road trips

Road Trips are a big hit following COVID-19

Hospitality Industry says Road Trips are on the Rise

Tourism and hospitality experts expect travelers to take to the road to get where they want to go, as restrictions are slowly lifting throughout the nation. Avoiding airlines and airports will likely be a priority for many travelers. Many will be in a cautious state of mind as they plan their vacays. The All-American-Road-Trips are making an all-time comeback, and the travel industry sees the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to this.

With all of this time at home, people are feeling the effects of cabin-fever more than ever. They are dreaming up getaways closer to home; 200 miles or so away. They’re researching places that are in their neck of the woods, and considering drives that will take a day or so to get to. Now is the time to pick the perfect route and map out some of the stops along the way too. Planning your road trip in some ways can be therapeutic during this time, but remember to remain flexible while planning. Go ahead and give yourself something to look forward to, just a little distraction from the pandemic won’t hurt.

Planning Road Trips has never been Easier

First, make sure your destination is open for business, safe, and welcoming non-essential visitors. Closer means safer in most cases. Select your destination and whip out the map (most will use Google Maps, but a paper map works too). Find out if your destination offers any outdoors activities. Open-air, outdoor things to do are safer and likely to be open and available to visitors before most indoor activities. Social distancing will be in affect, and it’s usually easier to do in open spaces. Take to the National Park Service website to explore many options. Local chamber websites will also be helpful in your planning process.

Next, select your hotels or overnight stay options carefully. Call ahead and check their website for COVID-19 updates, find out what new cleaning procedures they’re implementing for your safety, and ask what their local scene is like. You’ll want to see that they are making an effort to provide their space with the best standard of cleanliness and take note of what  things they’re guaranteeing their guests right now. Such as, The Horton Hotel’s brand new Horton Clean+ Promise: a list of added cleaning protocols and protective measures the boutique hotel is offering to provide a safe place for their guests. Ask what the breakfast options will be like wherever you plan to go. Will they provide in-room breakfast, grab and go, or private dining? If there is no such info provided consider booking another property. Get informed so you aren’t surprised upon arrival.

road trips

Get to know where you’re Headed

Also, take the time to understand what cancellation policies you’re agreeing to before booking. Most hotels, resorts, and overnight accommodations are taking extra steps to be thoughtful and flexible with their cancellations during this time. Know that these properties are doing all they can to stay in business and therefore many are offering gift certificates in leu of refunds. This is a nice gesture that gives travelers incentives to try and visit at a later date. It’s a tough time for the hospitality industry, and many small businesses have to hold on to some type of policy to ensure they don’t sink. This brings up great reason to consider smaller individually owned properties too; supporting small-business during these times keeps our local towns and cities alive. Don’t forget we’re all in this together 🙂

Use the popular app, Waze, or Google Maps to decipher where you’ll plan to stop along the way. Don’t miss out on an attraction that maybe available to you. Sightseeing is the best part of driving to your destination. It’s sometimes the most memorable part of the trip. It’s not where you’re going but more about how you get there…something to that affect. Most importantly, be safe out there! Go ahead now and star points of interest on your Google Maps. Pro-tip: Don’t forget to download that map so you have it even when your internet connection isn’t available on the trip. This move will keep you moving in the right direction!

Pack the Caravan for all-things Road Trippin

Since you’re using the car, there’s no baggage claim or luggage fees to deal with! Take what you want, it’s your car and your road trip! Be sure to pack an arsenal of cleaning, disinfecting, safety supplies. The last thing you want is to be stuck without a way to clean your hands after pumping gas along the way. Here’s a great checklist for your own clean & safe kit:

  • Aerosol disinfectant is great to have on hand so you can quickly spray surfaces within your car as you get in and out. Also, great to give the bottom of your shoes a spritz as you hop back in the car from pitstops.
  • Hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol will come in handy…no pun intended. It’s necessary to haveroad trip on hand so you an clean your hands when hand soap and sinks just aren’t available. Be thorough.
  • Don’t leave home without your face masks. The CDC is continually recommending that people wear face coverings in public settings to help in reducing the transmission of COVID-19.
  • First aid kits are essential. Pack a typical first aid kit to ensure you’re prepared. Minor cuts and scrapes can be tended to along the drive if you have these items with you.
  • Vitamins and immune-boosting supplements can’t hurt. Road trips are fun, but they can also be tough on the body if you are getting the nutrients you need. At the very least, keep some Vitamin C stocked in your kit so your immunity has a little help while on the road.
  • Stay hydrated with water! Bring water jugs with you and refillable water bottles so you aren’t parched!

Make the Most of this Road Trip

Be intentional with your planning time and recognize the stress we’ve all been through. Many are separated from loved ones. Many are missing their friends and traditions due to stay-at-home orders. Take this time to think about those that you’ve been missing and try to map out a trip they can maybe join you on. Whether it’s a few close friends or neighbors or even a girls trip with your mother or sister. Many had to celebrate Mother’s Day without physically seeing their moms, wives, and other loved ones. But this trip can be sort of a make-up trip! Make up for moments you’ve missed out on with a thoughtfully planned road trip.

girls trip
Photo credit: Megan Sheppard

Search for Deals and Special Packages Before you hit the Road

In some cases, you may find that hotels and resorts are offering incentives to buy gift certificates for future stays or BOOK NOW AND SAVE LATER deals. The Horton Hotel is offering both types of deals to help travelers during this time. The hotel knows saving a little now will certainly benefit the trip and stay in the long run.

Book by the end of May 2020 and use promo-code: FALLFORBOONE to save 20% OFF a 3 night stay during October 2020 & November 2020 at The Horton Hotel. This discount is valid for online bookings, as well as, phone bookings, and it cannot be combined with other discounts.

For guests that aren’t quite sure about dates but still want to plan ahead, a gift certificate that doesn’t expire for 5 years is a better deal. Call The Horton Hotel at (828)832-8060 and mention promo-code: WELCOMEBACK to save $20 OFF every $100 spent in gift certificates! This means you can save big on a future stay. You may even want to gift this to someone who has had a tough time during the pandemic.

Overall, this pandemic has been difficult, but it has given us the gift of quiet time. Use this hibernation time to your benefit. Use it to prepare for the next trip of your life! More memories are to be had, and the road is calling you. Cheers to road trips!

Written by Andrea Morton, Director of Operations for The Horton Hotel.

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