The pandemic still rages: Can we travel safely in our RV yet?

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Photo Credit Nanci Dixon

By Nanci Dixon
As the travel bug is biting, the itch is upon us. COVID-19 is getting so, so old. Where and how can we travel safely in this new year? Yes, this new year should have been the end of the pandemic, but, sadly, it is not.

The CDC does not recommend any travel if it can be avoided. Staying home is still the safest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But if the RV is pawing to get out and travel just can’t be avoided, here are a few tips to get you back on the road safely (and legally!).

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

Canada

Borders remain closed until at least February 21. Tourists cannot enter by sea, plane, car or RV. Canadian residents and relatives of Canadians can enter with a quarantine period and a negative COVID test.

Mexico

Yes, but re-entry into the United States could change. Starting January 26, all travelers, including U.S. citizens boarding flights from Mexico to the U.S., will need a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure.

Europe

Varies tremendously, but most European nations are under continued lockdown and travel is not advised or in some cases not allowed. All airline passengers, including U.S. citizens, must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 before entering the U.S.

New restrictions may soon be issued restricting entry into the U.S. The CDC has issued country-specific advisories on their website.

DOMESTIC TRAVEL DURING COVID

Use the CDC’s trip planner that allows you to plug in your destination to find out if a negative COVID test or quarantine is required. From there, you can also access that state’s health department’s COVID information. The site has information about each state’s open or closed businesses, gathering size limitations, submitting travel information, testing and mask requirements.

QUARANTINE OR TEST

Currently, New York State, Chicago, and Connecticut allow opting out of mandatory 10-day quarantine with proof of a current negative COVID-19 test result.

CHECKPOINTS

New York City and Taos Pueblo both have checkpoints. Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, is closed indefinitely to non-residents.

WEAR MASKS, WASH HANDS, DISINFECT SURFACES, SOCIAL DISTANCE… Blah Blah Blah!

We have been living with the pandemic a long, long year, so all the warnings start to sound like background noise. But it is always good to remember these tips, particularly when starting your RV trip so that you travel safely:

  • Wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer.
  • Wear a mask… perhaps two?
  • You are the customer. You should ask the staff to pull up or wear their mask if they are not.
  • Social distance. Airborne particles can remain in the air for over an hour.
  • Disinfect surfaces. COVID can remain on some surfaces for 2-3 days.
  • Disinfect the gas pump handle and touch screen, then wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Limit time in or need to enter gas stations or truck stops. They are notorious for lack of masks even when required!
  • Limit time or forego popular gift shops. That cute trinket won’t be so cute if you or your family come down with COVID.
  • Use your RV’s bathroom and shower rather than shared public showers or bathrooms when possible.
  • Book a campsite with curbside check-in to reduce contact with campground staff
  • If renting an RV, make sure to sanitize, clean and disinfect it yourself. It may not be as clean as you think.
  • Hike or visit popular locations when less crowded. Weekdays are better than weekends. Call ahead and find out days or times when there are fewer visitors.
  • Pay with a card when possible. There is no way to easily clean cash money.
  • Limit gatherings or, if gathering, meet outside, space out and wear masks.
  • Know when to call for medical help.

HANDY RESOURCES

For more information on how to travel safely in the United States during the pandemic, check out this page, Domestic Travel During the Covid-19 Pandemic, on the CDC website.

AARP lists updated state by state quarantine rules for travelers too.

Please note that this information is accurate at time of writing but COVID information, new strains and travel information change constantly.

Stay safe, and happy travels!

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BILLY Bob Thronton
2 months ago

Just follow the rules and live your life. Just don’t ask Mario’s son for advice, it could be terminal!

