Prepare for summer travel

Summer is here and that means vacation. It’s time to prepare for summer travel. AAA travel expert Anne McAlpin has compiled ideas and tips to help ensure your next trip is both fun AND safe.

Do Your Research

Before you head out the door, be sure to check out current travel information for your destination.  Two excellent resources are AAA.com for updated state and local travel restrictions and CDC.gov for continual updates on safe travel. You can also check for latest travel updates here.

Tips for Road Trips

With travel restrictions in some areas, it’s more important than ever to research your route in advance.  A great resource to help plan for your getaway is AAA’s trusted TripTik®.  In addition,  be sure to confirm in advance what businesses are open (and what limitations they may have) like restaurants, rest areas, and gas stations. You’ll also want to download the AAA Mobile App to find the best prices on gas, request roadside assistance if needed, and more.

Pack Your Car

Packing for road trips can be fun, however no matter where the road takes you, it’s important to stay organized.  Here are some great tips for what you should pack and what you should be prepared for. If you need to pick up some supplies, click here for suggestions available at your local AAA Travel Store.

  • Be prepared for the “new normal” with enough PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) for everyone in your car.
    • Pack PPE items, which include face masks and sanitizer wipes, in a shoe box or tote bag for convenience. Make sure you wipe down high touch point areas like the steering wheel and door handles often.
    • When you need quick access to extra masks or disposable gloves, like when at self-pump gas stations, pack them in a mesh packing cube in the driver’s side door pocket or center console.
  • Re-purpose a plastic cereal container with a lid. Line it with kitchen bags to use as a trash bin.
  • Small tissue packets can be used as emergency toilet paper for restrooms and rest areas that have none.
  • What’s a road trip without snacks?  Pack travel friendly food like trail mix and granola bars, things that won’t melt in a hot car.  Consider packing a picnic basket with your own utensils, plates and cups.  Stay hydrated with a water bottle with a filter.
  • Finally, if you leave your car to go into a restaurant, etc. be sure to take any valuables with you, including smart phones, laptops and medications.

If you want more info on preparing for road trips, check out Summer Prep center, including tips for vehicle prep, checklists, road conditions and more.

Tips for Plane Trips

In light of COVID there have been changes to airport security.  For continual updates go to TSA.gov. In addition, always check your airline’s website prior to your flight for possible changes in procedures, arrive to the airport early with your mask on and your pre-printed boarding pass.

Three new TSA Checkpoint Regulations:

  • In addition to the current TSA liquid 3-1-1 rule, travelers are allowed one 12 oz bottle of hand sanitizer – placed in the bin for inspection
  • All food must be packed in a clear bag – and taken out for inspection
  • Pack small items like coins and cell phones inside your carry-on bag to help prevent cross-contamination

Additional airport tips:

  • Take out any electronics bigger than your phone
  • Wash your hands after clearing security (pack hand lotion for dry hands)
  • Pack an airplane kit (additional fresh mask + wipes)
  • Pack a day’s worth of food, restaurants may not open, only grab and go sandwiches
  • If you checked bags, be sure to wipe down your handles on your suitcase upon arrival
  • Check out our recent article on changes at the PDX airport!

Tips for Hotel Stays

  • Contact your hotel in advance and ask what cleaning procedures are in place and make sure you’re comfortable with them.
  • Pack sanitizer wipes for high-touch surfaces like light switches, door knobs and counter tops.
  • Take an extra bag for the TV remote (or use the free shower cap) to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Research in advance to know if hotel food is available. Pack your own coffee mug and instant oatmeal/snacks in case the restaurant is closed.  Most breakfast buffets have been eliminated.
  • A collapsible drinking cup saves space in your bag (and it’s nice to know you’re the only one who’s touched it.)

When You’re Ready, We’re Ready

As always, travel is a personal choice. Make sure you do your research and reach out to us if you need help, we’re always here for you!

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