Things to Know Before Your Pandemic Road Trip

The year 2020 is one for the books – though not in a positive light. After months of imposed staycation, Canadians are looking for relief from the COVID-19 dystopia in which we now live. Here’s where the reality check comes in.

The Canada-US border is still closed to non-essential travel (and likely will be until the end of the year). Air travel is mostly grounded and even then, a bit iffy. Luckily, Canada offers a vast backyard with ten provinces and three territories to discover. So, if you’re thinking about hitting the road before winter – or the next lockdown – sets in, here are some things to consider:

  • Play it safe. Choose someone from within your bubble as your travel partner(s). If that’s not possible, you and your roadie(s) should self-quarantine for two weeks before you leave to ensure you’re not carriers.
  • Plan ahead. Consider a destination that isn’t a COVID-19 hotspot. This means avoiding densely populated areas and tourist traps. Regardless of your destination, follow social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand-washing guidelines.
  • Get your wheels ready. If you’re driving your own car, make sure it’s up for the drive. If you’re renting a car, be sure to know the specifics of your contract.
  • Pack essential and pandemic-specific items. Portable chargers and cellphone signal boosters are a must but don’t forget disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, face masks, and tissues. Consider packing extra supplies such as water, snacks, cutlery, cups, and plates. 
  • Synchronize playlists. Ensure that you and your roadie have compatible musical taste for a more enjoyable trip. If you can’t find a musical middle ground, there’s always the sound of silence.  
  • Practice ‘hygiene vigilance.’ While at gas stations, rest areas, restaurants, and places of accommodation, wipe down high-touch surfaces such as tables, buttons, keypads, door knobs, and handles.
  • Consider a supplemental travel insurance policy. If you’re leaving your home province, this is a must. As Canadians, we’re blessed with universal health care but even provincial health insurance has its limits.
  • Self-quarantine upon returning. This will eliminate the risk of community spread in the event you were exposed to the virus during your travels.

While it’s important to be mindful of the COVID-19 realities during your road trip, don’t let them consume you. You can practice social distancing without being emotionally distant. Exercise common sense and be safe out there!

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