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Safety Tips For Virus-Free Stops During COVID-19

We all know that in order to keep everything as virus-free as possible, travel isn’t recommended during this time. That said, some RVers will find themselves in situations that require it. Whether you need to head back to family or find a more comfortable place to park your rig for a bit, you could very well find yourself on the road before this pandemic has ended.

If that’s the case, you will not only need to deal with all the usual travel-day challenges, but the COVID-19 emergency has presented new challenges as well. In particular, you will need to find ways to stick to your own space and avoid public spaces and interaction with other people as much as possible. This is easy enough when you’re in your vehicle, but becomes much more difficult when making stops along the way. Below are our top tips for virus-free stops while traveling during the pandemic.

Use your own restroom

Public restrooms are perhaps some of the most unsanitary places we visit on our travels. It only makes sense to avoid them as much as possible during this time of avoiding germs.

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Avoid public bathrooms as much as possible right now. Photo via Wikipedia Creative Commons
Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

While many people prefer to head into gas stations and rest stops along their route to use the restroom and stretch their legs, it’s better to use your RV restroom for the time being. Doing this will allow you to avoid being exposed to the germs of others, and you can rest easy knowing just how clean your own space is.

Don’t usually use your restroom while traveling? Just put a small amount of water in your fresh tank before hitting the road, and you should be able to use your pump to flush and wash your hands for the duration of your trip.

Cook your own meals

Like using your own restroom, we also recommend using your own kitchen as much as possible right now. Not only is cooking your own food a safer route, but you may not have many options anyway (aside from carry-out) since many places have closed their dining rooms, and most RVs won’t fit in drive-thrus.

Make your own food at the campsite. Photo via iRV2 Forums

Of course, if you’re going to be making your own meals along the way, you will want to stock up on groceries. We recommend buying easy-to-make meals such as sandwiches and one-pot stovetop meals like pasta.

To be extra safe, order these groceries online and pick them up, or have them delivered just before your travel day, so you won’t have to go into the store. Keep in mind this is not always a viable option and you may not end up getting all of the groceries you ordered depending on availability.

Wipe everything clean & use gloves

While you can use your own restroom and kitchen, there are some instances that will require you to use public spaces. For instance, you may need to let a pet out to use the bathroom or you may need to get out to pump gas.

When these things come up, in order to keep things as virus-free as possible, wipe the gas pump, cart handles, and any door handles with sanitizing wipes before touching them and sanitize or wash your hands often. Another option is to slip on a pair of disposable gloves for the duration of the stop and throw them away before getting back into your vehicle.

And of course, leave at least six feet between you and other people whenever possible and wear a mask if you have one.

Pay at the pump

In addition to wiping the gas pump before getting gas, you will also want to pay at the pump if possible. This saves you from touching things as you head into the gas station like the door handle and the counter. It also removes the need to queue up at the register and speak with the person working the register—both things that put you in relatively close proximity to other people.

Need to stop for fuel? Make sure you use gloves and/or wipe everything down like the pump and the machine. Photo via iRV2 Forums
Pay for parks online and ask questions on the phone

If you’re staying in an RV park, see if they will allow you to pay and “check-in” online or over the phone. Ask for your site number and find out if there’s anything you should know, such as a gate code, bathroom code, or the latest time you’re allowed to arrive.

Doing this online or over the phone removes yet another interaction and even more time spent in public places, but may not be possible at some parks.

Plan your route wisely during COVID-19

It’s important to be very aware of what’s going on in the world as you plan your route. Many counties and areas are completely closed to anyone who is not a current resident. Some places also have curfews in place, meaning driving at night is not ideal. Most essential stores will be closed earlier than usual, so any stops for food and/or other needs may need to happen earlier in the day. Additionally, some states have set up checkpoints that could fall along your route.

Knowing what is open and closed along your route is essential right now. Thankfully, RV LIFE Campgrounds has been contacting over 20,000 campgrounds and RV parks to list the most up-to-date information on campground closures across the US and Canada. They have also integrated this vital information into RV LIFE Trip Wizard and the RV LIFE App to make it easier for RVers who are still on the road to find out where they can stay amid all of this chaos. RV LIFE also put together a very useful state-by-state guide on campground closures and has kept it updated on a daily basis with the most current information.

By using these tips, you should be able to get from point A to point B in comfort and with minimal contact with others. This will help ensure you arrive at your final location safe and sound, and can ride out this time wherever you most prefer.

See also: Finding Overnight Stops During The Coronavirus Outbreak