Wanna get away? We did too, but tbh I was terrified of how to do so without getting sick or risk getting my family sick all for a couple days of fun. I let more time pass and wanted to make sure that I took all the right precautions before planning a lil weekend getaway. We picked places that were close enough to our area where I also didn't have to use a public restroom along the way (my fear right now eeek lol). The travelers included just my boyfriend and I since with fewer people we can much easily keep track of if the other person has been socially distancing as well as what precautions we've each been taking during this pandemic.
The first road trip that we took was an Airbnb stay in Fallbrook this August to celebrate his birthday together and the second trip was a hotel stay in Irvine, which was a much needed, highly anticipated mental health break. We spaced about 2 weeks in between each trip to monitor for any symptoms before we ventured anywhere else. It has already been 2 weeks since our Airbnb stay and we're feeling fine, *so assumingly that we aren't just asymptomatic or anything*, I can say that our safety precautions that we took made a difference for us. We did the same things for our hotel stay.
I want to share with you all the 20 things that we did to do our best to road trip safely during this pandemic. While I cannot say that there is a sure way to travel without contact with COVID-19 (because the most sure way is not to go out at all), I can say that doing these things gave us both the piece of mind to enjoy these much needed getaways to the fullest.
*please make sure to abide by any travel restrictions in place in your area.*
Us during our most recent trip out to Irvine, CA staying at the AC Hotel Irvine.
Table of cleanliness
Picking a place to stay (tip #1)
How to properly clean your space (#2-7)
Other things to pack besides cleaning supplies (#8-9)
How to keep your belongings organized (#10-11)
Making hand hygiene second nature (#12-13)
Contactless eating (#14-16)
Planning activities while social distancing (#17-18)
Other health tips (#19-20)
Picking a place to stay
1. Look for professionally cleaned hotels & Airbnbs with free cancellations if possible.
See what COVID-19 hygiene and cleanliness standards and sanitation guidelines they are following.
Look out for positive reviews from people who have stayed during the pandemic and how safe they felt.
Be on the hunt for places with free cancellations because in this day and age you never know what could happen and if any new travel restrictions are in place *always abide by your city’s safety and travel guidelines.
The hotel search engine that we used was hotels.com and we only looked at hotels that said they are “professionally cleaned” and were scored 9+ “superb” under reviews.
We stayed at: AC Hotel Irvine - Marriot
Extra steps during the pandemic that our hotel was taking
If you are able, select Airbnbs that are an “entire house” vs “private room stay” just because the less people in the home the better. My boyfriend and I found an entire container home stay for only $113 a night.
Look for places that have less traffic. How I gaged this was by seeing how many reviews were placed in a single month. My reasoning behind this is that I really didn’t want to stay in a place where a gajillion people (slight exaggeration) had just stayed.
Stunning view from our Airbnb!
For our Airbnb we picked a spot in Fallbrook, Ca that was up in the mountains + far removed from the hustle & bustle of city life. Social distancing indeed. We also were intrigued by and wanted to try tiny house living, so we picked a container home!
How to properly clean your space
2. Do a double clean of your place just to make sure a thorough job is done.
So you picked a place that was professionally cleaned, should be good to go right? But sometimes people miss things, like I found hair in our professionally cleaned hotel shower…🙂 Since it’s already been cleaned once it shouldn’t take too long to go over once more. It only took us 15-20 mins to do our own cleaning upon arrival. Next tip is how to pick a disinfectant that is CDC approved for your cleaning.
3. Bring the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for cleaning!
Have a mask and gloves on while you first enter your Airbnb or hotel and as you clean.
If you have goggles/glasses to protect your eyes as you clean, even better!
Wear comfy clothes to arrive in that you can clean in and change out of. After cleaning the shower, I took a nice shower so both me and the room were squeaky clean.
Eco-alternative: look for biodegradable gloves to clean in!
4. Bring a disinfectant that meets the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) criteria for use against COVID-19. This list is continuously being updated and I originally found this information linked on the CDC website.
If you’re shopping for a disinfectant and wondering if it can be used against COVID-19, here’s instructions on how to do a search:
Scroll to the section that says "other search options."
Type in the name of the product that you have or are thinking of purchasing.
Click on the product name
If the product that you have is not listed, it doesn't necessarily mean that it cannot disinfect against COVID-19, but that the EPA has not reviewed it. I would not go with products not listed, just to be safe because I personally need that reassurance that what I'm buying actually works.
