The Covid-19 situation isn’t over yet. The whole world is fighting. People are still dying, getting hospitalized, and losing their dear ones. But life must go on. We can not sit back at home forever, forgetting our responsibilities, work and life.
Slowly, people across the world are learning to live with the Covid-19. There are mandatory precautions to be taken; people are aware of their activities and know how to behave outside their home.
At some point of time, we have to go out and survive the fittest. Slowly, the respective governments have lifted off the restrictions, and businesses and people are starting to live a normal life.
But the truth is our life is no longer normal. Every time we go out, there are safety protocols that we must follow to protect ourselves from the deadly virus.
Recently, my husband and I had to travel on an emergency basis to our hometown, where our parents live.
Due to the pandemic and lockdown, our aged parents were living there alone. We planned to take a road trip from our current city to our hometown (around 2000 km) in desperation to meet and see them.
Though flight journey is flexible, still we thought that if we go by the road in our car, it will be safer.
There are people like us too who haven’t gone home and met their parents for a long time.
In this blog post, I will share all about the ‘checklist for a safe road trip during covid-19’, following which you will be safer from the risks.
Important Tips for a safe road trip During Covid-19
Planning your route is Important
Even if not during the Covid-19 situation, planning your route on a road trip is always important. While making the plan for the road trip, make sure to finalize which route you will take.
It is always advisable to follow the highway when you are connecting major cities. In case of any emergencies on the road, highways have the best access to the cities.
Since you are traveling during the Covid-19, highways are always the best.
Sanitize Your Car/Vehicle
Sanitizing is one of the key things to do and remember. You must not forget to sanitize your entire car, both exterior, and interior if you plan for a road trip.
It is again even more important to sanitize if you are taking a rental car. There are several alcohol-based sprays and disinfectants that are now available in the market. We use either ‘Dettol’ or ‘Savlon’ disinfectant spray in our car.
Before starting your trip, you must spray and use them to clean the insides of the car. Especially, wipe the areas where it is being touched the most, like the car-door handle, dashboard, steering, gear, etc.
It would be best if you also get your car fully serviced so that your car doesn’t get stuck or broken in the middle of the road.
Mask & Alcohol-based sanitizer is a must
You can not afford to travel these days without carrying a good mask and an alcohol-based sanitizer. The WHO has announced that only sanitizers that contain 60% or more alcohol is strong to fight the COVID-19 virus.
When you are out on a road trip, you have to be very cautious of what you are touching. So, it is advisable to use the sanitizer frequently.
Whenever you will get out of your car, touch anything only if it is necessary, make sure to use the sanitizer immediately.
There are a lot of varieties of sanitizer available in the market. Please do read the alcohol content before purchasing. You can fill the liquid in separate small containers and pass it to each member of your family who are supposed to travel.
Similarly, you must use a good quality mask. I would recommend cotton masks are really good as it is washable and keeps your mouth and nose completely protected.
Download Essential Apps on Your Phone
For a safe road trip during Covid situation, is to download a few essential apps on your phone like offline Google map, PayTM for cashless payment, government Arogya Setu.
Since social distancing is way more important now, keeping a few essential apps can make your travel go easier.
If you are in a country where you think you will need a language directory or help, you can download a language app as well. There are several paid language translator app that you can try.
Carry Food with You
Gone are those days when you just hop-on to your car with only bags of clothes, shoes, and other items and precisely not food.
Now, we are living COVID-19 days where we must take extra care of ourselves and our family for the sake of survival. No one wants to get infected and hospitalized. It’s a horrible feeling.
On our road trip, we made sure that we won’t eat outside food. Since the road trip was a 2-day trip, we carried food with us to survive for two days. It’s difficult but a necessary thing to do indeed.
I believe, the time we are facing now, a road trip will be safer if you carry homecooked meal and avoid eating outside food.
For example, You can carry dry fruits, biscuits, fruits like banana, guava, apple, bread, chapati, and dry homecooked vegetables. You can use an air-tight food container and foil to keep your food safe and intact.
It will be easier if you carry a small portable gas stove where you can cook your food and serve hot.
If you are traveling with your kid, make sure to take all her/his food. Homecooked food are always a better option when you are on the road.
