DUBAI: While international travel may still be our preferred way to spend the holidays, the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that we’ve had to look a lot closer to home for vacation inspiration.
With international travel limited and budgets stretched, more people are opting for staycations, exploring must-see local destinations and enjoying tourist spots with a renewed interest.
After being home for such a long period of time, a road trip with family and friends is a great way to reconnect and make new memories. In fact, with a little planning and a few practical tips, you can head out and experience the rich culture in your own backyard. Take your loved ones and visit those sights you’ve always promised yourself you would go!
- Plan your route out ahead of time: Waze works with SYNC3 equipped cars and is one of the most reliable third-party navigation apps, and it will give you turn-by-turn direction to your destination. It will notify you of any traffic issues, road closures or other problems you may be likely to encounter on your route, giving you the option to re-route around them. Waze needs GPS and your data plan to work, but it does store an offline version of your course just in case your signal drops during your trip.
Research: Now is a good time to see those places you always said you would when you had more time, so Google places of interest along the way. Do a little research on the restrictions and guidelines you will need to respect at your destination, as the new normal is treated differently in varying regions; your research should also include the sanitation guidelines of the hotel, resort or camping ground you are staying at. Knowing that your hotel is doing its utmost to keep you safe will ensure peace of mind when bringing your loved ones on a road trip.
- Pack a sterilisation kit: You’re going to need supplies when you’re away, and it’s better to take them with you rather than rely on picking them up along the way. Pack enough surgical masks for multiple changes for each passenger; hand sanitiser helps in moments you do not have access to water. For those worried it could speed up the wear and tear of the cabin’s repeatedly-touched materials, testing by Ford has proven the interior trim can withstand the daily use of hand sanitiser, with up to 70 per cent alcohol. Keep the kit handy in the centre console. All Ford SUVs and trucks have a console large enough to stow your supplies.
- More kit: Add in some disinfectant wipes (not baby wipes) to help when you interact with commonly touched surfaces like fuel pump handles, ATM keypads, or even wiping down your credit card after use. If you want to use disinfectant wipes for the interior of your vehicle, ensure that they are bleach free to avoid any unwanted damage on the trim. Pack liquid soap too, for when you do have access to water. Disposable surgical gloves are also advisable.
- Clean your car: If your vehicle has been parked up during the lockdown period, check its condition before you set off. A quick hand wash will not only remove the dust and grime but will give you a chance to check for any issues as you work around the car. Clear out any rubbish that may have accumulated in the cabin and the trunk and give all surfaces a wipe down. Setting off in a clean car is a great way to start your holiday.
- Check your car: It’s good practice to check your tyre pressure regularly. If your car has been in quarantine too, then check that the pressure hasn’t dropped – and don’t forget to check the spare. Pop the bonnet and check your fluid levels too. If your car is due for service, book a session with your preferred Ford service centre.
- Steamy windows: Do your sunglasses steam up while wearing your mask? Try this tip: fold and tuck the top part over once, then gently pinch the metal strip over your nose. This should create a little gap that allows your breath to escape without venting up, into your lenses.
- Filling up: Many fuel stations offer disposable plastic gloves for use at self-service pumps. Use them if they’re there; use your own if not. If you must handle the pump without gloves, wipe down the gas nozzle and the keypad with disinfectant wipes. If possible, pay with your credit card at the pump to avoid contact with other people. When you’re finished fuelling up, use hand sanitiser, or better yet, wash your hands with soap and water if possible. Remember to wear your mask in public where required: in many countries, it’s mandated by law.
- Travel with fewer stops: Fewer stops will avoid unnecessary exposure to other people and areas not properly sanitised. Take note of your stopping points. Should you or a member of the family become sick at a later point, this will help in contact tracing.
- Avoid contact: Arriving at hotels and resorts has also changed in the new normal. If possible, opt for a contactless check-in and check-out. If you need to sign papers at the front desk, use your own pen as an extra precaution. Also, avoid getting your vehicle valeted. This will save you time from disinfecting areas the valet might have come in contact with.