COVID-19 Road Trips

COVID-19: My survival guide for road trips

November 6, 2020

I don’t know about you, but travel has felt like a necessity more than ever this year. The quarantine life and the wildfires (at least on the West coast) has made an escape all the more appealing. Luckily, my husband and l have been able to take a handful of road trips this year. Of course, it’s been a bit of a hassle to deal with pandemic safety precautions, but we are both true germaphobes, so it helps!

I’m sure you all know the drill — wear your mask, wash your hands, and maintain social distance. Sometimes it gets overbearing, though, with the number of times you have to repeat the process, especially when traveling. Here I’ll share some of the safety routines I’ve developed during my road trips. I’m by no means a health expert, but hopefully I can shed some light on things you haven’t considered before, and provide some helpful tips.

Car-ready supplies

I like to have disinfecting supplies within easy reach in the car. This prevents me from unnecessarily further spreading germs. In particular, I recommend the following:

  • Store the pump version of a trusted hand sanitizer brand (like Germx) in one of the cup holders. No need to touch the bottle to disinfect your hands!
  • Store hand wipes in the door side compartment. Trust me, you’ll want hand wipes in addition to hand sanitizer, especially in times when your hands get dirty (i.e. when there’s tangible grime) and you can’t simply rinse it off.
  • Hang masks on the car’s sun visor clip. You can pull out the visor, hang the mask on the clip, then push the visor back in so it stays in place. This allows you to only touch the masks by the strings, which are the cleanest part of the mask. Optionally, you could hang your mask on the rear-view mirror. I do that sometimes when I drive so that the mask isn’t in my face. I hear it’s not recommended, though, so do so at your own risk! Additionally, you can get something like this mount to hang up your mask on your sun visor.
  • Bring a trash bag to hold any dirty supplies until you reach a disposal site. You can also temporarily put dirty supplies on the car floor, but it’s easier to consolidate everything in a bag.

Lodging

Many hotels and hosts on platforms like Airbnb have committed to extra cleaning measures. Still, I like to give a wipe to some frequent touch areas. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Keep a separate bag of disinfecting wipes and/or spray in the car. Bring that in first to clean before you take in the rest of your bags.
  • Wipe down light switches, door handles, faucet handles, light pulls, and remote controls.
  • Spray down the couch or armchair with disinfecting spray if you plan to sit or put belongings on it. I recommend Microban 24, but linen disinfectant spray will also work.
  • Skip or wash any cups that are out on the counter. Who knows how long they’ve been out there!

Dining

Depending on where you travel, restaurants may allow indoor and/or outdoor dining. If you feel comfortable enough to dine there, here’s what I recommend:

  • Don’t be afraid to request to sit in areas away from other people, especially if the distance between tables doesn’t seem sufficient.
  • Wash your hands after ordering, especially after touching a menu.
  • Grab some extra paper towels from the bathroom when washing your hands. I like to lay my mask on top of the paper towels on the table. I’ve seen people crumple up their masks and shove it in their purse or pocket, but you really shouldn’t touch those masks.

Restrooms

Using public restrooms, whether it’s at a gasoline station, a rest stop, or a restaurant, is basically unavoidable during road trips. What’s disturbing is that the virus can be spread through fecal matter, and you know what happens when you flush a toilet without a lid? Toilet plume. (You’re welcome.)

In light of these disgusting facts, here’s what I suggest:

  • Keep you mask on while you’re in the restroom, even if you’re the only person inside.
  • Avoid gasoline station restrooms with a single stall and a long line.
  • Don’t linger in the restroom. That means no checking your phone on the toilet!
  • Get out of the stall as soon as you flush the toilet.
  • Don’t use the air dryer after washing your hands. I don’t like to use precious earthly resources, but paper towels are really your cleanest option here.

Other tips

I’ve suffered from eczema the past few months due to all the extra hand cleaning. In particular, hand sanitizer stings and dries out my hands. Here’s what I do to spare my hands:

  • Wear disposable gloves, especially when pumping gas at the gas station. I have not tried this brand myself, but Eco Gloves appear to be an earth-friendly option for anyone concerned about sustainability!
  • Use the The nrd from Germ Nerd to open doors and push buttons. This is probably a better option than those brass touch tools you might have seen on social media. The silicone glove closes to prevent you from touching the contaminated area and comes with a clip so you can easily access it.

Do you have any other COVID-19 safety tips that you would recommend? Let me know!

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