No one could have predicted what the world is facing right now. The pandemic has stopped almost all international travel, but road trips in America are still popular. Whether you’re heading to the national parks, camping grounds, or driving on the scenic routes of America, you’ll need our seven tips to plan a fall road trip during this unprecedented time.
Note: Remember, at Travelmath, safety is first. Stay home if you are not feeling well.
1. Choose your destinations
Gone are the days when you can do whatever you want and go wherever the road takes you. Many states have travel restrictions in place, and social distancing is a must. National parks and less crowded destinations have become the top choices for most road trippers now.
Once you have selected your destinations, start researching and contacting the places you are visiting – find out if reservations are required, the opening hours, and rules you need to know before you go.
2. Route planning
Don’t leave it to the last minute because the “new normal” requires extra effort and lots of patience. Start planning your route now. Use Travelmath’s calculators to help you plan:
- Driving distance – find out the distance from point A to B.
- Driving time – find out how long it takes to drive from point A to B
- Halfway point – if all you need is just a pit stop at the halfway point between your hometown and your destination, we suggest using the halfway point calculator. Get refueling, grab a meal, and use the restroom.
- Stopover points – use the stopover point calculator if you need multiple pit stops. For example, if you drive from New York City to Miami, the calculator suggested stopping around Baltimore, Charlotte, and Orlando.
3. Have a packing list
Besides all the usual travel packing lists, now you can’t leave home without your personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE includes:
- Face masks
- Hand sanitizers
- Disposable gloves
- Disinfecting wipes
- Hand soap
- First aid kit including medications
Also, bring food and water for the days when you have limited access to restaurants.
4. Limit pit stops
Plan your stops carefully before leaving home to limit contact with others and adhere to social distancing rules. Download the USA Road Stops app to find the rest stops on the Interstates, US, and state highways. iExit Interstate Exit Guide is another app you must have to find gas stations, food stops, and places to stay.
These apps are available on Android and Apple devices.
Here are a few things to consider when planning your pit stops:
- It’s best to get health updates and local requirements from the CDC before hitting the road. Check out CDC’s health directories for the 50 states. Don’t go to regions with increased infections.
- Wear your face masks in public toilets, convenient stores, and when ordering food in a restaurant.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly.
- Wear gloves when handling the gas pump at the gas station and when in a place with high touch surfaces.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Pay with credit cards to minimize face-to-face interactions.
5. Plan road trip meals
Look for restaurants that offer curbside or drive through services for meals on the road. Your iExit app will be an excellent source to search for restaurants while you’re on the road. Or pack and prepare your meals and store it in a portable 12V cooler (fridge) for cars or a Yeti cooler. Also, pack non-perishables and perishables that do not require refrigeration. You can always buy more when needed at your destination or while on the road.
Don’t forget to pack snacks and water too.
6. Book your hotels in advance
Stay in hotels that are taking precautions to protect guests and adhere to the recommendations of health experts. Be sure to ask for a room that is vacant for at least 24 hours. When in doubt, disinfect light switches, doorknobs, faucets, remote control, and faucets.
Be sure to book for all your stays and that rooms are available.
7. Get your car ready for your road trip
Before you hit the road, take your car to the auto shop for essential maintenance and make sure your vehicle is in excellent shape. AAA recommends checking the battery, testing the tires, wipers, checking all fluids including radiator coolant, and inspecting belts and hoses.