Traveling looks much different right now than it looked last summer. My husband and I talked for a week before we decided about the trip and it was not an easy decision to make. We decided to go with the idea that we’d be diligent, overly cautious, and not take any unnecessary risks.
My family just finished a 2300 miles road trip from Houston, Texas to Breckenridge, Colorado. One-way drive from Houston to Breckenridge was 18 hours and 1150 miles. This was the first time ever we decided to go on a long road trip with our son and dog. The longest road trip ( 7 hours) with our son was to New Orleans in December 2019.
Honestly there was a guilt of traveling in pandemic, the time away from our house was much needed for our mental health. We’d all been cooped up together for 5 months, and it’s been a real challenge working from home and keeping Vir active and engaged for so many months. The summer in Houston is always hot and humid with temperatures touching 102 degrees on some days.
This act of taking this road trip was a luxury for us even though it wasn’t a luxurious one. I realize we are extremely fortunate to both have jobs at a time when so many Americans are looking for work. And we are so grateful of the ability to take time off from work and stay out of our home for 10 days.
Please note – any decisions to travel are highly personal and I encourage you to take note of the risks. Please do your research, take your doctor’s advice, assess the health of your family and make an informed choice. The information I am sharing here cannot guarantee anyone’s health or safety and is not meant to be divisive or comprehensive. Please do not travel through Indigenous communities currently.
On my Instagram page I shared with you all details on my road trip and was flooded with questions on several topics. I will be sharing my tips and experiences on this post and will be happy to answer any questions either here on the post in my comments section or you can DM me on my IG page. Note- I approached our road trip planning with an overabundance of caution.
Covid Related Road Safety Precaution.
Tip- Plan you breaks ahead of time. Find the biggest rest stops that wouldn’t have a dingy bathroom.
While stopping for gas, we took extra precautions. We wore hand gloves and a mask while pumping gas. I wiped the card down after inserting it into the card reader everytime. Also trashed the gloves immediately before entering the car.
Our one-way trip was 18 hours so we broke up our trip in to 2 stops. 1 in Amarillo and 1 in New Mexico for the first phase of the drive.
However while returning from Colorado we drove 9 hours to Amarillo . (Pit stop at Sand Dune National Park) and straight to Houston next day.
On our entire road trip we ended up having total 3 restroom breaks. Stopping at hotels helped minimize public restrooms usage too.
Post using the restroom we used hand sanitizers immediately. We didn’t use any rest room that someone did before. I also carried sanitizing wipes and used on doorknobs and toilet seat before using. We wore masks all the time! Vir wasn’t allowed to touch anything.
Tip – With younger kids I recommend bringing a small, portable toilet to use. And be open to roadside bathroom break depending where it is allowed. Carry all toilet essentials.
On Road meals
I packed lot of snacks for the entire trip and a cooked meals that could easily stay fresh for few hours . We carried lots of water, juices to avoid any stops in an ice box. However we did stop at Starbucks and Mc donalds only to grab coffee, snacks and food. We wore masks all the time while getting our food from drive through.
Note none of these restaurants has restrooms open for public.
Staying in Hotels
We dint want to make this our first camping and RVing experience and so we decided the best option for us will be hotels. So far the hotels we stayed in took fantastic precautions. Everyone was wearing masks and it was enforced for all guests even kids. There were face shields between customers and front desk. The check in was smooth. The breakfast places were closed and food was only to go. Some places pools were closed too, while at our Colorado hotel, the pool had to be booked in advance . And only 2 families were allowed for an hour. We stayed in a condo in Colorado at Marriot Inn Breckenridge. Since we had our dog we had only pet friendly hotel options.
Tip – Take the first-floor hotel room next to the exit door to avoid getting in elevators and corridors with others. Call in before booking to check for covid measures taken at the property and booking room on 1st floor.
I carried a bag of cleaning supplies like lysol spray, paper towels , sanitizers and cleaned all the surfaces that would be touched before Vir entered the room.
We found that staying in a hotel and getting food to go felt perfectly safe with the excessive protective measures in place. Yet we booked a condo in Colorado with a kitchen and cooked some meals there too. I carried some ready to eat food like (pasta, pasta sauce, frozen paranthas( stuffed tortillas) noodles etc.
There was no room service until we stayed. For change of linen and towels we called the reception and left the stuff out of the room. Same with trash. It was replaced by the staff in few minutes.
National Park Visits on the way
Note: Some National parks are requiring reservations via advance ticket purchases.
We stopped on our way to Colorado at Paulo Duro Canyon in Amarilo. We checked ahead of time if the parks were open and what were the Covid restrictions. The tickets needed to be purchased in advance. We drove around the canyon and didn’t get out as it was 100 degrees that day.
On our way back from Colorado we stopped at Great Sand Dunes National park. Here the tickets were not needed in advance and was first come first serve basis. We wore masks throughout our trail and social distancing was relatively easy as it wasn’t crowded people were respectful of space.
Road trip Entertainment.
Spotify was the only source of entertainment for us. Apart from listening to my playlist we were hooked on to True Crime Podcast.
You can follow my playlists and podcast I like here
For Vir we had downloaded his favorite cartoons from Netflix and Amazon prime on his iPad.
Also he played his favorite online games and did reading eggs.
Additionally, Vir enjoyed listening to his favorite songs and stories podcast from Kids Spotify.
You can follow our Prek / Kindergarten playlist here
Things I carried for road trip for Vir
- We also carried a car fold-able table that I highly recommend.
- Toys -He played with his toys, legos, monster trucks and also did puzzles and coloring on his favorite kid’s magazine Highlights for Children.
- Snacks – Juicy Juice boxes, fruits, chips and nuts, cheese and yogurt pouch and granola bars.
- Travel Neck pillow for sleeping. Highly recommend this.
- Bike and helmet for the trip
- Cap, sunglasses, sunscreen, change of clothes and shoes.
- Kids mask and hand sanitizer
Other Essentials for the road
1)Big Bottle of hand sanitizer and several small for pocket use, Clorox wipes, latex gloves, lysol spray and paper towels
2)Lots of disposable masks and cloth masks, garbage bags
3) Back up phone charger Fast charge power bank from Otter box
4) Lots of water, snacks and fruits.
5) Supergoop sunscreen glow stick , sunscreen spray and Babyganics sunscreen for kids
6) Other essentials like – Mints, gum, chap-stick, pain killers, eye mask, flip flops to get in and out of car comfortably., scarf, glasses, caps, hairbrush, ties.
7) UV window shades
8) Cooler bag to keep food, water cold. Thermos. Tupperware
9) Swiss army knife, emergency window hammer and flashlight
10) Small reusable tote bag/ backapack with essentials for getting out of car and on trails or restroom.
Have a safe road trip friends!