States that used to encourage and reward carpools are now suggesting solo commutes. Keeping your car to yourself has become another one of those health precautions people must take to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus. What about recreational road trips, though? Traveling long distances by car alone has many rewards, but there are also some additional safety concerns. Before you go, learn how to prepare for a solo road trip.
Check the Rules in Your Destination States
Many states have begun opening up to allow “non-essential” businesses to resume operation. Interstate travel restrictions, however, may vary. Check to see if a self-quarantine is required in any state where you intend to stop. Bring a supply of masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes.
Take Your Car for Service
Make sure your vehicle is in top condition. Have your trusted mechanic give the car a good once-over, and tell them you are planning a road trip
Check Your Insurance
Make sure your auto and health insurance are up to date. Know what you would do if, by some stroke of bad luck, you are involved in an accident or if you get sick while on your solo road trip.
Plan Your Route and Points of Interest
Map out your route and places you’d like to see. Make sure you have several navigation tools ready. Printed maps are still important, and GPS devices have been known to make mistakes. Leave an itinerary with family or friends, so someone knows where you expect to be and when.
Pack light—whatever the car carries, you will carry eventually. Make sure you are supplied with non-perishable food and snacks, water, your phone and chargers, and other basic emergency essentials.
Part of the fun of a road trip is getting local with radio stations. But, if you’re traveling in remote areas, variety may be hard to find. Make yourself a playlist, bring some audiobooks, and select podcasts you’d like to catch up on as you drive. Leave some time to open the windows and just listen to the world around you, too.
Safety Tips for All Solo Travelers
Going solo has its risks. There are some commonsense precautions any solo traveler should take:
- Don’t tell people or other travelers you encounter that you are traveling alone.
- Don’t flash cash around.
- Don’t pick up hitchhikers or stop to help someone with a breakdown. Get to a safe place and call for help. Stick to well-lit areas with other people around (appropriately socially distanced). Don’t be alone with a stranger.
- If you’ll be stopping overnight, spend a little more for safe lodgings. Don’t accept a ground floor room at a motel, and check for safety features like good lighting and locks.
- Carry and protect your identification. Alert your bank and credit card companies, so they won’t block your card due to purchases away from home. Install a VPN on your phone, laptop, and/or tablet if you’ll be accessing Wi-Fi on your trip.
- Stay alert—don’t drive tired. Keep two hands on the wheel and, if you must take or make a call, do it hands-free. You already know never to text while driving.
- Pay attention to the weather forecast.
Have a safe and successful road trip.