Your Essential COVID-19 Guide to Staying Safe on the Family Road Trip This Summer

Traveling alone, together

Memorial Day is less than three weeks away which means the summer travel season is here. But with major airlines grounded, 90 percent of routes cancelled, the cruise industry hemorrhaging, and travel to Europe banned, the pickings are slim.

Highway 12 Scenic Byway, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

However, on the upside, fuel is cheap, crowds are down, traffic’s light, and RV rental deals abound. With 28 states slowly re-opening and easing stay-at-home orders, non-essential travel is back throughout most of America. So instead of sacking your summer plans and sulking at home there’s never been a better time to pack your family up in the RV and hit the road on an adventure.

Bush Highway, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Here are 10 tips to make sure your summer vacation road trip is safe, sane, and life-sustaining.

1. Assemble a Corona Road Kit to assist in practicing safe hygiene and social distancing wherever you are and in all types of different public environments. This is as much for your own safety as the safety of the people you come into contact with. Some of the obvious basics include disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, disposable plastic gloves (buy them in bulk), face masks, rubbing alcohol, and bleach.

Newfound Gap Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Disinfect your RV and car frequently. Your vehicles are mobile “high-touch” surface areas both inside and out. Your door handles, seatbelts, gear shift, emergency brake, steering wheel, turn signals, phone chargers, seat adjusters, and every other knob and button you’re constantly grabbing are potential sources to transmit coronavirus. The good news is that you and your family likely will be the only ones in your vehicles. The risk is when you get back into your car from the grocery store, eating at a restaurant, fueling up, or returning to your RV you could be bringing the virus with you.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Use disinfecting wipes to clean down all the high-contact surfaces every time you get back into your car or RV. On any road trip your RV and car are your safe spaces. Keep it that way.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Stock up on essentials. A simple way to avoid the risk of contracting coronavirus is to avoid doing the same thing more times than necessary. Plan your trip to include stops at the grocery store and fueling up to minimize social contact.

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Stay in areas where social distancing comes naturally. The last place anyone looking after their health right now likely wants to be is in Las Vegas or any other large city. It’s more difficult to maintain social distance in high density areas than in small towns and rural areas. Consider not only where you’re traveling but also the availability of RV parks and campgrounds in the area.

Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, Williams, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Pre-plan your activities. Wherever you travel this summer many locations and activities that require close contact with others including amusement and theme parks, casinos, and water parks will be closed. Research in advance what you can and cannot do wherever you’re going, especially if you’re traveling with children and plan accordingly for your own quarantine entertainment. Bring hiking boots, bikes, fishing rods, and golf clubs. Pack board games, puzzles, iPads, and charger.

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Be sensitive to locals. Numerous articles have been written recently criticizing the tens of thousands of people who fled New York and Toronto and other dense, urban cities to second homes and vacation rentals in more rural areas. Be respectful of the full-time residents in any town or location you’re visiting. They are struggling to keep their small businesses afloat and their families safe and will appreciate every effort you make to support them through your travel spending while respecting local social distancing guidelines and quarantine requirements.

Lake County, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Understand your health insurance and have a plan. This should go without saying especially for those traveling with children or anyone already predisposed to contracting coronavirus due to pre-existing conditions or compromised immunities. If you do get sick on the road, understand exactly where and how to get treated immediately. Put a plan in place in advance. When you register at an RV park inquire as to the protocols they have in place should someone become infected.

Wawasee Lake, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Always be prepared. Do your due diligence by completing preventive maintenance on the RV and toad. Carry a basic tool kit (store on curb side), LCD flashlights, spare batteries, and first aid kit.

Bluegrass Country, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Last but not least. Enjoy nature. Get off the beaten path. Go some place that you’ve never been. Explore. The coronavirus pandemic has confined hundreds of millions like never before. A good old-fashioned road trip will remind you to never take your freedom for granted again.

Crowley, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

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