Since mid-March, I have been wondering what summer 2020 would hold for us. I was crossing my fingers for complete normalcy and a fun break with the family after a long quarantine stuck at home, but the world had different plans. And even though I will not be canceling summer all together for my family, we are taking a lot more precautions while traveling this year to stay safe. I have been planning this trip for over a month now so I figured I would share some of the things I’ve done and learned so far.
Tips and tricks for traveling this summer
Plan out stops beforehand
I’m a stop every two hours where ever there’s a place with a bathroom kind of traveler, but this time I’m making sure to check beforehand where there are places to stop, and less often than usual.
Bring extra masks and hand sanitizer
Kids are messy, and clumsy, and don’t like wearing their masks all the time. I made sure to have a couple of extra masks handy in the car and a Ziploc for dirty ones so I can wash them once we’re done traveling. I have sanitizer in my purse and in the car and my daughter has one on her backpack. This would be the same even if there wasn’t a pandemic going on while traveling, (some public rest areas are just too gross) but either way I’m happy most stores have sanitizer regularly available again.
Call the hotel
Different states and cities have different rules right now, so you need to make sure that you’re not only doing what’s most comfortable for you but that you’re following the ordinances in place at your destination. You can also ask the hotel what their cleaning standards are. Some hotels don’t wash their duvets after every visit, even if the sheets are changed. You can ask them to wash yours before you check in, or just bring your own blankets from home.
We will be making a road trip 900 miles north for a family wedding while stopping halfway at a hotel for the night. Normally, the kids would get to play in the pool and get some energy out before bedtime, but the state we’re staying in isn’t allowing the opening of pools until after we’re already back on the road. Instead I’m packing a couple of kid-friendly games. Uno, a Hot Potato, and a travel-sized Candy Land are stored in my hotel bag already. We are also bringing our own disinfectant for the room. I trust that the hotel does it’s best to keep things clean, but this is just for my own peace of mind. I know in a lot of places disinfectant is still hard to find, I like this DIY one from My Merry Messy Life.
Bring lots of snacks
This is a normal rule for me when traveling with the kids anyway, but this time I don’t even want to drive through somewhere if I don’t have to. My plan is to pack picnic-like finger food and let them eat in the car. Then if we can find an open picnic area or place to run around while at a rest stop, I’ll give them a little extra time to stretch their legs there before we load back up into the car.
Explain things to your kids
I’m not saying you need to let your 5 year old know everything in the headlines, or all the anxiety you might personally have about the trip, but letting them know that the rules are a little stricter right now to keep everyone safe can be helpful. Even when we go to run errands now I give my kids a rundown of the rules before we get out of the car. It will be the same for this trip. I will tell them when they have to wear their masks, what they can and cannot touch, and how much time they can spend in an area if we get out of the car.
Have extra patience
People are not going to have the same precautions or rules as you when you’re out. Social distancing is going to make checking in to the hotel more difficult, and anywhere you are, everyone else is going through the same stressful limbo. Road trips are stressful. Road trips during 2020 are even more so. Reminding yourself to have some extra patience and take a breath when things are starting to stress you out is a must.