A lot of summer plans have changed because of the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders. Fewer families are flying, many theme parks and resorts are closed or have changed their policies, and masks are required in many parts of the country.
"We are anticipating that this is going to be the summer for road trips," said Doug Shupe, a spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California. "[It could be] a national or state park, or even building your own scenic road trip this summer."
The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics found that only 3 million people flew in the month of April, compared to more than 75 million people in April of 2019.
While airlines maintain that passengers are returning, travel analysts like AAA expect more people to drive than fly this summer. Shupe said that, before setting out on a road trip, travelers need to plan ahead.
"You want to know where you're going to stop for a rest break, where you're going to stop to get some food or spend the night as you're traveling," said Shupe, "because you'll want to know what's going to be open and what could perhaps be temporarily closed."
Because the guidelines vary from state-to-state and county-to-county, Shupe said, vacationers will want to research areas they will visit. Many hotels, for example, have changed policies.
"There is limited guest interaction, whether in the lobby or check-out process," said Shupe. "You want to know all of that ahead of time."
Once guests have made it inside their hotel room, they should sanitize it themselves.
"Clean the bathroom counter, clean the surfaces of the desk, clean the remote control," said Shupe. "Anywhere you think your hands or arms could go."
Because AAA estimates so many people will be driving to state and national parks, Shupe recommends trying to stay off the beaten path.
"Yosemite, even the Grand Canyon, may be very busy this summer," said Shupe. "Maybe you want to look at one of those lesser-known state parks."
Other recommendations from AAA are: pack your own food or use drive-through and takeout options; pay with a credit card when possible and wipe it off with a sanitary wipe afterward.
Shupe also suggested packing extra masks and sanitizing wipes.
If you want to get started planning your summer road trip, AAA has included some of the COVID-19 restrictions on its TripTik website.