“Survive the Drive” during COVID-19
[A Real-Life Trip Report]
I’m a Travel Assistant with Trip Trustees and this is my trip report about a recent road trip I took with a Travel Client from Tallahassee to Plantation, FL– a 10-day adventure. In addition to the financial benefits, I also received the intrinsic reward that comes from keeping everyone safe.
I hope my report helps you find your peace about whether or not it’s a good time for you to travel by car during the COVID-19 pandemic. A few weeks before our road trip to South Florida, I began coordinating with the Travel Client who needed to go to Plantation, FL for a medical procedure that would require arriving one day early for preparation, and remaining in South Florida during the 8-day post-op recovery period.
The procedure had been scheduled several months before COVID-19 began and rescheduling would be an act of extraordinary difficulty for the facility and for the client. Even so, we kept our ears to the ground and were determined to cancel the trip if such advice came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Set the Tone of a Trip at the Onset
Our first face-to-face meeting was outside at a park, fully masked and well-distanced from each other. We were both very detailed in asking and answering all of each other’s questions, comments or concerns. We agreed upfront to reserve the option to cancel the trip entirely if one of us felt uncomfortable as the trip date approached, with no hard feelings shared by either party. Monitor and Update the Situation as it Changes
Over the next several weeks we kept in contact. We felt confident enough to start booking the hotel rooms, investigating any travel restrictions and buying the protective devices and cleaning supplies that we felt we’d need for the car trip, hotel stay and intermittent stops along our 7-hour route.
A few hotel services like food venues were limited & spa treatments were restricted, something we knew well in advance from researching the hotel. We double & triple checked all the way up to the day we left on our trip. We were especially intent on making sure we didn’t arrive at a hotel that had
canceled our reservation without notification.
My client preferred that I drive his vehicle. I requested that he have it detailed and sanitized before we left, and he obliged without question. Each day, as the trip start date approached, I kept up with all coronavirus details, paying special attention to any travel related recommendations from the CDC.
Our destination was to an area of Florida that was considered a hot spot. We were required to wear masks at all times in public. This included the hotel lobby, stores, and the doctor’s office. I packed hand sanitizer, a box of masks, sanitizing wipes and spray sanitizer.
We were assured by the hotel staff that all of the rooms were sanitized to CDC guideline standards. As an extra measure of precaution, I recleaned all of the areas of the room that I would be in contact with. I made sure to continue this each time I left the room. We used delivery food service for our meals. I only occasionally went out for supplemental snacks and drinks to bring back to our rooms.
I limited myself to outdoor strolls using prudent social distancing and stayed inside my room as much as practical. It was much easier than I had anticipated. It turns out that a cell phone, a laptop, a few good books and some nail polish were more than I needed to stay sufficiently occupied and quite content, even for a “busy-body” like me. It was a great opportunity for some quality “me- time”-a spa day in my room, soothing salt baths, a self-pedicure, a self-manicure, relaxing and reading books that had been collecting dust at home, and also knocking out my binge-watching to-do-list.
The Big Event
The staff at the medical facility was very professional and my client’s out-patient procedure went extremely well, without any complications.
My client and I had separate hotel rooms. At certain times each day, while he recuperated inside his hotel room, I would don personal protective gear and check on him.
My major function was to devise ways he could eat, drink and do minor tasks while the range of motion in his arms came back over the
few day period. He was a terrific person who treated everyone he met with mutual respect.
During our time in the car, we used the wipes after each stop. Also, I had a bottle of hand sanitizer in the outside pocket of my purse so I could use it before getting back into the car. We followed social distancing precautions and kept our stops to a minimum. Traveling under uncertain circumstances can be stressful at times but taking the necessary precautions and following the CDC guidelines made it a very successful trip.
To Drive or Not to Drive?
Deciding to take a road trip is a personal choice. It requires a bit more research than before the Coronavirus arrived. If you decide to take a road trip, stay focused on your mission, maintain protocols, develop good habits from the very beginning and pay attention to your surroundings.