The summer of 2020 is looking to be one of local travel, staycations and road trips as the pandemic causes Ontarians to re-evaluate summer plans. The good news? While travel looks differently, it doesn’t have to be any less memorable, fun, restful, or beautiful.
Here’s our recommended 5-Step Process to ensure your road trip is responsible, smooth and seamless!
1. EVALUATE the Journey
The first step is a precautionary measure to ensure your planned road trip is a feasible, safe idea. Make responsible and informed decisions regarding travel by first visiting the Government of Canada’s website to check for updates on travel restrictions and advice during COVID-19.
2. PLAN the Journey
Road trips are best executed when well planned. If you don’t already know where you’d like to go, begin with brainstorming locations that are safe and feasible for you and your family. A great resource during this step is Ontario Travel, which is full of destinations and attractions that are worth checking out. Keep in mind the importance of going places where social distancing can be exercised and make sure to double check that where you’re planning to go is open.
Knowing where you’re going, how long you’ll be there, and the general idea of what you will be doing there and making sure everyone who will be on the trip has agreed to/knows this plan reduces a lot of potential conflict (especially with children). This doesn’t have to be a second-by-second itinerary to still allow for spontaneity and adventure, but having a clear location, activity and goal with a road trip will set you up for success!
3. MAP the Journey
Beyond planning the destination, it’s also important to have a good understanding of the journey it will take to get there. A reliable, helpful GPS is great for navigation, such as Waze, Maps.Me, and Google Maps. We also recommend going a step further and get an idea of how long it will take to get there, and where gas stations, rest stops, and restaurants offering take-out or drive-through options are located along the route. This helps set expectations for the trip and reduces potential stress if an unexpected stop is needed or you’ve realized that you forgot an essential item.
And don’t forget to check out our list of 23 ONroute locations along the 400 and 401 highways where you can stop, shop, refuel your car and yourself, and take a break all at once!
4. PACK for the Journey
Packing appropriately for a road trip is especially important during COVID-19 as social distancing measures are in place and the number of stops needed along the way should be reduced as much as possible. Packing additional snacks/food, toiletries, games, clothes, and first-aid items are some simple ways to be extra prepared. And not to worry, if you forget anything, ONroute locations are ‘ON it’ and have essential items in our market, including fresh fruit, snacks, water, hand sanitizer and more.
During this time, it’s also important to have items such as hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and/or disinfecting wipes with you. Both of these are useful if access to sinks/water are limited. Items like gloves and face masks may also be beneficial and in some cases are highly recommended (going in grocery stores, if you’re immunocompromised, etc.).
5. ENJOY the Journey
Perhaps that most important part of a road trip is getting to enjoy it. With this summer looking differently than most, taking the extra time to appreciate a change of scenery and make memories with loved ones is particularly important. Here are a few steps that you can take to help savour the trip even more:
- Limit or eliminate screen time: Aside from navigation, essential searches, or taking pictures, reducing screen time can help you stay engaged with those that you’re with, increase opportunities to enjoy time together, and help be present in the moment.
- Journaling: Encouraging yourself, friends, or children to write about the road trip, what they enjoyed, the highlights, and the memories can be a great way to increase gratitude during a challenging and difficult year.
- Take pictures, but not too many: Pictures are a great way to remember and “lock in” the moment, but taking too many can make you distracted. Be mindful of where you’re placing your attention and take only the photos you need to remember the moments you’re enjoying in person!
That’s a wrap! We hope these tips are helpful in getting you started in the right direction for your summer road trip and wish you safe and healthy travels.