Uncle Swags
3 months ago

Good article Nanci. I discovered this website last year while on the road at the beginning of the pandemic and it helped me keep ahead of a few campground closures and state quarantines. You’re safer traveling in your own bubble than navigating the grocery store where people can’t even follow arrows. And you will always be best served when you make your own, well informed decisions.

www.livingboondockingmexico.blogspot.com
3 months ago

This is not about fear, conspiracy theories or hoaxes. COVID is about science and it is becoming the number 1 killer in many countries. The problem with people moving around and claiming they are safe sends a message to many others that “it must be safe, if they do it so can I” and that’s where the problem lies. It has to be either all or none. Rving Youtubers, now called nomads or tribes, are flashing their lifestyles all over the internet. Some are safe and haven’t gotten sick. In fact, I love watching their videos and envy the lifestyle. But again, it is the message they are sending. This isn’t anything new though. 17 pandemics since 438 B.C. and they all ended the same. There are tons of pictures, videos, news stories, history of the 1918 pandemic. Same situation, people didn’t want to follow the rules and because of that, too many people lost their lives. This isn’t about liberties and freedoms, it’s about saving something so precious, or have we forgotten, human lives.

John
3 months ago

Yes it is about our liberties and freedoms. When govt tries to tell private businesses they have to close (while allowing others to remain open). When govt tells people they have to stay home, cannot travel, cannot worship with others nor spend important holidays and life events with family and close friends. What’s worse than the fact they did all this, is that it’s becoming clear they have no intention of letting life get back to normal. I wish the raid at the Capitol was over matters like this vs. the election.

Geo A
3 months ago
Reply to  John

Liberties and Freedoms” This statement makes me laugh everytime I see it in print or hear it spoken in person.

I wonder if those who speak these words with righteous indignation stop to think that their “Liberties and Freedom” (to do as they please) might, in this time of Covid protocols, be infringing upon the liberties and freedoms of others to maintain their health and the health of their elders?

I say…do what you want in your own home, and do it with abandon. Please! don’t travel to my beautiful state at this time.

BILLY Bob Thronton
2 months ago
Reply to  Geo A

Call Mario’s sons office and ask him about how he handled it. Then I think you will understand the true meaning of Liberties and Freedoms, my friend.

Jeff
3 months ago

It saddens me that everyone is living in fear. All we hear about is covid 19. Everyone is divided over this covid 19. Anyone who speaks out against covid 19 and shows people what covid 19 is really about is now called a conspiracy theorist.
i will repeat this quote again.
a scared society is a controlled society.
we’re all scared and the government knows it.

John
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

Amen brother. It is unfortunate it has killed people. But in the US it has only killed about 15/100ths of ONE PERCENT of our population. That is not cause to completely upend our lives and bring about such financial ruin for so many people. Nor to just give up the liberties our founding father fought so hard for.

BILLY Bob Thronton
2 months ago
Reply to  John

John, stop making sense. Hey, on a related note, anybody got any reports on this year flue casualties. No, you don’t, that doesn’t play well right now. Maybe next year.

BILLY Bob Thronton
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

Jeff. In a word “Bingo”. However, those who might read this and comment to the contrary have already given control. We all have those friends who tipped their hand because of the Wuhan virus unleashed on the world. Look at the bright side, now you know who gets it and who has been ” thinking” they got it. Interesting to say the least. Yet, I have sized up those who even though claim to be smart, have lashed out at those who understand this is just something to deal with, taking into account precautions, as any civilized society would hope to do. Then there is Mario’s son, now that guy, WOW!

cee
3 months ago

As long as people continue to travel and congregate, Covid-19 will continue to spread. Losing family members and friends tends to make me very cautious… downright scared. I welcome the vaccine; where the hell are those vaccines?!

To quote Tommy Molnar: “Be afraid. Be very afraid”.

BILLY Bob Thronton
2 months ago
Reply to  cee

Cee; dateline February ’21. To date 50 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed. Thanks to the fortunate wisdom of one said businessman, who sat down with the drug companies many months back and fronted them the money (billions of our money) to do what is called “risk manufacturing”. That allowed for immediate distribution after successful trials on 30K individuals. Why you may ask, if you didn’t know, because one smart person, saw the enormous risk to human life, and told the drug companies, make the vaccine before you know if it will work, that way, if it does, we will be out ahead of this thing.
And to quote somebody “and the truth shall set you free”.

