As hopeful as wandering hearts were earlier in the year, it’s now looking like 2021 will be another cautious year for travel. The pandemic remains a health hazard, but remaining cooped up at home has some folks feeling like the quarantine season will never end. That said, there are ways to make your next road trip safer. Check out these tips from This Adventure Life on how to make it happen.
Pack Everything Up
A safe vehicle requires more than a stockpile of hand sanitizer in the glove box. But a road trip can be a cheap way to get out and see the world, especially if you’ve cut costs to pad your travel budget. Here’s what you’ll need to bring on the road for a COVID-safe car trip.
Spare Tire Change Kit
You have a spare tire on board, but do you have the necessary tools to change a tire on the shoulder safely? Add a tire jack to your kit, plus some flares, caution reflectors, and a tire pressure gauge. Some motorists might want to add gloves to their kit, or at least some paper towels in case of greasy residue.
Heavy-Duty Floor Mats
Traveling in winter weather can mean tons of messes inside your car. Sure, a dirty carpet isn’t fun, but a slippery under-foot surface can mean hazards for the driver. Consider investing in properly fitted floor mats to avoid slippage and unnecessary mess. Check out the materials and reviews before buying a set of mats — and make sure they’ll fit in your vehicle, too.
Emergency Rations and Resources
No one wants to imagine being stranded on the side of the road (let alone in the winter), but it does happen. Give yourself and your travel companions peace of mind by adding a few emergency essentials to your prep kit — thermal blankets and granola bars are a few simple additions that can help you tough out a breakdown.
Water is another must, though it is heavy and bulky. You can survive longer without food than you can without hydration, though, so don’t take any chances.
Plan to Sanitize on the Road
Packing for a road trip often involves cramming a lot of stuff into a small space. But this time around, you might need to bring even more gear. From hand sanitizer to spare face masks, your supplies need to come from home and be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Make sure you have sanitizing wipes on hand for cleaning surfaces you might need to touch. Also, consider packing hand soap and a container of tap water for handwashing; the CDC confirms that soap and water are just as effective as alcohol. Plus, sanitizer only goes so far when road grime builds up.
Think ahead and plan your bathroom breaks, refueling stops, and any other necessities to avoid exposure to other travelers. For example, plan to get gas (and sanitize after) along the freeway, but plan stops to stretch your legs in less populated areas like parks or vista points.
The fewer surfaces you touch — think door handles, store carts, faucets — the less likely you are to contract any type of germ or virus.
Perform a Pre-Trip Inspection
While you don’t need a 50-point inspection, checking your vehicle’s tire pressure and fluid levels is a smart move before hitting the road. Be sure your oil is topped off, but check washer fluid, too. A clean windshield is a safety feature, too.
Ensure that your tires have the appropriate pressure for the conditions you’ll be driving in. Low temperatures, in particular, can cause tire punctures or other damage due to low pressure, notes Firestone.
Holidays tend to be one of the most dangerous times to drive, but being proactive and staying in your lane — literally — can help ensure safe travels. In addition to standard safety precautions, enjoying a COVID-era road trip also involves planning ahead and packing your sanitizing supplies. With a bit of legwork ahead of time, you’ll have a car trip that’s memorable in a good way. For more travel inspiration — including destination ideas — visit This Adventure Life blog!
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