How to Plan a Road Trip in Uncertain Times


You all know that I love to plan a trip. I love researching new areas, finding roadside parks, city murals and amazing natural attractions. We regularly visit historical landmarks and museums as we travel across the country. Planning a trip is typically an exciting time as we make reservations and dream about adventures. I am still hearing from many friends and family members who have missed summer vacations and are nervous about taking a trip. They’re worried about how to decide where to go and be safe while traveling but they are excited about fall travel options. Here are some tips to help us plan a trip in uncertain times.

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How to Plan a Trip in Uncertain Times

2020 has definitely thrown us all a curve. It’s hard to know how to plan a vacation when everything seems out of control. Is it safe? Are things open? Are masks needed? Can children go into the buildings or is it one person per family? Are the hours different than the website? How do you know what to expect when you are visiting new areas?

Be flexible

The first thing to remember is to be flexible. These are unusual times and travel is different. But that doesn’t mean you have to scrap your summer road trip plans. Dream big; plan hard! Take the time to get to know the areas you will be visiting. Most hotel reservations have flexible cancellation policies so reserve your rooms. Make your plans so you will be ready for your road trip, but remember that you may have to adjust as you go.

Have Backup Plans

No matter how carefully you plan your road trip, things are going to come up that you don’t expect. Prepare backup plans in case there are unexpected closures or delays. Make sure you have a paper map in case you need to take backroads and have a plan if your reservations get canceled.

Watch the News (in moderation)

There is a fine line between staying in the know and watching too much news. Limit your social media exposure but pay attention to the news so you know what is happening in the area you plan to travel. Remember that moderation is important. Don’t let yourself get sidetracked or overwhelmed by watching too much.

Be responsible for your own safety

Keep hand sanitizer and disinfecting spray with you so you can clean your hands after pumping gas. Wipe down all the surfaces in your hotel room and remember to be your own first responder. If you are mentally and physically prepared for any event, you will have peace of mind as you plan your trip.

Be prepared to wear a mask wherever you go. Some states have mandates in place while others may be only suggested mask zones. Test out the different mask options and find what works for you and your family.

Look for the Hidden Gems

Depending on your family and the area you are planning to visit, this may not be the year to go to the most popular attractions or locations. Instead, this may be the perfect time to take the backroads and look for hidden gems. Call the city or state tourism office and ask them for advice. The tourism office personnel typically know their areas better than anyone so take advantage of their experience and ask them where to stay, eat or visit. You might find something amazing like we did when we were driving across Kansas one summer.

Pack your own food

Stock up on food and drinks before you hit the road because you don’t know what your options will be as you travel. This may not be the year to plan on trying new restaurants all across the country due to local restrictions or shortened hours.

Remember WHY you travel

At the end of the day, we travel and plan road trips because we love the adventure! We love to explore our country, meet new people, and learn about different areas of the United States. Yes, there are some challenges to traveling right now, but the rewards are still great. If you get overwhelmed or nervous about packing the minivan and hitting the road, stop and remember WHY you travel.

Are you feeling the nerves as you plan a summer road trip? Got any tips or thoughts to help plan your travels in uncertain times? I’d love to hear!

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