In the wake of COVID-19 (anyone else hopeful the worst is finally over in Australia?!), it’s clear overseas and domestic travel has changed forever. Freedom of movement between states, let alone countries, musn’t be taken for granted. Road trip planning looks very different these days.
For example, additional health and safety precautions implemented now will likely stick around in the same way security measures did after 9/11.
Let’s look into what coronavirus considerations there are now, when planning your next road trip.
Latest advice on restricted locations
Many of us have rejoiced over Queensland lifting some of its border restrictions recently and the new announcements about the Victoria-New South Wales and Victoria-South Australia border restrictions lifting soon. Even Western Australia’s hard border is being relaxed shortly.
However, you might not realise that some Indigenous and other regional communities may still not be accepting visitors. And, things change week to week in many areas it seems. So, it can be difficult to be confident about travel at any given time.
Unsure which areas to avoid? This handy list of state resources will help (courtesy of Smart Traveller):
As you travel around, it’s important to keep checking the latest official travel advice on the areas you are or will be travelling in and close to.
Be ready to change your road trip planning t(r)ack
With travel restrictions changing frequently it’s best to have a Plan B… Maybe even a Plan C… Consider – what will you do if you’re over the border and can’t get back via road? Can you leave your ride behind somewhere and fly back?
What if you can’t fly back either – do you have all you need to keep living life? This might include equipment to work remotely, access to money or enough in your account, and sufficient living basics to cover you until you can return.
Just like Gran always said: “it’s best to be prepared than to be disappointed”.
Thinking an intrastate driving holiday might be a better idea, just in case? We have some great regional road trip suggestions. It’s worth a thought.
This flexible approach to road tripping also helps if you get caught driving in bushfires season. All it takes is a grassfire turned nasty to mean you need to quickly speed away from what may have been a destination on your schedule.
Keep informed and stay alert, and you’ll still enjoy a fantastic, well-earned break.
And if you need any more tips on making your driving holiday a memorable one, check out our grey nomad travel hints. Even if you’re not of the silvered variety there are plenty of ideas there to help you make your time off worthwhile!
Know business models have changed
Are food, bevvies, entertainment and retail relaxation a key element to any good holiday for you? Check which local businesses are operating before choosing a destination.
Cafes, restaurants, bars, beauty parlours and many local entertainment venues (among other business types) have had to change the way they operate. Community health and safety is more important than ever. And this means that spontaneity has become a thing of the past.
To avoid disappointment, it’s best to call ahead and make reservations for activities like dining. Nothing worse than arriving for a week-long holiday to find super slim gastro pickings. Or front up with the kids to a fun park only to find it closed. Been there, done that. Eek.
Different states have different laws around how many patrons they can service at once. Some businesses have decided to remain closed indefinitely, while others are open on reduced hours. It’s best to know what your options are before you head out.
Follow the guidelines to stay healthy
Medical research is still learning the real and potentially long-lasting impacts of COVID-19 on the human population. It’s important that you do your best to protect yourself, and the greater community.
This means continuing to maintain physical distancing (of at least 1.5 metres). Doing so is often easiest if you avoid peak foot traffic times/areas – even when accomplishing simple tasks like visiting the grocery store.
Please practice good hygiene. Continue to wash your hands thoroughly and carry sanitiser with you as needed. Wear a mask, particularly if you can’t avoid lots of people. Use gloves or paper towel at the petrol bowser or tyre pump. Etc etc.
Of course, if you begin to feel unwell while you’re away, please self-isolate and arrange to get tested ASAP.
Before you go, read up about avoiding COVID on the road. And when you’re on holidays be sure to stay up to date with the news around local infections and guidelines.
Stress less with insurance
If you’re road tripping – COVID or not – one of the best ways to safeguard your happiness is to ensure your road warrior is covered with comprehensive car insurance. That way you can get back on your wheels quickly and easily (if you have an awesome insurance provider like PD Insurance), without a big dent in your back pocket.
Check out our comprehensive car insurance features and discounts here. You should also look into our roadside assistance if you haven’t yet.
Over to you – Road trip planning
Have you been on a driving holiday in COVID times? How have you found it? Any advice on road trip planning in this strange new reality?