What a year it has been. If you miss traveling internationally as much as I do, you’re in for a treat from this article which will take you around the world without ever taking out your passport which is likely collecting dust in a drawer at this very moment. Sigh. Well until better days, let us make the most of what we have!
First Off, It Is Alright To Take Road Trips
Covid has left all of us confined to the four walls of our homes. Can you believe it has been over a year of living like this?! So most of us haven’t been out of the country in the last 365 days, but remember what country we live in!! The United States is one of the biggest countries in the world with so many different natural wonders it will make your head spin!
If you wanted to head to switzerland to check out the Swiss Alps, guess what? Vail Village in Colorado will make you feel like you’re on the other side of the world, and without the jet lag! So pack your bags because we are going on a road trip!
Our 7 Picks For A Road Trip And Vacation
- Mackinac Island, Michigan
- St. Augustine, Florida
- Nickajack Lake, Tennessee
- Rocky Mountains, Colorado
- Lake Tahoe, California
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Mackinac Island, Michigan
This is an island in the heart of the great lake area that has roads, but no cars. Yep there are no bridges to this island either. If you want to visit you have to take a ferry or rent a plane. An odd choice for a road trip you might suggest? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the ferry anyhow though. Michigan is gorgeous and no matter what corner of the country you decide to drive from, you’ll see a lot on the way to this gorgeous
Mackinac Island is on the North end of Michigan and sits between the Upper and Lower peninsulas of the state. The island boasts many resorts and bed and breakfasts, some lovely historical gardens, a harbour, a state park and quite a few bars and restaurants. It is still very much set in the victorian era, complete with horses and buggies and antique architecture. It is a must see landmark in our vast nation.
St. Augustine, Florida
The oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine has a lot to offer a road tripping person. Florida is one of the few states in the country that is operating mostly business as usual. Based heavily in the tourism industry, Florida has chosen to keep its bars and restaurants, as well as its beaches and natural attractions open for business which make Florida the perfect place to visit while most of the world is shut down.
St. Augustine in particular has so much to offer from the homemade fudge shops, to the historical landmarks like the Fort, walk through the historical town scape and even take a ghost tour in downtown! Did we mention the beaches? Like most parts of Florida, the sugar sand beaches of St. Augustine will take your breath away, especially if you’re currently living in a Northern state. Did I mention it was in the 80’s in Florida yesterday? Ditch the snow shovel and head on down to the sunshine state where you can actually socially distance outside.
Nickajack Lake, Tennessee
Tucked just outside of Chattanooga you will find a beautiful emerald green lake. The site will quite literally take your breath away if you happen to pass it on the interstate. Grabbing a lake house in this area is surprisingly affordable and the hiking and other outdoor activities is pretty much unbeatable.
The Smokey Mountain Range is the oldest range in the United States. Nickajack Lake is surrounded by national parks with some of the best hiking and waterfalls that the country has to offer. and Chattanooga TN is just a short car ride away if you’re looking to hit up some of the best BBQ in the country.
Rent a boat, pack a tent and camp out, huddle around a campfire outside of your rented cabin, this area has nearly endless opportunities to get outside with your loved ones.
Rocky Mountains, Colorado
There is a lot that falls under the Rocky Mountain range in Colorado, from Vail, to Red Rocks, Garden of The Gods, Minturn. There is so much to see and do in Colorado no matter what season it is. If you’re taking the jump to ski there is no better place than the Rocky Mountain Range, particularly Aspen and Vail, though be prepared to spend some cash at these locations because this breathtaking natural beauty comes with a steep price ticket.
In the summer the hiking in Colorado is close to unbeatable. There is also white water rafting, amusement parks, train tours and so much more to attend, see and experience. Be sure to check out some of the larger cities in the state including Boulder and Denver which have excellent downtown scenes as well as great dining choices.
Lake Tahoe, California
Ah, California. If you can rent a convertible and ride down the coast of the state you’ve truly made it in this world. These views look good no matter what you are driving though. Among the many beautiful destinations in the state of California is Lake Tahoe. Tucked away in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is this gorgeous fresh water body. Not many places in this world boast excellent beaches and top notch skiing. For these reasons and many more including dining, lodging, hiking and history, we couldn’t leave Lake Tahoe off of this list.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Most of you are aware of the largest canyon in North America which resides in our country in the state of Arizona. The grand canyon has some incredible sights to take in and some truly gnarly hikes through the canyon which are not for the faint of heart. Among the more friendly interaction include mule rides through parts of the canyon, fine lodging in authentic log cabins, bird watching, game watching, zip lining, bungee jumping and more.
