We have seen the world coming to a screeching halt with the outbreak of COVID-19. Travelers locked themselves inside their homes, putting an abrupt end to their plans of roaming around the world. Although the restrictions on air travel are greatly eased now, it seems travelers are still apprehensive of crossing the borders. In these circumstances, a road trip is the next best thing to appease your wanderlust. As long as you are ready to embrace the change and adopt the safety measures, you could enjoy and explore while staying safe. So, what now? Hop into your car, crank up the engine, and follow the road! But before that, refer to this checklist for road trips so as not to compromise on your safety.
Pre-plan your trip:
A road trip during COVID-19 requires a thorough pre-planning as this is not the ideal time for unplanned road trips or detours. Plan your route and shortlist the safe zones along the way to your destination. Pin down the places for rest, food, and stay (book your lodging beforehand). In case you are planning an intercity or interstate road trip in India, keep tabs on the travel policies implemented in the areas you are crossing.
Get your car serviced:
It is the smartest decision to have your car serviced before embarking on a long road trip so as to prevent vehicle malfunction and be sure that your vehicle is in top condition and safe for driving. Do not neglect even the slightest issue related to steering and braking systems, car’s fluids, air pressure in tires, and windshield wipers. Double-check if you are carrying the insurance papers, license and registration certificate, car manual, spare tire, jumper cables, car seat organizer, what have you.
Sanitize the car frequently:
Sanitize the frequently touched surfaces of the car every now and then, mainly the steering wheel, gear shift, handbrake, dashboard, door frame and handles, window panes, seat belt buckles. While cleaning, wipe in one direction and don’t wipe back. You could use disinfectant sprays for sanitizing seats, ceilings, and floor mats.
Packing the essentials:
Stocking up on sanitation essentials is the most important part of planning a road trip during COVID-19. Pack everything extra — masks, alcohol-based sanitizers, hand wash, disinfectant sprays/ wipes, tissues, and disposable gloves. Have a disposable plastic bag handy to discard the used wipes and tissues in a proper manner.
Food items and drinks:
Prefer carrying food items from home as it is safer than eating out on your road trip during COVID-19. Make arrangements for your water needs and pack dry and healthy snacks, fruits, energy-boosting drinks, and juices generously. We recommend that you carry a portable electric kettle for hot water and tea. If you plan to eat at a food outlet, include your own cutlery (plates, spoons, cups, and glasses) to this road trip checklist.
Safety tips and a quick checklist for road trips:
- As a basic safety measure, change your mask every 10 hours, sanitize your hands frequently and follow the social distancing protocols.
- It is advisable to wear gloves as you might be required to exchange money at toll booths, petrol stations, etc.
- Download the route map beforehand to efficiently deal with poor signal issues in certain areas and to reduce dependency on your mobile.
- Make digital payments whenever possible — at gas stations, restaurants, shops, etc.
- If you are taking a long road trip during COVID-19, see that you pack right and pack light — take sufficient clothes, toiletries, sunscreen, sunglasses, torch, power bank, soft neck pillow, cushion, and blanket among others. Use washable footwear.
- Apart from your personal medical needs, include thermometer, band-aids, pain relief gels/sprays, anti-allergens, and insect repellents to your first-aid kit.