Click on the green plus sign to the left of the product name and it'll give you more information. A key section to look at is "contact time." That is the amount of time it will take the disinfectant to do its job. Do not touch any surfaces that you’ve disinfected until this allotted time has passed.
If you're unsure of where to start, there are a bunch of Lysol products on the list. I know Lysol is probably one the most commercialized disinfectants that is more easily attainable to the public.
For my visual learners, here is a screen recording I prepared of how to search up EPA approved disinfectants against COVID-19 through the link above and to look up the "contact time." It's easy peasy!
5. Have a systemic way to clean to make your life easier.
If you feel safe to leave your things in your car while you clean, it could make cleaning easier especially if you’re at an Airbnb and can park directly outside of your stay. This way you can make sure all surfaces are clean before bringing your stuff inside.
Here is a check off list for what you can use EPA approved bleach wipes for:
We used the EPA approved Lysol bathroom cleaner for the toilet, sink, and shower (including the shower floor) to cover more surface area than a wipe.
The contact time to disinfect was only 5 mins! Be sure to check for the contact time for your particular disinfectants used on the EPA website.
*For surfaces with fabrics that you cannot bleach, i.e. a sofa, place a blanket over it to sit on.
WIPE WIPE WIPE IT DOWN WIPE!
I see it, I like it, I want it, I wipe it. If you see it in the photo, we probably wiped it down.
6. Bring plenty of trash bags.
One reason is to dispose of everything you used to clean up and keep it away.
The hotel we stayed at did not do any cleaning during our stay probably to avoid as much contact/people in and out of our room as possible, so it was best to keep all of our trash waste neatly in one bag.
Bring separate trash bags to put all of your soiled clothes, linens & towels if you’ve brought your own.
Since these belongings were “exposed” to the outside, I wanted to easily distinguish what items I needed to place in the laundry and wash as soon as I got back home from the trip. It’s good practice to separate your used items from your clean ones for super easy cleanup and especially during a pandemic.
Eco-alternative: biodegradable trash bags.
7. Clean your belongings that have been out with you at the end of the day or as needed with an alcohol wipe or disinfectant wipe.
This could include your phone screen, glasses, keys, room key, credit card, wallets (mine is all beaten up so I didn't mind to have it saturated in bleach lol!)
Other things to pack besides cleaning supplies
8. Bring your own linens. I know your hotel or Airbnb most likely provides these, but I felt more comfortable bringing my own.
We used a bed sheet to cover the entire bed (now you have a triple layer of protection from the same mattress everyone uses: their sheet & their comforter + your sheet on top), our own blankets (for the bed and also on top chairs that we couldn't wipe down) and our own pillows.
We made sure we had trash bags to place them in at the end of our trip to easily separate them from our clean belongings. This also made it so much easier to carry back with us to the car at the end of our stay.
We also brought our own body towels. Anything I’m puttin’ my face on whether it be a towel, blanket, pillow, I prefer it to be mine. Just make sure you make a list to account for all of your belongings.
Before and after of the bed with our own linens on top for safe measure.
9. Bring slippers.
One for inside your Airbnb/hotel
This is so that your feet aren’t directly touching the ground and then onto your bed.
And a waterproof pair of slippers to use inside the shower
Yeahhh I know you cleaned the shower floor, but I still wouldn’t want my bare feet touching the shower floor.
I used Nike Slides as my shower slippers & my rubber slippers from the Aloha Stadium swapmeet in HI 🌺 that everyone has works too! 😆
How to keep your belongings organized
10. Instead of using the facilities hangers, keep everything safely tucked inside of your duffle bags that have been placed on top of a wiped down surface. Less exposure to things ya know?
Dirty or soiled clothes went straight into my needs-to-be-washed trash bag to take home.
11. Protip: KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING YOU BROUGHT WITH YOU VIA YOUR PHONE NOTES SECTION.
Since we did bring a bunch of our own things for both of our trips, I made a list in my iPhone notes to make sure that I remembered to pack everything and that I brought everything back home too. Make sure to do a clean sweep and look in every room and under the bed, tables, counters, and outlets to make sure you didn’t leave anything.
Making hand hygiene second nature
12. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for 20 seconds at a time. Nothin' new here.
13. Bring a 60-70% alcohol based hand sanitizer as recommended by the CDC. Make it instinctive to use whenever you go into a store when you are out.
