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With the July Fourth weekend in the rearview mirror, summer vacation time is officially in play, and while air travel and hotel stays are viewed as potentially unsafe amidst this pandemic, people love their summer getaways.

That’s why, according to the Recreational Vehicle Association, more than 46 million families plan to hit the road this summer, up from 25 million a year ago. While many families will do so in their own vehicles, RV rentals have surged by nearly 1,000 percent from 2019 and the camping reservation site notes bookings have risen 1,000 percent since May.

Many families will go no further than the nearest river, beach or mountain area from home. But a change of scenery and routine can go a long way toward easing months of shutdown stress.

If you’re thinking of a summer road trip, though, health and travel experts provide these practical tips:

  • Plan Ahead – Research campsites and/or RV parks now to help pinpoint top choices and reserve early to avoid disappointment. Upon booking, you’ll be notified of the site’s COVID-19 requirements, if any, such as contactless check-in and social distancing. 
  • Test Your Mettle – If you are new to camping, consider ‘glamping’ by renting a fully-equipped RV or a campsite where everything is provided for you. There’s little point in investing in camping equipment until you’re sure the lifestyle is one you’re likely to choose again.
  • Pack Hygiene Supplies – Take masks, plenty of hand sanitizer and disposable gloves to protect yourself in public areas, including rest rooms. Also bring alone disinfectant wipes to clean high-touch surfaces such as door handles, steering wheels, gas caps and other at-risk surfaces.
  • Take Plenty of Food and Snacks – Packing road trip treats will keep you from having to make any more stops than necessary while on the road.
  • Prepare Meals When Possible – Self-contained RVs and public campsites provide everything you need to cook your own meals. If you stop for food along the way, choosing take-out over sit-down may be the wiser option.
  • Maintain Social Distancing in Communal Areas – Regardless of your personal attitudes toward masks or distancing, be respectful of others and maintain your distance in public areas.