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Road Tripping During COVID-19

As COVID-19 spread throughout the US this past year, we all spent months at home doing everything we could to stay safe and healthy. While it feels good to know we’ve done our part to help combat the spread of the illness, we also know that as areas around the world begin to open back up for business many of us are just itching to get out of the house and into fresh air. While we are all feeling more than ready to head out, since we are still in a pandemic we still have to prioritize our health as well as that of others. While taking a road trip can be a truly epic vacation getaway--we urge you to recreate responsibly. (We can’t emphasize this enough!) Planning ahead and being committed to safe and healthy practices is essential. 

Plan your trip with the understanding that not spreading COVID-19 has to be a top priority. This means taking every possible measure into account during your planning process.

  • Wait to travel until you are fully vaccinated or have a confirmed negative COVID-19 test
  • Once you've received your full vaccination schedule, please follow comply with the following Center for Disease Control Guidelines
  • Be sure you understand what is permissible in the areas you plan to visit. Visit the destination websites and/or social media accounts for those areas and be current on any restrictions that might be in place pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once you have an overarching location-based itinerary of places that you know are open to non-essential travel, determine if you will be day-tripping or overnighting. 

If you are overnighting, plan to make reservations in advance after researching lodging establishments that are clearly communicating their sanitization practices and other steps taken to ensure public safety. If you’ll be camping, be sure you’re planning to camp in areas where camping has reopened and that safety and sanitization measures are being communicated clearly. Check to see if reservations are required and ensure that your camping supplies are packed and organized for easiest access. 

Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready! Start out with a fresh oil change, topped-off fluids, tires aired-up properly and in good condition, fresh wiper blades, and of course, a full tank of gas (unless of course you’re driving an electric car, in which case, plan where you will charge up .) Place GPS and/or road maps where they are easily accessible. Pack a first-aid kit, flashlight with fresh batteries, and if possible, an extra key. Pack for comfort and ease of travel. Do NOT forget charging cables (you know at least one will go missing or stop working right when you need it, so bring at least one spare.

Plan to put all permits and passes in a readily available location (not the dashboard where they will inevitably blow out the window when you can't resist driving with the windows down).

Plan your activities—only those that can be done safely while social distancing. Need some ideas? Here are a few to consider:

Once you’ve planned out all of your activities, go back one more time and make sure you have a Plan B. Limiting exposure to COVID-19 and the potential for contracting or sharing the illness have to be priority number one, and if you get to your desired trailhead or birding location and it’s jam-packed, please plan to have a second and/or third option in your pocket. The risk of continuing the spread the illness just isn’t worth it.

If you’re planning to head into the outdoors, make sure you have a mask or face covering easily accessible in case you aren’t able to maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance between yourself and others. Plan to have at least one back up in your backpack or bag in case your primary mask is dropped or lost. Plan to have at least one back backup in your vehicle. The same goes for hand sanitizer. Be sure to carry some on your person while out and about, while also having a backup in your pack or bag, and a backup in your vehicle. 

And last but not least, be sure to leave a copy of your travel itinerary with a loved one or friend. As much as we all try to plan ahead and be prepared for anything, life has a way of throwing us curveballs—even when we’re already in a pandemic. It’s always safest to make sure at least one person knows where you’ll be throughout your journey.

The Cascade Loop Scenic Byway LOVES having visitors but we love having safe communities and healthy people even more. Happy and safe traveling!