Alcohol concentration higher than 70% will dry out too quickly, and will not allow enough contact time for the alcohol to work.
Have one in your car and one in your Airbnb/hotel.
We recommend having one in your car to also be able to bring down with you in your purse/pocket if you go anywhere else during your trip. Say we did a food pick up, we always sanitized our hands afterwards especially when touching door handles and before digging into our food. WHENEVER opening a door or leaving a store, we always sanitized. Sanitizin’ is a habit! Get like me!
14. Order curbside pickup and eat in your car.
Remember to have your mask on when they run your food out to you. We did see businesses NOT taking necessary precautions in their outdoor dining spaces by not having tables spaced 6 feet apart so we decided it was much safer to do this than doing patio seating. Yeah, I miss going out to eat at restaurants as much as the next person, but I’m not down for that! TO-GO orders and deliveries alllll the way for us!! The less contact the better. We did not mind eating in the car one bit as we were hangry and didn’t wanna wait. Pull up into a shaded parking spot or find a place with a nice view that you can park at and bone apple tea!!
Eating in the car part 1: Bravacado Toast w/honey onion jam from Snooze, Tustin.
part 2: Short Rib Raddiatori from North Italia, Irvine.
& 3: Customized Grains Bowl from Cava, Irvine.
15. Eat in your hotel or Airbnb.
I do suggest ordering food to-go and eating back at your Airbnb or hotel that you’ve made squeaky clean if not inside your car. Delivery is always fun even though the delivery fees always make me cry lowkey lol!!
16. Cook at your hotel or Airbnb.
As an alternative & fun activity to do together, if you have a stove at your spot, bring something that you can cook together! We brought a portable grill to our Airbnb to make KBBQ with rice paper wrapper and fish cakes.
Planning activities while social distancing
17. LIMIT your contact with others during your trip.
Contactless is the wave! You can still have fun on your trip, but just take extra precautions if you ever want America to get our shizz together and get out of this in one piece forreal!! Plan activities where you are far removed from others.
Quail Hill Hiking Trail, Irvine
Social distancing activity ideas
Find a hiking trail where you can be far apart from others, but please still wear your mask. If ya gotta take it off to get a breath of fresh air or to drink water, please do so when nobody else is around you. Be courteous and be safe.
Social distancing picnic away from crowds.
I would advise you to not to hit up the mall unless it's right when they open. Irvine spectrum gave us such bad anxiety - people EVERYWHERE not wearing masks or not having them on correctly. We just could NOT with them and skedaddled out of there right after picking up macarons.
Once you get your dose of fresh air in by hiking or taking a walk away from the majority of people, I’d also recommend planning fun activities to do back in your Airbnb or hotel such as:
a movie night
watching Youtube videos
cooking or ordering takeout of a dish that you are craving
planning games to play - board games, card games, or get creative and find fun games to play indoors on Pinterest or online.
* Use your best judgement when planning activities, to ensure your own safety and the safety of others!
18. Keep your distance from strangers especially in small areas or narrow passageways.
When taking the stairs or elevator, take turns and only stay with your party. For example at our hotel there was a sign stating to limit 2 people or 1 family per elevator ride.
When we were at the mall we waited for couples/groups to pass by first. If we were to use the stairs, one group could go first and we would distance ourselves behind them and not cram up next to each other. Especially since people were wearing their masks incorrectly, we just didn't want to get too close.
Social distancing in public is key.
Other health tips - which are the ones that should be ingrained in our minds by now!!
19. Be more aware about not touching your eyes, face, or mouth (:
If you must, make sure you have washed your hands properly first.
20. MASK UP wheneverrrr you leave your Airbnb or hotel.
You’d think this is a given, but hey, there are some stubborn people out there who still don't want to wear a mask. I'm not sure who needed to hear this Backstreet Boys remix today, but 🎤 I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did---as long as you wear a mask so that America can flatten the curve already because it’s getting quite stressful tbh. Thank you very much :)
Stay safe, travel cautiously & responsibly, and stay healthy my friends!
P.S. If you could share this post with someone who may find it useful in order to spread safety awareness, I would appreciate it! Normally, I share a new post via my Instagram stories, but am taking a much needed mental health break from social media to recharge and refocus. I encourage you to listen to what your mind and body need in the current moment. I also want to thank you for taking time out of your day to be here. Stay well friends! 💛
United States Environmental Protection Agency. List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). List last updated on August 20, 2020 (when last checked on August 28, 2020). https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2-covid-19