If you haven’t yet taken a trip to the Grand Canyon in AZ there is no better time than during a global pandemic. The area offers countless outdoor activities sure to keep you entertained and socially distant for days.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is full of beautiful scenery including breathtaking rocky cliff sides and beaches. Take a week and explore this historic area including Plymouth, the landing site of the Mayflower, many lighthouses. You’ll be dining on the freshest seafood the country has to offer from Maine lobster to scallops and oysters. From scenic bike trails, world renowned beaches, windsurfing, sailing, hiking and so much more, Cape Cod should be on your don’t miss list of road trip destinations.
Don’t forget to check out the historic city of Boston while you’re in the state of Massachusetts, not to mention the gorgeous forestry of Western Mass and the Berkshires. Boston is affectionately America’s biggest small town. You’ll have a tough time beating the food and entertainment in this marvelous city and surprises may lie around every corner.
Since we’ve covered what you came here for, the coolest destinations in the United States to road trip, let’s discuss some safety precautions you should always take during a road trip, plus a few that are vital to keep yourself and others from getting Covid19.
Traveling Safely For Any Road Trip
Have Your Stops Picked Out
Know where you are staying and how far you will be driving each day. It may seem fun to fly by the seat of your pants, but having an itinerary and a plan will keep you from sleeping in your car in areas you probably shouldn’t be, like rest stops.
Call ahead to confirm your reservations and confirm opening and closing times of any restaurants, parks, and other venues you plan on using.
Don’t Sleep In Your Car
Sleeping in your car is a good way to invite bad things into your life. Most of the time you’ll be fine doing this and you can save some money on lodging, but every once in a while people get robbed, assaulted and kidnapped when they are sleeping in their vehicles.
5 Things You Can Do To Save Gas
- Don’t accelerate or brake quickly if possible
- Use cruise control
- Keep your car well maintained
- Make sure your tire pressure is in the right range
- Consider aftermarket upgrades
- Make sure your O2 sensor and exhaust system is working properly
Don’t Drive Distracted Or Tired
Being awake and off of your phone are critical to a happy and safe road trip. Make sure you are stopping to stretch, take bathroom breaks and not driving for ex
Traveling During Covid
Pick A Socially Distance Friendly Hotel
It would be best to choose an open air style lodging but find something that you are comfortable with from airbnb to even an indoor hotel that has put precautions in place. The name of the game is that YOU are comfortable. We all have to get through this as best we see fit
Make A Plan That Works With Your Risk Tolerance
If you aren’t comfortable getting on a plane, then drive. If you don’t want to be in the car for extended periods of time, then break it up to manageable chunks or simply enjoy your surrounding area on small trips.
Flexibility Will Keep You Sane
Like everything in the last year, we have to be on our toes ready to pivot and change direction. Life has certainly been throwing curveballs and ducking them can really ruin your plans. Have the attitude to take them in stride, laugh them off and be prepared with alternatives.
Be Prepared To Plan More Than Usual
With Covid19 limiting options and limiting group sizes of the activities that are available, you have to be proactive in your planning. Now is not the time to encourage a relaxed travel style.
Covid Related Packing List
New additions because of the Covid-19 pandemic we are currently living in:
- Hand sanitizer
- Disposable gloves
- Your mask
- Clorox wipes
- Vitamin C
- A sense of humor
Preparation and Safety Tips
- Know what is open from restaurants, to state parks, to gas stations. Life is abnormal right now. Plan for it
- Face Masks- You should have a face mask for every member of your party as many businesses may not admit you entry without one. Regardless of what you believe, having a face mask is a necessity right now if you wish to enter a building.
- Double Check Reservations- Call ahead. Check things twice and three times to make sure they are open if you are relying heavily upon the accommodation. Ask what their safety requirements are and be sure to prepare for them.
- Stop Often- With rest stops being closed, you never know when your next bathroom break or opportunity to fill up the car will come.
- Consider Wearing Gloves- If you are cautious, you can also wear gloves while filling up the car. It is a great way to limit your exposure to the virus. If you don’t have access you can also consider using paper towels or some other form of barrier between you and the public surfaces.
- Roadside Assistance- most are still in operation currently. Be sure to follow safety guidelines when dealing with roadside assistance personnel.
