Here at Road Trips For Families, we’ve long celebrated the family road trip (obviously, right?!). Yes, we often take trips where you have to take a plane to get where you’re going, but the actual, honest to goodness road trip is one thing we never get tired of doing. No matter how long you’ve lived in your area of the country (or world), or how “boring” you think it is, I guarantee that there is something within a day’s drive or less from you that you have never seen and that is totally worth your time to do.
In light of all of the events of the past three months related to coronavirus and as the social unrest around the world grows, we are certain that the good old-fashioned road trip is going to come back into style in a big way. And this isn’t just my opinion. Experts agree! Predictions are that people will largely be looking toward domestic and drivable destinations, often, likely, within their own county or state, because of all the new concerns around travel.
For one, people’s budgets may not allow the no-holds-barred out of the country cruise or airplane trip because many people have been out of work for so long. People don’t want to spread the virus out of their area, or risk picking up a virus from an area where it is still impacting the community. People don’t want to be overseas when an outbreak occurs, and not be able to return home (or return with restrictions on movements). Depending on where you are if there is an outbreak, the quality of the medical care you could expect to receive may not be what you are used to. Gas prices are low, at least for now, which makes a road trip much more affordable than flying. There are numerous virtual experiences people can sign up for now.
Dr. Greg Poland, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic and director of its vaccine research group, told Travel & Leisure that people likely will not feel comfortable traveling. “The travel industry has to convince people that it is truly safe to travel,” Dr. Poland said. “People will be very cautious in general for some time to come. We’ll see more three- and four-day trips because of finances, work pressures, safety concerns, and changing school schedules.”
Clayton Reid, the CEO of travel marketing firm MMGY Global, said travel will slowly build out in concentric circles from people’s homes.
There’s much that is changing about road trip travel (Will the bathrooms be open? Will the restaurants be take-out only?) and airplane travel (Will the middle row seats be open? What happens if I don’t pass my temperature check?). The U.S. Travel Association published new hygiene guidelines formulated by medical professionals to help guide companies to what they need to do to reassure the public. The guidelines emphasize things that will become the “new normal” in travel, whether you’re renting an AirBnB or staying in a resort. For instance:
- Implementing transmission barriers for no-contact payment
- No-contact food ordering and pickup
- Enhanced sanitation everywhere
- More public hand sanitation stations
- Increased employee training around sanitation
- Health screening at travel checkpoints
I, for one, am paying close attention to whether other countries are reopening their borders to travel. I have two plane tickets to Tahiti for myself and my significant other in November, which I bought earlier this year. If it doesn’t seem safe to go, we won’t go. And there will definitely be a lot of thought put into the decision to go, even if it does seem safe.
Tell us . . . what road trips do you plan on taking this summer? Are you planning, or hoping, to go anywhere out of the country? Has your vehicle been protected by a car cover this entire time?
Stay tuned to Road Trips For Families, because we’ll let you know what our experiences are, and also share the information we get from experts so that you can have a better idea of what to expect when the time to travel again feels right to you.
Vanessa Salvia is a long-time freelance writer and editor. Read her journalistic work at vanessasalvia.com, and learn more about her editing and content creation services at sagemediaandmarketing.com.