7 Tips for safe, responsible travel during a pandemic
Think you can’t travel safely & responsibly during a pandemic? I beg to differ! My main squeeze and I just returned from a 12-day 2800-mile road trip through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, & Washington. Here are seven tips for safe, responsible travel (some of these are plain ol’ common sense but thanks to COVID they are worthy of mention):
1. Eat outside
Even though eating inside was an option many places we traveled, we did not eat inside because the science shows that the virus is highly transmittable inside. It is a zillion times safer outside. When we did not cook our own meals, we got takeout or ate outside on patios.
2. Stay in motels, cabins, or apartments - not hotels
Again, inside is where the real danger in picking up the virus lies. Motels, cabins, and apartments usually have better air circulation than hotels because the doors open to the outside and the windows open. We never stayed in an establishment that only had a door that opened to an inside corridor.
3. Bring two fans with you
Did I mention that inside air is the biggest concern?!? Whenever we checked in somewhere, we opened all the doors and windows that we could, turned on any fans available, and plugged in two little fans that we brought with us to circulate the air through the room(s). Then we hung outside for a bit while the place aired out because exposure + time of exposure = bad news bears.
4. Wear a mask inside, even if no one else is
All the businesses we encountered had some version of ‘Mask required’ signs on their doors but often in rural areas no one inside was wearing them. We always wore our masks inside. Why? Because pretty much everyone in the place knew each other, and it was probably unlikely that they were traveling outside their community where they could pick up the virus and bring it back. We, as travelers, were the most likely people who would bring the virus into their community. And we were going to take all precautions to not be those people.
5. Whenever you stop, clean your hands before you get back in your car
Cleaning your hands before you get in your car = you don’t have to clean all the places you touch in your car. Do it every time.
6. Clean your phone often
You touch that thing all the time, and often use it to pay for stuff inside a business – clean it like you would your own hands, since it is basically an extension of your hand at this point, isn’t it?!
7. Clean your hands before eating
I mean right before eating – after you touched the menu, your phone, the chair, condiment jars, etc. Do the same when you are snacking in the car.
We use a variety of websites to find lodging. BringFido is an excellent resource to find pet-friendly motels, and then we always look at TripAdvisor for reviews & ratings before we book a motel. VRBO and AirBnB are excellent resources to find apartments, cabins, & homes for rent – however, we always look to see if we can book directly with the owners rather than through those sites because their fees can be VERY high. Often you will find a clue in the description like ‘this is one of 6 cabins on the Smith Ranch’ – then when you google ‘Smith Ranch townX’ you will often find the owners’ website where you can book directly. Google will sometimes find the ‘Smith Ranch’ when you search for ‘cabin near townX’ but not always so we found that looking at multiple sites produced the best results.
We had our handsome co-pilot Beacon with us and had no problem finding last-minute pet-friendly lodging. The majority of our road trip was unplanned, leaving us the flexibility to extend a stay if we liked an area or move on if we wanted a different scene. We always prefer to support the locally owned Mom & Pop type lodging whenever we can and on this trip we easily managed to not stay in a single chain!
Here are some of our favorite finds if you happen to be heading to these areas:
Boise, ID: apartment in a super cool part of the city with an excellent park nearby. This company also has rentals around Oregon. https://www.stayinmydistrict.com/
Cottonwood, ID: the coolest couple owns this B&B (which we sadly couldn’t stay in) inside a giant beagle, art park, & gift shop that is an absolute must see if you are a fan of beagles, or dogs in general. We hung out with them for over an hour and could have talked for days more. https://dogbarkpark.com/
Whitefish, MT: very comfortable cabin close to Glacier National Park with a 1.3-mile peaceful walking trail on the property. https://northfortyresort.com/
Bend, OR: cute & comfortable studio on a little ‘farm’ with the best hot tub we’ve ever been in. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/25888901
I hope that if you are able you can take advantage of the weather supporting an almost-entirely outside exploration of areas around you – happy travels!
Note: I am not a medical professional, these tips are from my own personal experiences. If you have medical concerns and have questions about traveling please consult your trusted medical professionals.