Although the world has opened up a little more, the coronavirus pandemic is still very evident today and complicating everyday life as we know it. As the holidays approach, planning trips have become more meticulous than ever and with that comes too much anxiety and chaos. Thankfully, we've prepared a list of key tips for Thanksgiving road trips, so you can steer your stress towards more important issues like awkward conversations with your in-laws or what to bring to dinner table.
5 Safety Tips for Thanksgiving Road Trips During a Pandemic
Isolate and Get Tested:
If you're planning to visit your family, it's important you get tested and isolate even if you're vaccinated. Ideally, you'd want to quarantine at least two weeks before your trip. But if that's not realistic, plan to get a PCR test at least three days before you arrive at your destination. You'll need less time in seclusion that way, but keep in mind that you might not test positive for COVID-19 until five or more days after infection. But planning accordingly and ahead of time should help alleviate any stress of spreading the virus.
Pack Accordingly for No-Contact Travel:
As you embark on your road trip, you'll be making stops along the way at gas stations, restaurants, rest stops, and more. That means that you'll be making unavoidable contact with different people, unless you plan to straight shot your drive. Nevertheless, planning efficiently is about preparing for unpredictable situations, and we're not just talking about making sure you have a spare tire.
Keep a surplus of masks in the car, ready for you and all the other passengers to use at a stop. Have hand sanitizer on deck in the car so that you can use it before you start your long drive again. Keep sanitized wipes handy too so you can wipe off things that you might've bought at the store for your long trip. Use disposable gloves whenever you touch a gas station pump, and pay with your credit card as much as you can instead of cash.
Now that you've packed the pandemic essentials for your holiday road trip, make sure you have other emergency kits in the car since COVID might not be the only thing you'll have to watch for. You'll want to make sure you have a first aid kit since it can be frustrating to have to spend extra time making another stop for band aids or antacids.
Another hack when packing other necessities is to pick the right snacks and drinks. Road trips might seem like a fun time to gorge on sweets, but if you're not trying to feel sluggish or tired while driving, you'd be surprised at how advantageous having healthy snacks is. Eat nuts, veggie snacks, or dried fruits for good sources of energy, and start your trip with a cup of coffee so that you'll be able to stay awake and aware.
Another great Thanksgiving travel tip is to have portable batteries and chargers already stocked up in your car. Have multiple ports so that your loved ones don't have to fight for the only one that comes with the car, especially if you're using it to keep your phone charged while using it as a GPS.
Plan Your Route in Advance:
As we said, preparing ahead of time is the best way for efficient holiday travel. Plan your main route, and try to gauge what and how many stops you'll make along the way. It's best to plan more stops than you'll need just in case something happens on the road, and if your Thanksgiving holiday road trip will take more than a day, book your accommodations ahead of time. This will help you avoid the stress of trying to check in to fully booked hotels that come with this time of the year.
Make sure you have a few alternate routes planned as well. Although the best days to leave for Thanksgiving land on the Monday or Tuesday prior, the holiday season still calls for heavy traffic along major highways. To be ready for any travel time changes along your journey, you can download apps such as Google Maps or Waze which can help you find alternate routes if traveling earlier is not an option.
Make Sure Your Car Is in Working Condition:
You don't need to be a car mechanic to make sure your car is ready for a long journey on the road. Before you leave, check to make sure that your seatbelts and windshield wipers are working. You can also have a look at the tire pressure before you start your road trip and along the way when you stop for gas or the bathroom. It might be even more helpful to have a roadside service such as AAA or Allstate to make sure that you can get the assistance you need whenever you need it.
Do you have any tips for Thanksgiving road trips to give? Share your advice with us on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!