Molly Barnes of Digital Nomad Life is a digital nomad, who travels the world in her RV with her boyfriend, dog, and cat. Molly is a freelance writer, vegan, and coffee snob. She shares her tips for planning a safe, budget-friendly, and memorable 2021 spring break road trip.
The health landscape is shifting quickly in 2021, which is more reason than ever to make sure you know the landscape in front of you when you’re departing on a road trip. And yes, you can take a spring break road trip this year. Spring break doesn’t have to be a stay-at-home downer.
In fact, a road trip can be the perfect balm for the cooped-up soul. If you’ve been stuck in the house for months as you wait for the COVID-19 threat to abate, the stress and strain of isolation have doubtless taken their toll. The good news is you can get out safely, and taking your own vehicle is the safest way to do that.
The CDC recommends avoiding airports, train terminals, and public transportation because those are some of the places the virus is most likely to spread. Your vehicle, with just you inside — or you and the people you live with — is like a bubble that allows you to take your pod on the road, so to speak.
You just need to know how to plan properly, where it’s safe to travel, and how to proceed.
Consider a home exchange for your spring break road trip
If you’re traveling during spring break, a home exchange can be just the ticket. Many homes are available off the beaten path, and you can ensure that the place you pick is clean and safe.
You can meet potential exchange partners on the phone or via video chat ahead of time to be sure they’re a good fit. You can’t do that with a hotel or motel, where you’re sure to encounter other guests and employees, no matter how careful you are.
Ask questions about how the hosts keep their home clean and sanitized, and be prepared to answer the same questions about your own home. Who knows? You might even make a friend or a regular exchange partner.
Find out-of-the-way spring break destinations
There’s an advantage to the approach of heading for the hills (so to speak). The farther you get from “civilization,” the less chance you’ll have of contracting the virus.
As mentioned, indoor places with a lot of people are the last place you want to be. So it follows that outdoor places with few people are perfect. They’re also a lot more beautiful than anything you’ll find in the city, and you can explore to your heart’s content without worrying about encountering another living soul. Or not many, anyway.
Check out the California redwoods or Monument Valley in Arizona. Trek to the Black Hills of South Dakota, or take a trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are scores of places just waiting to welcome you with open, scenic arms. Pick a beautiful road and chart a course for adventure.
Head out with the proper tech
The farther away from cities and towns you are, the more you’ll need to be prepared for any eventuality. So it’s a good idea to take the proper technology with you on the road so you can feel secure in case of an emergency. Here are some items to have ready:
- A Wi-Fi booster or mobile range extender so you can stay connected when you’re on the go. Many are small enough to fit in your pocket.
- A portable generator, which can come in handy especially if you’re traveling to remote campgrounds or other out-of-the-way places where you won’t have access to electricity.
- Extra cellphone chargers.
- A vehicle diagnostic tool to monitor your battery and alert you when your voltage is too low.
Be prepared financially
It goes almost without saying that you should know where you stand financially before you head out. Check your bank account to be sure you can afford your trip and still have enough money to pay the bills when you return.
It’s a good idea to have a credit card as a backup, or in case you want/need to rent a car (most car rental companies require them). If you want to guard against overextending yourself, you might think about depositing a few hundred dollars into a secured credit account for a card with a hard limit.
If you’re trying to build your credit, it will help with that, too, letting you take advantage of a credit card’s benefits without putting you in a hole. Because you can only spend so much, you’ll know exactly how much is available in your account.
Check the weather forecast
You don’t want to head somewhere that’s got gloomy weather if you’re planning a photo excursion or camping trip, so it’s important to know ahead of time what you’re in for.
More important still: You want to avoid road closures and dangerous conditions, especially in light of the icy winter 2021 has produced so far. Weather extremes are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Mobile weather apps can track storm fronts by radar and give you insights 10 to 14 days ahead of time. Download one or two and check them frequently so you can stay safe and on track.
Staying safe on a road trip isn’t rocket science, even during a pandemic. Of course, you’ll want to keep observing the standard CDC guidelines regarding virus protection. Take along plenty of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, mask up, stay distant from others, and avoid indoor places as much as possible.
The ideas above can get you started on a great adventure of discovery, so hit the road and make some memories!