My family travels quite a bit throughout the year but we’ve been staying home in New York City for the last several months because of COVID-19. Like many people across the country, we’ve been getting a bit stir crazy spending every day in our New York City apartment so we decided to do some research to see if and how we could travel as safely as possible. In today’s post, I’m sharing some tips I’ve picked up as we planned our road trip to Upstate New York last month.
Should You Travel
The first thing you need to know when thinking about taking a trip of any kind is to know whether you should travel at all in the first place. During the first several weeks of the pandemic, local officials and health experts asked New Yorkers to stay home to help flatten the curve of the Coronavirus. Travel needed to be strictly essential. Thankfully, restrictions are lifting as the New York infection rate continues to drop and that state is enters reopening phases. ALWAYS check with your local government and CDC travel guidelines to see if travel is restricted for your area, your destination and all of the places in between. For example, some states with low infection rates might be preventing citizens from states with current outbreaks from entering or requesting that they quarantine for a period of time once they arrive.
Who Should You Travel With
One of the most important factors in deterring the spread COVID-19 is traveling with people you’ve been isolating with. This means you’re not exposing loved ones to the people you may be interacting with and vis versa. We’ve been home with our girls so we knew we could travel with them safely as we followed every guideline to the letter. It is not recommended you gather with friends or family who you have not been isolating with because you cannot know for certain that they have been taking all of the necessary precautions 100% of the time. However, we also decided to bring my parents along because we knew they have been isolating in their homes alone. As high risk seniors, we know they have mostly remained indoors and have had little interaction with the outside world and thus wouldn’t be exposing us either. In fact, part of the reason why we wanted to go on a trip was to spend time with my parents safely.
How To Travel
Sadly, it is clear that you cannot always rely on people to do the right thing and take necessary precautions at airports, in airplanes or anywhere else. We have determined that the safest way to travel is in your own vehicle. That is why we decided that the only way we would travel as a family is in our own car where we can have almost total control of our environment.
Because we were traveling as a larger group, we traveled in two mid-sized SUVs. We traveled in our Mazda CX-9 while my parents drove in my dad’s __. Space is key so avoid being in cramped and confined spaces as much as possible. This also helped us put tremendously when it came to packing food. More on that later…
Where to Stay/ Avoided Interactions
Because we want to avoid interactions with people as much as possible, we decided we would rent an entire home via Air BnB instead of staying at a hotel where we would be the vicinity of other guests and hotel staff. Homes are Air BnB often disclose all of the precautions and rigorous cleaning process homes are taking to ensure a safe stay. Many listings also offer no-contact check-in and check-out, which means they’ll leave the keys for you in a safe place so you don’t have to interact with the home owner or management company in-person at all during your stay. Use this link to get $35 OFF your first Air BnB stay.
Our goal for the trip was to pick a spacious home on a large plot so that we could continue to keep a safe distance from one another (an extra precaution) while still spending time together. We also wanted the home to be on a large property so that we could also avoid interactions with neighbors. This meant we were looking for a home in more rural counties where we could have plenty of fresh air, hiking trails for exercise, a swimming pool for entertainment and basically everything we don’t have here in New York City. It took quite a bit of searching but I’m thrilled we found the perfect place!
Another way to avoid interaction as much as possible is to choose a destination that isn’t too far away in order to minimize the need to stop at rest stops. The home we selected was a little over 4 hours away from our home so we only needed to stop once for gas and to use a restroom. Because we were on a route we are very familiar with, we actually knew exactly which rest stop to use and was fully aware of the layout so we in and out quickly.
What to Pack
We packed pretty much ALL of our food and drinks for our road trip. That means almost everything we ate while driving and while actually in the Air BnB home. Use companies like FreshDirect to order your groceries ahead of time and pack them with you or have them delivered to your destination if it’s available in that area. My family only had to venture out to a local market once during our 5 day stay and we followed the same precautions we follow during local grocery runs at home. The less you have to interact with others, the less likely you are to expose ourselves and others to the virus. Don’t forget to pack your masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray and/or wipes to use along the way.
I know that many of you are both tired of isolating in your homes but also worried about the dangerous of being exposed to COVID-19. I hope this post helps you realize that you can do some traveling while following guidelines to remain safe. These are all the tips I came up with while planning my own family’s road trip to a beautiful renovated farmhouse 4 hours away from New York City. As recommended, we isolated again for 4 weeks when we returned and am thankful we were able to plan a safe little escape with my family.
If you have any tips you’ve discovered while planning your excursions or have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment down below.