Make Less Unnecessary Stops
Yes, making less physical contact is possible when you make fewer unnecessary stops. For a safe road trip during COVID-19, stopping by the roadside for a cup of tea or taking a selfie is unnecessary.
These are times when one should only make a stop if there is an urgency, like refilling oil in your car, for the bathroom, or just for 5 minutes of stretch.
Above all, do not forget to wash and sanitize your hand.
Avoid going to Public bathroom
I know it is unavoidable. When you are on long hours of road drive, bathroom breaks are very much needed.
But the question is, are these public bathrooms safe?
Not at all.
Hundreds of people are using them and touching them; how can they be safe?
The public bathrooms are the most vulnerable and unsafe place during these times of COVID.
We faced the same issue. We were worried. Later, we came up with a solution that we will follow a few steps for safety whenever we use public bathrooms.
First, the mask is a must.
Second, use a disinfectant spray in the bathroom door handle.
Third, not to touch anything unnecessarily.
Fourth, carry dry soap strips. These are very helpful; actually, I bought them just a day before starting our road trip. Using them is easy; just a few drops of water and your hands are all clean.
Fifth, repeat the process, sanitizing both the palms properly.
Use Credit Card Over Cash
Another extremely important safety protocol that you must follow for a safe road trip during COVID is going cashless.
The use of credit or debit cards are better now than using cash. As you know, the COVID-19 virus spreads when touched, by which I mean ‘cash requires hand-to-hand exchanges.’
You cannot use disinfectant or sanitizer on a note. But you can sanitize your card. So, it minimizes the risks.
There are other ways of money transactions, too, besides a card like online payment through apps.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
When you are indoor, washing hands frequently isn’t needed. But on a road trip, you and your family members are out the entire days, which makes it necessary to wash your hands with soap frequently.
I have mentioned on a point above about using ‘dry soap strips’ for a safe road trip during COVID-19.
Be Extra cautious If You Have Kids
We always get extra protective of our kids. Needless to say, if you are planning a road trip with your kid, especially during COVID, parents have to take more precautions.
You can not let your kids wander around and touch anything outside your sanitized car environment. Parents must not stop over and eat restaurant food. Wash and sanitized their palms frequently.
If you are spending a night in the hotel, make sure you choose the right hotel. Parents must carry a towel, paper towel, 10 liters of water, and a good disinfectant spray.
Carry a Basic First-aid Kit
For a safe road trip during COVID or not, carrying a basic first-aid kit is always essential. You never know what occurs or happens when you are on the road. You might not find a pharmacy when there is a medical emergency.
So, you should always keep a first-aid kit in your car. If your road trip is a long one, make sure to carry a few basic medicines as well.
Select Hotels that Follows Safety Protocols
Following the safety, protocols is one of the important things to consider during COVID-19. If your road trip is an overnight trip, you would probably think of spending the night in a hotel.
Choosing the right hotel should be your top priority. There are a few things to consider before choosing a hotel during the time of the pandemic.
You must choose a well-sanitized hotel where the hotel keeper sanitizes the rooms, wear a mask, gloves, maintain social distancing and accept online payment.
Make sure you and your family members wash their hands properly each time they touch surfaces like door handles, lift buttons, etc.
Do not let them assist in carrying your bags and parking your car as it involves touching your things.
It is advisable to carry an extra bed sheet and pillow cover; it’s for your own safety.
Avoid Going to Crowded Restaurants and Shops
You must not go to the restaurants and shops that are crowded. There are several restaurants and shops that you will find by the side of the highways.
Usually, they remain crowded as these are the only places where travelers and path-goers stop by to eat and get fresh.
It is important that to have a safe road trip during COVID, you must avoid going to crowded places unless it is urgent.
Do not Avoid COVID testing
While on the road or even before the road trip, if there is any possibility of taking a COVID test, don’t be scared. Well, testing is a hassle, but that’s not a bad thing also.
Testing should be done only if you have symptoms. If you have any symptoms and are not well, consult your doctor before planning your trip.
These pointers will determine how anyone who is planning to have a road trip during COVID will be safe enough.
Follow these safety protocols, and you will have an enjoyable, safe road trip with your family.