This year could be remembered when the great American road trip made its comeback. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are turning to car-free travel to avoid planes at a time when air travel is riskier.
In July, the Harris poll said around two-thirds of Americans say they’ll likely take more road trips this year to avoid air travel due to COVID-19. After all, it is easier to control and disinfect the environment in your own vehicle.
This fall could be the perfect opportunity to take a road trip vacation. Take a scenic drive or go camping. Or head to a new city, but find out about the destination’s COVID-19 restrictions beforehand.
Here are some tips for a fantastic autumn road trip.
1. Provide routine maintenance before driving
Each vehicle owner’s manual should include a routine maintenance schedule that outlines the intervals for oil changes, spark plugs, transmission oil, air filters, and more. View the mileage and pay attention to any recommended maintenance items as the mileage intervals approach.
Consult a trusted mechanic or dealer for inspection before embarking on a journey that can be hundreds of miles on the road. AAA provides a list of recommended auto repair shops that meet the quality standards set by the club.
Be sure to add the windshield wiper fluid before you drive and check other fluid levels under the hood.
2. Find the best gasoline prices on the street
According to investment research platform YCharts, retail gas prices fell across the country in 2020, reaching a national average of around $ 1.87 per gallon in late April and May.
Prices have rebounded slightly since then, averaging $ 2.26 per gallon nationwide in early October. That’s still an improvement over that time last year when prices averaged nearly 50 cents more per gallon.
Find the best prices on the go by using an app like GasBuddy which allows users to send the latest gas prices to the platform. Waze also provides information about gas prices to users.
3. Have emergency supplies ready just in case
If you are going on a multi-day adventure on the road, it is worth preparing with supplies in case of an emergency. Jumper cables, a first aid kit, basic tools, snacks, extra water, blankets, rainwear, and flashlights are among the items that should be included in a car kit.
Make sure you know how to change a tire in the event of a flat tire. Make sure the spare tire is properly inflated and that all tools, such as B. a wrench and a scissor jack should be considered.
Consider subscribing to a roadside emergency service like AAA. Many insurers also offer breakdown assistance as an additional option, as do some automakers.
4. Download offline maps to keep navigation going
Depending on where the road takes you, some remote sections of the freeway or back roads may not have cell phone service. One way to keep navigation going is to download offline maps in advance.
The Google Maps app allows users to download offline maps by drawing a frame around the area where maps are needed. Apple Maps and Waze will continue to offer turn-by-turn instructions outside of cellular service as long as the route was started with an internet connection.
5. Use digital resources to find unique page stops
Just as there are apps for navigation and determining gas prices, there are also digital resources for finding unique stops off the beaten path.
Roadtrippers support travel planning by suggesting unique detours in categories such as “Attractions and Culture”, “Nature and Recreation” and “Sights”. Historic sites, recreation areas, cemeteries and unique waypoints (like the smallest church in America) pop up on the platform, which also offers mobile apps.
Roadside America offers a similar service, but the mobile app is only available on iPhones and Apple devices.
Many cities, counties, and states have visitor offices with online tourist information. Some of them also offer mobile apps.
6. Ask the locals for advice
While many hidden gems and side stops can be found by surfing the internet and using smartphone apps, others can only be found by searching for local wisdom.
Where is the best place in town to have grilled food? Are there any antique shops or boutiques worth visiting? What about a hole in the wall?
Sometimes the best bites, deals, and experiences can only be discovered by asking the right questions to the right people. Usually the locals are more than willing to share their knowledge.
7. Know the local COVID-19 restrictions on destinations
While some states have effectively slowed the spread of COVID-19, others are emerging as hot spots and should be avoided on a vacation trip. Other cities and states may be okay to visit, but have local restrictions on restaurants and bars, as well as masked mandates.
AAA provides an interactive map with states that have effectively reopened, which have mask mandates, and which have no travel restrictions at all. The map also shows city-wide and state-wide restrictions and rules, as well as COVID-19 cases by state and county.
8. Take lots of photos along the way
Taking photos on vacation is something friends and families have long been doing – it’s now easier than ever. Photos that took days or weeks to process on film can now be viewed instantly on digital screens.
Are you bringing a DSLR and tripod to capture some amazing fall foliage? Or will you take photos with your iPhone and post on social media on the go? The choice is yours, but if you snap happy snaps along the way, you can remember the ride for years to come.
9. Find a great playlist (or podcast)
An already great road trip can be made even better with the right tunes to accompany the miles and smiles on the sidewalk.
Spotify has playlists for seasonal sounds in a variety of genres, as do Apple Music and Prime Music. Pandora has similar stations tailored for autumn listening. Or create a custom playlist based on individual preferences and moods for use on the open road.
Alternatively, you can explore podcasts from popular news outlets such as NPR and The New York Times, or immerse yourself in an original storytelling podcast. Audiobooks also offer an opportunity to study on the go.
10. Plan ahead to ensure safe accommodation
Which hotels are the safest and cleanest to stay at? Are Airbnb rentals safer? What about camping or a mobile home? These are questions travelers must ask themselves amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Large hotel chains take extra precautions when disinfecting rooms. Wear masks and maintain personal hygiene in the common room. Before booking, familiarize yourself with the processes of the individual hotels.
Airbnb hosts also have a higher standard of cleanliness when they offer rooms and apartments that travelers can book. In some cases, vacation homes can be considered safer than hotels if there are no public areas to share with other strangers.
Camping is a surefire way to enjoy an overnight stay in a new destination. Disinfection should be considered in public toilets or facilities. However, having a remote outdoor campsite is one way travelers can be safe.