Road trips and COVID 19

I was zooming with my MT friends last week and both have a road trip planned.  M is visiting me and K plans on visiting her daughter and grandchildren in Oregon. It sounds so simple! These are trips both of them have taken many times. But times have changed!

First, we needed to discuss pre trip COVID 19 testing. 

Testing is not widely available or easily accessible.  I don’t think I could get tested without symptoms and I would need a doctor’s order for the test.  M also doesn’t have ready access to a test. K can be tested easily in her community with a rapid turn around for results.  Her daughter also plans on having her grandchildren tested before K’s arrival, since they will have been out and about a bit. 

We know the test isn’t perfect and it only captures a moment in time.  A positive test means something; a negative may not.  A person can test negative and still be incubating the virus.  But it is one data point around travel and it would be great if it were more widely available.  And if the testing that is available could produce results within a day or so.

Then there is the actual road trip. 

They need to plan carefully regarding bathroom stops.  And they need to make sure that they have disinfectant wipes, gloves and masks for the trip.  Here are the domestic travel recommendations from the CDC. Fortunately, MT, WA and OR all have mask mandates so at least they don’t have to worry about that. They know they need to use caution in Idaho with their spotty mask requirements.  It would be so much more straightforward if we all were following the same rules!

What if an overnight stay is involved?

M can make the trip to visit me in 7 ½ hours.  It is a long day, but doable.  K’s trip, on the other hand, is 11 ½ hours.  As a solo driver, she is going to need an overnight stop.  Does she try and plan to stay with ‘safe’ friends or risk a hotel?   

And now for the ‘vacation’

M and I will manage to find some COVID safe activities to do while she is here.  We will likely do some hiking, take on a project or two, get some take out and do a little local exploring, all while wearing masks, using good hand hygiene, and practicing physical distancing.  K will be with her daughter’s family.  Her daughter and son-in-law both work fulltime.  Her two young grandchildren have school soon. It might be harder to keep all the COVID 19 precautions in place, but K is pretty determined.

Back home

So, let’s assume that everyone made it home safely without a known or suspected COVID 19 exposure.  What next?  Should we all do some semblance of self-quarantine?  If so, for how long? CDC doesn’t specifically recommend self-quarantine when there is no known exposure.  Here are their post travel recommendations. Fortunately, these are the recommendations we already follow every day, regardless of travel.

Looking forward to M’s visit and missing the days of just packing a bag, gassing up a car, and hitting the road!

Safe travels,



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