The pandemic had the majority of us stuck in our houses for almost a year. Now that businesses are slowly starting to open up again, we’re beginning to transition to the new normal. While it’s clear that life prior to the pandemic isn’t coming back anytime soon, that doesn’t mean we can’t start getting out there again. Spending so much time indoors had various adverse side effects on both our physical and mental health.
Our diets and eating habits were affected by limited opportunities to buy healthy food or exercise. Feelings of unease and anxiety increased as we socialized less and went through some unpredictable times. As we start living our lives again, it’s understandable to want to jump right back into things. However, taking things slow might be the best way to avoid getting overwhelmed.
One of the most popular answers to what people were most looking forward to after the pandemic was the opportunity to travel again. Whether you were already a frequent traveler or the monotony of the lockdowns encouraged you to explore more, the majority of people want a change of scenery. While the experience of going to different countries and immersing yourself in different cultures remains at the very top of our travel goals, we may have to put them on the back burner.
Health and safety protocols change from state to state and especially in different countries. Traveling may have to be limited to local destinations in the meantime. Flying can be stressful even without a global pandemic, so another great way to get back out there are road trips.
Road trips allow you still maintain your personal space and minimize your exposure while still letting you visit some new destinations. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you decide to take that road trip you’ve wanted to go on:
Choose your location
If one of the reasons you decided to have a road trip was to avoid the hordes of people who use public transportation like buses and planes, then you may want to think about your destinations carefully. Choosing popular tourist destinations can undermine your efforts to still safe while on vacation. One way to avoid this is to do some in-depth research on underrated destinations in the area you’re interested in.
Historic landmarks, museums, and other places that often get overlooked will usually have better health and safety protocols in place to protect visitors. You can also consider sites that will allow you to set up camp. Not only is this an excellent opportunity to get some fresh air again, but spending time in nature has proven to reduce signs of stress. This is also great because you won’t have to stay in a crowded hotel or an Airbnb with unknown sanitation protocols.
Planning is essential
Before the pandemic, long trips could be thought of and executed on the fly with minimal hassle. However, after the pandemic, that certainly isn’t the case. There are so many more factors to consider now that having a solid plan or itinerary prior to your trip can help smooth things out on your actual vacation. Avoiding any significant inconveniences like different booking schedules or testing requirements ensures that you can fully enjoy your trip. Another aspect to consider ahead of time is your car. You can choose to take your personal car or rent one.
Bringing your own car lets you drive a vehicle you’re already familiar with, which can help when it comes to long drives, but if you need a bigger vehicle or don’t want that millage on your car, there are also some great places to rent a car that’s been fully sanitized. Long road trips also cause some wear and tear to your vehicle, so don’t forget to take it in for servicing and interior or exterior detailing to get it back into tip-top shape afterward.
This doesn’t just pertain to health and safety protocols. If you’re going on a long trip by yourself, remember to take measures to ensure your safety. Informing friends and family of your itinerary and the dates and places you’ll be in will allow them to be updated on your whereabouts. There are even applications on your phone that can allow you to share your location with them for them to be able to contact you in case of any emergencies.
Double-check the routes you’ll be taking before leaving and make sure your GPS device is functioning smoothly. Getting lost in areas that aren’t necessarily tourist areas can be dangerous, so you should also familiarize yourself with the emergency call feature on most phones which can call the authorities with just a few clicks.
Whether for recreation or to see friends and family, the need to travel after the pandemic is entirely understandable. Just remember that there have been some significant changes in the way we travel since the pandemic. As long as you plan ahead for those changes, then your trip should be a success.