Driving Across the United States During Covid ( Part 3 in a travel series)

As a fully Covid vaccinated traveler I was more than ready to hit they highways this Spring. I had reached my maximum limit of days staying at home. I had cleaned all my closets and repainted most of my walls. I was done being a homebody. It was time to venture past these walls.

Keep in mind that six months ago I was pretty much too scared to leave home. I would have minor panic attacks walking into a grocery store for a single item. I was the queen of online ordering and started cooking nearly every meal at home. I was a Covid agoraphobic. It was right after one of my panic attacks that I decided I needed a plan to get past this “crisis”. So step by step I put together a trip (with the help of co-driver, Marj) from LA to New York with a few days “layover” in Chicago to visit my son and for Marj to visit hers. We knew we wouldn’t leave until at least 50% of the adults in this country were vaccinated. So, we prepped and waited.

By the end of April it became clear that we could travel without much issues if we did so “Covid wisely”. That meant we needed to wear a mask when outside of the car. Have a ton of antiseptic wipes for various cleaning purposes. We wore gloves when pumping gas and opening up doors. I changed my clothes frequently and made sure I was doused in hand sanitizer several times a day and after each and every “pit stop”. Marj also had a hefty supply, too. By the end of our initial five days of travel our hands were chapped. We didn’t care. Personally, I was finally breathing air beyond the borders of my home and my spirits were lifting. This was a victory.

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Here are a few tips for those who plan on taking a driving trip.

  1. Get vaccinated. It reduces the risk for you and your loved ones. But, understand there will be a number of people who will NOT be vaccinated and do not believe in the Covid19 vaccination.

2. Bring lots of sanitizing spray, like Lysol, to doubly clean your hotel room.

3. Consider bringing your own pillows and blankets. Or spray the ones at the hotel with sanitizer.

4. If using the remote, phone, or any furniture in your hotel room – spray them first or clean with sanitizing wipes. I brought six packages of wipes, two sprays, and a ton of different. hand sanitizers. No joke. I returned home with half a spray and half a container of wipes.

5. Wear your mask, even when others are not. Bring disposable masks for really “yucky” areas – like bathrooms.

6. When using a public bathroom be extra vigilant. Use a towel to open and close doors or wear gloves. Sanitize a zillion times. Heading out to a national park? Know that many of these parks are sans water – just very crude toilet set-ups. So, be sure to have lots of bathroom supplies handy.

7. Use “to go cups” when possible vs. reusable. Although not environmentally friendly, they at least reduce the risk of germ spread from possible poor washing at a restaurant.

8. If using a public pool or spa – be sure to wipe down locker handles, tables, chairs, etc. These are places sometimes overlooked by staff.

Hotel Versey gave each room sanitizers and resupplied, as needed.

9. When booking a hotel room look for those who post their Covid 19 policies. ( For example, they don’t book back to back but allow for at least 24 hours to clean between guest stays, have sanitizers in the room, have plastic over the door to ensure you know it has been cleaned, etc.) The Chicago Hotel Versey (A Wyndham) was super strict with their Covid 19 policies – much appreciated. As were the Hampton Inns we stayed in. Most of the Holiday Inns also adhered to excellent precautions. The one that did not (and will not be specified here) – warranted a message to their corporate office.

10. If you are unhappy with the Covid 19 protocols at hotels (or restaurants, venues, etc.) – let people know. Write reviews. Knowledge is power and also keeps others’ healthy.

11. Let the corporate offices know of any establishments that were not clean. Hotel chains can’t police each establishment daily, but they need to know when there is a lack of safety measures being used.

12. Bring medications and items such as a thermometer just in case you feel ill on your trip. Try to locate the nearest clinics for testing or assistance with your condition.

13. Be smart. If a place is too crowded or you feel uncomfortable – don’t go.

If you have suggestions on how to safely travel during Covid – please comment below. Respectful comments always welcome.

Happy Travels!

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