I recently packed up my SUV and took to the Texas highways for a spontaneous getaway that really soothed my soul, reignited my creativity and quite frankly, cured my shelter-at-home boredom. My road trip encompassed visits and explorations of some of Texas’ most vibrant cities: Dallas 🚘 Fort Worth 🚘 Austin 🚘 San Antonio 🚘 Corpus Christi 🚘 Kingsville 🚘The Woodlands 🚘 Houston.
I’ve captured ten great travel tips from my journey in hopes of inspiring you to curate your own safe and exciting adventure.
Hotels & Accommodations: Many hotels are offering great deals and steals. Search online to identify offers for the areas you plan to visit and reach out to the hotels directly to confirm availability of amenities such as spas, pools and restaurants. I discovered that restaurants were only available during limited hours and that reservations were required for use of the pool area to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Calling the hotel will also be an opportunity to inquire about safety measures that have been put in place. Regardless, I still encourage you to wipe down all surfaces with Lysol disinfecting wipes and Clorox bleach spray.
Restaurants: I enjoyed visiting restaurants that were local to the area that were suggested by friends and the hotel concierge. Keep in mind that restaurants have limited capacity to enforce social distancing, so plan ahead. My suggestion is to dine on the outdoor patio areas where there is air circulation and as an added precaution, use a Lysol disinfecting wipe to handle pens, credit cards and any other surfaces that are touched by the servers and others.
Social Distance: It is important to continue maintaining physical distance between you and others during travel and to always wear your mask. I was glad to see the “six-feet distance” visible markers and representations at each of my destinations. From people standing guard to enforce the rules and physical signs to the arrangement of seating areas, social distancing was a top priority at each of my destinations.
Safety Travel Kit: In addition to your traditional safety travel kit, add new key essentials including disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and wipes, paper towels, breath mints and chap stick. Additionally, remember to pack added security such as mace or a taser and ensure that you have your car insurance and AAA card in a secure place.
Accountability: When traveling, especially when alone, let someone know where you are the entire time by providing an itinerary of your trip. If you change plans along the way, simply send a text or make a phone call to keep them informed at all times.
Planning: When planning, I identified the key cities and destinations that were along my route. This kept my drives from one to three hours max. Additionally, I reached out to friends and family that were in each of the cities to coordinate a socially distanced lunch or quick drive-by visit. Overall, I kept the planning light and really wanted it to be a trip that evolved as I went along. In full transparency, I booked my hotels the night before, because…well, I can be a free spirit at times and it worked out wonderfully.
Packing: Since this was a road trip, I was able to use my large suitcase without worrying about luggage fees. So live a little and pack everything you think you will need and more if you want. I packed sundresses, swimsuits, hats, sandals and work out attire, you know, cool and breezy vacation attire! Also, remember to pack sun screen, mosquito reppellent and a snack bag with nutritious items such as nuts, water, vitamins, apples and grapes.
The Budget: You most likely have not traveled or ventured out all year, so this is the time to use your “travel fund”. I suggest keeping your budget loose and to simply have a great time. Of course, still take advantage of all perks and rewards that you have, offers from hotels and attractions and day passes. You can really have a really grand time on a reasonable budget. Just enjoy, keep it simple and go with the flow.
Music: Great music was definitely the backdrop of my drives, so grab those old CDs and create playlists that you can sing along word for word. You will have so much fun singing and reminiscing. A few favorites from my trip include Billie Holiday, Brian McKnight, Lenny Kravitz, Nirvana, The Counting Crows, Third Eye Blind, Billie Eilish, Aluna George, Citizen Cope, Jamiroquai, Jagged Edge, Keisha Cole, The Roots and A Tribe Called Quest. The Joint and Bob Marley Reggae stations on SiriusXM also help put me in full vacation mode.
Social Media: Feel free to post your fun highlights to bring a little joy and light to your friends’ timelines. Be in the moment while experiencing your vacation and save posting to social media for the evenings when you are back in your room and settled. For safety, your posts should always be a day or two delayed, so by the time you post, you are already at your next destination.