Tom R
3 months ago

Get a shot or two. I got my first Feb 4, second due Feb 25, have an ace in the hole Feb 28th. Important to remember, one doesn’t get advertised immunity until approx 5 weeks after 1st shot assuming one gets the second. Keep those mask [or 2] on! I live in So Calif. Wife had a mild case of covid Dec 23-Jan3, and I didn’t get it, she’s OK and prob ahead of me immunity wise, in no rush to get her shots. Believe the scientists!

BILLY Bob Thronton
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom R

Just so you understand, since your wife did get the Wuhan virus, she is not eligible for the “shot” for 90 days after she tested positive.

cee
2 months ago

It’s Covid-19 or coronavirus or C19 or covid. You like to call it the Wuhan virus because it allows you to be a “in the shadows” racist. You just hang on the fringe without really making a stand.

Richard Hubert
3 months ago

Yet?
Traveled 4000+ miles last June – Nov in our Class A throughout the Western US. Why? Was the best option to get out of congested suburbia, with crowded grocery stores & traffic, etc. Out in nature, staying in many beautiful places while much more socially distanced. Stores less crowded and All of campsites many yards more widely separated than houses in our tight southern CA neighborhood.

Regular travel creates so much forced crowding – packed together on planes, trains and buses. Then staying in hotels where you have no idea who last was there, how clean the Room really was, or how virus free the staff was. And then – close contact in restaurants.

Never understood why so many CGs closed last summer due to virus claims, when the RV lifestyle was the ideal way to travel with as much social distancing as anyone could want. Ended up having one of our best trips ever. Just spent 2 weeks in Quartzsite and cannot wait to get out there again.

Tom R
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard Hubert

My thoughts exactly, enjoy the lack of crowds while you can!

John
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard Hubert

So true. And at the CG, it is very easy to social distance. Even a few folks around a campfire can keep a few feet apart. And I am outraged that articles keep saying the “pandemic still rages”. Numbers I keep seeing DO NOT support that statement.

BILLY Bob Thronton
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard Hubert

Lemming like tendencies. Oh, and maybe litigation possibly! Either way, it’s water over the dam.

Patricia Panuccio
3 months ago

I have been out 3 times in my van since the shutdown. I leave with everything I need I get gas with a CC outside and I boondock.

Ginia
3 months ago

Last spring, we cancelled a trip, replacing it with an itinerary that kept us a day’s drive from home, “just in case”. The most difficult thing about that trip was all of the things that were closed. The most absurd? To see a state tourist information center Covid-closed, but the coffee/ice cream kiosk next to it wide open doing business. After seeing friends and family deal with Covid, we decided to take the spring trip anyway, and had a great time. We will not let our lives be put on hold indefinitely out of fear. My spouse has an essential job so isolation has never been an option. RV travel reduces many travel contacts. We are careful, but will not live in fear.

Jim G.
3 months ago

More important than masks is “don’t touch your face”.

Tommy Molnar
3 months ago

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

BILLY Bob Thronton
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Nah, did a 4,000 mile trip, crossed in and out of so many states, I probably would be put in jail. Was safe, but didnt let it rule the day. Still, we had a blast, did a ton of things. One most disturbing thing was observing the millennial (hundreds of em), and how they literally shunned us, as if we were outcasts on the back country trails. It saddened me to see that the Wuhan, had gotten so deep into their heads. Probably damaged them for life, oh well.

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

I was kidding with my comment. I think it’s humorous seeing folks driving by themselves wearing masks. Or even walking outside wearing masks.

When you cross the NM border there are signs on the freeway letting you know they are a “mask state”.

With all the MSM hype, no matter what happens we’ll be masking up for years to come, along with ‘social distancing’.

WEB
3 months ago

Canada: You now require a neg. result before arriving by air, required to stay in a “Quarantine Hotel” at a ~C$2000 price tag and pay for another COVID test (w/neg. result)

BILLY Bob Thronton
2 months ago
Reply to  WEB

How does their anthem begin “Oh Canada, glorious and free”……

DPHooper
3 months ago

Excellent article and tips, links are quite useful.