Chances are you've been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With everything shutting down, even going to the grocery store can be anxiety-inducing and if you're anything like me, going anywhere near the airport is enough to incite a full on panic attack.
However, I am here to help ease some of that panic, and to tell you that (if you must) there are ways to travel while still practicing social distancing.
It seems as if the entire world is using social distancing like a pay-as-you-go auto insurance plan. Yes, that's a thing, and with nobody knowing how long this all may last, making these tips a part of your travel routine will help ensure you truly safe travels.
Tips for Long Distance Driving
No matter what the reason for your travel, driving could be your better option. Between the low price of gas and low chances of traffic, you could get a road trip experience unlike any other.
If you have to take a trip for business purposes, you may need to check if you can count auto insurance as a business expense. However, whether for fun, work, or family, here are a few tips and tools to keep your road trip COVID-19 approved:
Wash Your Car
As if you really need a reason to sing the car wash song, but thanks to COVID-19 you have one. If it's been awhile since you've cleaned the inside of your car, now is the time for that spring sprucing, especially if you supplement your income by driving for any rideshare, or food delivery services.
You can do this yourself at any self wash station for extremely cheap, and it's a good idea to wash your car occasionally whether you plan on driving or not.
Wipe Everything Down before Packing the Car
Make sure you're starting your trip safely by taking this extra step. The items you may be packing are likely things you haven't pulled out for awhile due to quarantine so giving each item an extra rub down will ensure you're not carrying around any germs that you're trying to avoid bringing with you.
Bring Enough Masks
Since road trips require stops it's smart to have multiple masks that you can reuse. Personally I've washed the main one I use for store runs, but on the road you likely won't have that option so having disposable or multiple masks to reuse will help keep you and others safe.
Look for the rest stops, gas stations, and places to stay overnight ahead of time. Just knowing where you can stop if needed will be helpful because the last thing you want is to feel that urge to go and run into multiple closed shops.
Have Disinfectant and Soap Handy
Depending on how long you're planning to drive, I highly recommend bringing Clorox wipes to use on the handles for any public doors, gas pumps, and products or snacks you plan on bringing into your vehicle.
Also keeping soap handy to use to wash your hands with a water bottle or whatever water is available will go much farther than just hand sanitizer. Plus regular soap kills more germs.
Though it is best to stay home during this time if you or someone you know begin to experience high levels of anxiety or depression from staying inside all the time, hitting the road for a weekend could be just what's needed.
Things to Consider While Flying
My advice here isn't to catch a flight to Atlanta or Vegas, but even with COVID-19, needing to fly could be inevitable. Our world doesn't necessarily fully stop even though it seems as if there's a global standstill. Make sure your packing list is complete before heading out.
Besides wearing a mask and gloves, these other tips should help you if you find yourself needing to fly.
Avoid the Middle Seats
The good thing about this time is that not many people are traveling so it shouldn't be hard to avoid sitting directly between two people. And if you do get the whole row to yourself, make sure to wipe down the window before leaning over to daydream about your next white sand beach destination.
Wipes, Wipes, Wipes
By now you should have these in your hand like your cell phone. Using hand sanitizer isn't enough, and it's also not ideal if you need to disinfect an entire surface. Wiping down seats, buttons, and other common surfaces before using will help ensure your safety.
Take Extra Precautions
Prepare to go through security by bringing an extra pair of socks to change into after having to step on the airport floor. Put your used socks in a ziplock baggie to keep separate from the other items in your bag.
Another way to make sure your clothes are fresh is to bring along a change of clothes, or have whoever is picking you up have an outfit ready for when you leave the airport.
When my mom came to quarantine with me, I brought an old plastic duvet case for her to put her airport clothes into and had some comfy sweats ready. To some this may seem overly precautious, but being immunocompromised, I'd rather not take the risk.
It's okay to admit that the idea of this is intimidating even for experienced travelers, but there are actually many benefits to going it alone. If you don't live alone, chances are you may need some alone time anyway.
Traveling by yourself makes it easier to monitor your actions and to remember some of the extra steps to take in order to keep yourself safe. When we travel with others, we tend to watch those around us more than we do ourselves which makes us more likely to forget that we opened the last door without our sleeve or gloves and then helped our loved one with their bag before scratching our nose.
Stay Safe while You Travel
In these unprecedented times we are all in this together. Even through social distancing, people around the world are finding ways to stay connected and supportive. If you can help your family and friends while staying home that is the better way.
However, if life is demanding for you to travel, please take these tips and CDC guidelines into consideration and practice safe travel while social distancing. Stay safe, and travel responsibly.
Danielle Beck-Hunter writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. Being a frequent traveler she is no foreigner to the process of traveling and loves sharing advice on how to stay healthy.