-powered sanitizer at prices that won’t affect your travel budget. Our sanitizer has the ingredients you need, and nothing you don’t, containing just isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, glycerin, and water.
Our monthly subscription also makes it easy to get the sanitizer you need when you get back. No more scrambling from store to store or being ripped off by price hikes. If you’re not into commitment, that’s okay, too -- you can always buy your bottles one at a time.
Stay safe and have fun on your next road trip. Pack the essentials, bring along a little extra patience, and enjoy your travels knowing you’re keeping yourself and others safe, one sanitizing spritz at a time.