Before the Airline Deregulation Act of the late 1970s made flying more accessible to the average American both in terms of price and quantity of flights, domestic travel by car was all the rage. Families and friends eager to see all that this land had to offer would pack their bags and pile into their cars for road trips across the country, spending quality time bonding with one another.
Nostalgic Travel is Making a Comeback
As the coronavirus shut down many pathways to domestic flying, and international destinations are shutting borders to US travelers, folks are looking back to our past for a different type of travel to take with friends and families: the humble American road trip.
Group Travel in the Time of Coronavirus
Taking a road trip with your group is a safe and exciting way to scratch the travel itch and get out of your self-imposed solitude. There are many things to consider when planning your COVID group road trip and we’ve put together a short guide of the basics to get you started.
Planning a Safe Group Road Trip
A COVID group road trip starts with considering where you would like to go, what you would like to see, for how long, with whom, and what you should bring. We’ve got it covered!
Now is the best time to see all those great places in the US that you’ve always wanted to see, but could never get around to visiting. Think back to the road trips that you may have taken with your family or heard about from friends and loved ones. Where did they go? What did they do?
In the past, all you would need to do was place a quick call to AAA with a preferred destination, and a spiral-bound book filled with a planned route and teeming with travel tips would appear. Today, you have all of the freedom to choose your own adventure.
Planning Your Drive
Pick the places you would like to see within a general area and plot them on a mapping site like Google Maps. Once you have a sense of how long the driving time will take, follow this rule of thumb for the number of days: plan for 3.5 hours of driving a day. So, if your journey involves 10 hours of driving, it should take you roughly three to four days.
Where to Go And What to See
Look for places to eat along the way and add them to your itinerary, though packing some snacks and drinks into a cooler is a smooth move and gives your trip a hint of nostalgia. You should also add your sights to the map as well; everything from campgrounds to museums to national parks to beaches and landmarks. If you need inspiration for your itinerary, WhereTraveler has a variety of features on road trips to take right now as well as a series of Broadway Road Trips as inspired by actors of screen and stage.
Keep in mind that travel to large cities might be a challenge due to shutdowns, lack of lodging and dining options, and overall reduced safety from crowds and coronavirus. As well, you will want to check on the requirements for the areas you plan to visit as some may require quarantine and it will be essential to plan around that. You can find the information you need for travel during COVID-19 on the CDC website along with a directory of state health departments to confirm the requirements specific to your destinations.
Who and What to Bring
For starters, think of who you want to bring with you on your COVID group road trip. You must already have someone in mind, just make sure everyone can fit into your vehicle before you start to send out invitations. For safety reasons, stick to your pod or social bubble; that is, people in your family or friends who you see frequently and exclusively. A road trip is a great opportunity to bond with your family or close friends, but it is important to stay inside your bubble to maintain social distancing and avoid contracting and spreading the virus.
On that note, remember to bring your PPE with you; things like face masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves if you are so inclined. For a full list of precautions for COVID group travel, you can check out our ultimate pandemic group planning guide.
Putting it All Together
While adding old school elements to bring a classic feel to your road trip is a great touch, building your itinerary, inviting your pod, and managing all the details of your plans should be thoroughly modern. Using an online platform will streamline your group road trip planning and make the process easier and even more fun.
#GroupForward with GroupTools
GroupTools makes building your road trip itinerary a breeze. It’s simple to add multiple destinations and activities. It’s invitation process also makes it simple to share those details with your group. If your pod members are all paying in to cover the cost of the road trip, with GroupTools they can use contact-free payment 24/7 online through GroupTools as well. It’s the ideal system to help you #GroupForward on a road trip and it's absolutely free. Visit GroupTools.com to learn more or jump right into your planning by registering or logging in today.