Tips to Help You Plan Your Post-Coronavirus Road Trip

Everyone has a touch of cabin fever after the worldwide COVID-19 (coronavirus) lockdowns. So it’s no surprise that people want to travel soon. But you’ll want to consider a few new strategies to protect yourself and others.

Rethinking RV travel and changing your perceptions is the key to getting the most out of your next camping adventure. Yes, driving trips are still possible, but the road rules are a little different for now.

Highway 12 Scenic Byway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A good driving trip can teach you something important for your mental health: The world is huge and most of it thrives without the slightest concern for human headlines. As lockdown orders end and isolation recommendations ease, the number of travelers on the roads will increase.

Yes, RV road trips are safe—as long as you take steps to protect both yourself and others.

US-321 between Gatlinburg and Townsend in East Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Road trips in 2020 are not like the road trips that came before. This year requires a bit more planning and patience, not just for your own health but to protect other people as well. If you’re planning a road trip—even one that only lasts a few days—you’ll need to consider several new strategies. Don’t worry. The scenery is the same.

Bring hand sanitizer

Francis Beider Forest, South Carilina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s not possible to have a road trip and not touch anything. You’ll be handling fuel pumps, money at check-outs, credit card/debit terminals, the doorknobs of gas station washrooms, and lots of other unexpected things.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Carry a big bottle of sanitizer in your RV and toad—and keep it out of sight because amazingly there have been cases of muggings and burglary in which hand sanitizer was the target. So hide the stuff as if it were money. For that matter, you might also consider bringing some toilet paper in case some lout ahead of you stole what the gas station had.

Drive carefully

Applegate River Valley, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This sounds like standard advice, but these aren’t standard times. People are not driving normally right now. Traffic-free conditions bring out the worst in drivers who think they don’t have to observe the rules anymore. Some locales have even adjusted the timings on stoplights to enforce traffic calming on overenthusiastic drivers.

Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other drivers are traveling slower or more erratic because they’re stressed or they haven’t been behind the wheel much in a while. Even steady drivers are feeling taut as drums because they’re afraid of getting in an accident that will send them to the belly of the beast—i.e., the ER.

Whitehall, New York © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To preserve your sanity and to keep ambulances working on more important jobs, maintain the speed limit and put ample distance between you and the other vehicles on the road.

Plan RV parks ahead of time

River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t assume you can find last-minute RV parks and campgrounds as you travel. It may be possible in some areas but not as easy as it was previously. RV parks are operating in a different way these days. Two new wrinkles affect road trips in particular: Not all private RV parks and public campgrounds are open and not all of them are accepting reservations from non-essential workers and overnight RVers.

On-Ur-Way RV Park, Onowa, Iowa © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

So plan your route and nail down your campgrounds ahead of time. (Aren’t you glad you brought that extra toilet paper now?)

Maintain social distance

Bluegrass Country, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Your RV is your domain. You don’t need to worry much about new pathogens appearing in there. But whenever you step outside, Pandemic Rules go back in effect. Keep your distance from everyone.

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refufe, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You’ll need to pack more patience. You may need to wait longer for a scenic viewpoint to empty out. You may need to pass on popular hiking trails that don’t provide enough space. But you will find alternatives—a parking spot that’s a little farther down the road, a vantage point that few others have discovered, and unexpected hidden gems.

Mount Lemmon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

We still may not have a cure-all for what’s troubling our bodies, but travel has always been a panacea for troubled minds.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”