Many people have had to cancel or postpone flights because of the Coronavirus…but we can still drive, right?
While officials are telling us to shelter in place and quarantine, experts are advising us to try to get outside for exercise and fresh air. And yes, it’s possible to get out, even travel, and still maintain a responsible social distance from others.
Obviously safety in all things – including and especially travel – are first and foremost in these uncertain times. But social distancing doesn’t have to mean staying inside your four walls for an indefinite period of time. Here are some ideas for ways to get away during the Coronavirus, AKA COVID-19 pandemic and before cabin fever makes you completely loose your mind.
Your Car Can Be Your Key to Your Sanity
The CDC recommends social distancing as a way to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the virus that has taken the world – and the media – by storm. If you’re committed to staying safe and keeping others safe but can’t handle the notion of being cloistered in your house for an indefinite period of time, we have some ideas for ways to get away during the pandemic.
But first, Clorox
Even if the only people who have ridden in your car are your immediate family, now is probably a good time to disinfect the interior of your ride. Wipe down your seats and any hard surfaces that come in contact with people parts, including clothing. If you have kids, you’ll marvel at all the places in your car’s interior their little fingers have been. If you have older kids, give them the job of disinfecting your car. They probably need something to do that isn’t YouTube or Fortnite. A mix of bleach and water or rubbing alcohol will do the trick nicely.
Get in Your Car and Head for a Drive-through Zoo
A drive-through zoo is a great way to safely adventure. You’re leaving your house but you’re not leaving your car. Most drive-through zoos or safaris are set up for minimal human contact. You’ll probably have to pay or encounter a human as you go through the entrance. Buying tickets online may help minimize that contact.
A leisurely drive with the windows down and checking out the animals may do the trick to relieve that cabin fever. Most drive-through zoos will offer some other types of “get out of the car” activities, such as concessions or a petting zoo. Consider skipping those this time.
We have a great drive through zoo near San Antonio Texas – do a quick Google search to see if there’s one within driving distance from your house. Maybe it’s time to pack some snacks and hand sanitizer and discover something new.
What car do we love for this adventure? A truck, actually! Load up the kids in the back seat and they’ll have the absolute best view with these extra-large windows and the high-up position.
Hit Up a New Restaurant, Drive-through Style
I know what you’re thinking. How much is cruising through the drive-through at Taco Bell or McDonald’s really going to cure your cabin fever? Well, the best way to a person’s heart is often through their tummy.
(Ask me in a couple of weeks when that level of outing seems like next-level fun.) But in all seriousness, you can make it fun right now. If you have the time, you can take the scenic route and drive to the next town over or even the town after that. The Taco Bell might be the same old, same old but at least you’ll get a little bit of fresh air and see some different scenery. And if you’re not into fast-food, many restaurants are offering curbside pick-up right now. Consider supporting your local businesses and trying out some tasty new dishes.
What car do we love for this adventure? The Dodge Charger. If you want to look as cool as possible when breezing through that drive-through, this is the way to do it.
Self-Guided History or Scenic Home Tour
You might have just the place in mind or you might have to do a little bit of research but you can probably find something within driving distance that piques your interest. If you live within driving distance of New Orleans, consider driving through the Garden District and oohing and aahing over the beautiful architecture.
If this type of thing interests you, don’t be quick to say “Oh, there’s nothing like that around here” because you just never know. There’s a little town about an hour from my house called Gonzales. Most people outside this neck of the woods haven’t heard of Gonzales, Texas but it has some of the most gorgeous historic homes. We can pack some snacks or map out a drive-through stop and spend a day looking at historic homes. We can even get out and take pictures without coming into contact with other people.
Even if you think something like this isn’t your cup of tea, give it a chance. This crazy time we’re living in might just be the time when you discover a new interest. If not, it never hurts to broaden your mind. At least it gets you out of the house and (kind of) in the fresh air.
What car do we love for this adventure? A large SUV like the Mazda CX-9 or a Lincoln Nautilus. Dawn gives us her take on large SUVs and why they’re awesome here. You’ll want to ride in comfort and be able to get in and out to snap those Insta-worthy pictures easily.
Hike It Out – One of the Best Ways to Get Away During Coronavirus
This one requires some discretion and judgment calls. You’ll need to find some hiking trails or walking paths that aren’t in crowded areas where you will come into contact with other humans. Your mileage may vary based on location. Check websites and call ahead to see what’s open and accessible. As of publication time, National Parks are still open. State and local parks are hit or miss.
You can minimize your exposure by sending one person into the visitor’s center, if required, to pay any applicable park entrance fees. Make sure you sanitize your hands before and after. Many places will have a place to park where you can leave your car to hike. Even if you encounter other hikers on the trail, do a quick wave and “how do you do” and keep it moving. Most people are going to do the same. Even your local park might have relatively people-free hiking or biking trails or walking paths.
For our kids, going to the park automatically means PLAYGROUND, so there might have to some expectation management before you head out. Many parks have posted off-limits signs on playground equipment.
If you can get to a park with a less crowded river or lake and you’re a fan of water sports, you might want to take your kayak or canoe along. These types of sports are great ways for families to connect without encountering other groups of people.
What car do we love for this adventure? The Toyota Land Cruiser, although any rugged SUV would be a great choice.
Pack Up the Bikes and Ride the Local Bike Trails
Not all great riding trails are right outside our doors; some are across town, others are a bit further. So, pack up the bikes, helmets and snacks and head out for a fun day of bike riding. This is also a great way to get a different view of your local beach or lake, or to see some of those lovely historic towns. You can get close enough to read the history markers without having to park the car and get out.
Our favorite car for bike hauling? The Subaru Outback. It’s low enough to the ground that the roof rack is easy to reach, or you can attach a bike rack to the tailgate. And for smaller bikes the cargo area is right-sized too.
More Things to Consider When Planning Your Getaway During the Time of Coronavirus:
These are pretty strange times and you’ll probably want to take an extra measure of planning when you’re brainstorming ways to get away during coronavirus. Here are a few more tips that can help you out:
- You can change clothes in the car. If you’re worried about doing active things while remaining separate from other people, check out our tips on how to discreetly change clothes in the car. If you need to change out of wet or muddy clothes and want to minimize your time in communal spaces, this is a good hack to know.
- Don’t want to drive tired but aren’t comfortable with staying in a hotel? Check out our tips for safely napping in your car.
- Is car camping for you? This is another option if you want to take a little bit of a longer trip but still want to avoid hotels? Consider car camping. You can actually use your car for actual sleeping, pitch a tent near your car and use your tailgate as an eating/hangout area or a combination of both.
- Worried about the “are we there yet’s?” Try these old-school kid’s car games.
- And don’t forget the snacks! Try these kid-friendly snack options that are perfect for the car.
The key is to keep your mind busy and not lose your mind during these hard times. Stay safe out there!