Pre Road Trip Car Checklist:
- Tires (tread, integrity, air pressure, wear)
- Oil and oil filter check
- Air filter
- Cabin air filter
- Check spark plugs
- Fill Windshield wiper reservoirs
- Double check your spare tire as well as jack and other essential tire changing supplies
- Lights (brake lights, headlights, blinkers and emergency lights)
- Heater or air conditioning depending on the time of year
- Radiator flush
Tires: Without 4 working tires, your road trip might be long, but you certainly won’t be going very far. look over the tires for any foreign objects like nails and check over the integrity of the tread.
Oil: without proper amounts of oil or with oil that has been compromised and needs to be changed, you risk burning out your engine when you drive your vehicle.
Air Filter: A clogged air filter will put undue stress on your engine and will prevent it from driving efficiently. What this looks like on a road trip is poor gas mileage and the chance of engine damage.
Cabin Air Filter: If you don’t want to be breathing in all sorts of junk while you’re in the car, make sure the air filter for the air provided to the cabin is in good condition.
Spark Plugs: Spark plugs light your fuel so they are extremely important to have in working order before you set out on your road trip adventure.
Windshield Wiper Reservoirs: There is nothing worse than hitting a huge bug with your windshield and not having fluid in your wiper reservoir to clean it off. Fill up this fluid compartment before you go.
Spare Tire And Jack: Check over the integrity of your spare tire and ensure you have all necessary supplies for changing a tire should you need to.
Coolant: your engine coolant is incredibly important for keeping your vehicle’s operating temperatures at a safe level. Be sure your engine coolant is in good condition before you go and that there is enough of it to go around. A lack of engine coolant can also prevent your car from producing cabin heat as well which could really be discomforting if you are driving in winter.
Lights: The lights on your car are an important safety feature on your car. Make sure they work including turn signals
Horn: Another important safety feature is your horn which helps you gain the attention of other drivers or animals and people near your vehicle.
Heater and Air Conditioning: if you are in extreme weather such as you are driving through death valley or a New England snow storm, the heating and cooling units of your car might be a necessary safety feature. If you are driving in more temperate climates, they are just nice to have.
Radiator Flush: if it has been a while since you last flushed your radiator, consider having this maintenance task completed before you depart. Radiators can collect all sorts of scale and other junk which can cause blockages in coolant reaching your engine.
Emergency Survival Kit For Road Trips
We all know that feeling of empathy when you see a car or truck broken down on the side of the road. Well, this could happen to you every time you get behind the wheel, and depending on road conditions, weather, where you live, and how many other people are stuck at the same time as you, you could be there a while! Nothing puts a dampener on a road trip like car troubles, but you should none the less be prepared for the worst should it happen so that you can make the best of a bad situation and protect yourself from harm.
There are a few items that will make your comfortability chances a whole lot higher. Even better, they won’t break the bank Here they are:
Car Survival Kit Supplies
- Some form of bag that you can put survival items into should you need to abandon your vehicle
- Water (1 gallon per average amount of passengers)
- Non perishable food like energy bars or easy open canned goods
- Blanket (1 for each passenger)
- An extra change of winter worthy clothing (think thick socks, pants and jackets)
- First aid kit
- Hand Warmers
- Heavy duty trash bags (for emergency warmth)
- Medications you need
- Knife or multipurpose tool
- Phone charger
- Small shovel
- Lite tool kit
- Waterproof boots
- Emergency radio
Before Hitting The Road
Just before getting going on your trip, follow this last minute checklist
- Tire inflation and condition. Examine tread and any sign of bulging or damage.
- Fluids including windshield, coolant, power steering, brake, and oil.
Taking Care Of Your Vehicle After Your Trip
Now that you’re home from your trip safe and sound, take some time to recover, but remember to give your car the TLC it needs and deserves. It will probably need an oil change as well as more or less air in the tires depending on what altitude you trekked in from. Give it a wash and a wax to clean and protect the paint.
Check over the vehicle for any damage you may need to get repaired from your mirrors and windows to paint. Finally look over your tires and ensure you have no compromising damage that may leave you stranded before work on your first day back.
You may want to consider having the interior of your car detailed if you were particularly messy or just to do something nice for you and your vehicle after a long trip.
Need Help Fixing Your Repairs?
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In fact, suspension repairs are some of the most common repairs you’ll deal with on a regular basis, due in part to the declining quality of US roads.
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- A/C and Heating
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We hope this article has answered all of your questions regarding Covid19 friendly road trips, and that you feel more prepared to take control of your vacations during this trying time. Consider protecting your vehicle with an extended warranty plan from Protect My Car. In addition to warranties, Protect My Car also offers insurance and maintenance plans and can negotiate the best prices on repairs with mechanics.