Last weekend, I went on a picnic for the first time in what seems like a million years. And as you can imagine, the process for heading out on a simple picnic has changed from the last time I went. I’m used to swinging by my local sandwich shop, picking up a few items, and driving wherever the mood took me. Often down to Peace Arch Provincial Park – which is currently closed. And normally I’d text a bunch of friends – maybe 2 would show up, maybe 20. Not this time. Need to keep that social bubble small.
But even in light of restrictions, I still had a great time – it just takes a little planning. If you’re headed out on a road trip this summer - whether a day trip for a picnic, an overnight stay at a campground, or a longer holiday – there are ways to travel safely. And a lot of great resources out there to help!
Plan Your Destination
Since each territory and province has a different re-opening schedule and regulations, you’ll want to check the specifics of your destination. Every province and territory has published their COVID-19 restrictions on their websites, including guidelines for using public spaces like provincial parks.
And if you happen to be road-tripping inter-provincially, you’ll want to make sure you’re actually allowed to visit. The Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable has put together a tool that allows you to check what locations you’re permitted to visit based on your residency, including links to that location’s public health guidelines. Handy!
Also, Parks Canada’s website offers some great tips for visiting this summer – whether you’re headed there for a day trip or a longer visit.
Be Self Sufficient
Be aware that if you’re headed up to the cottage or cabin, smaller communities where these are typically located have more limited health care and other resources. Don’t put a strain on these communities – bring the essentials that you need with you. And if you do go out, respect physical distancing protocols and mask regulations. And don’t go out if you’re sick or exhibiting symptoms.
For more information, Destination BC has a comprehensive list of ways to travel safely and responsibly this summer.
Keep Your Car Clean and Organized
When you’re road-tripping, you’ll want to make sure that you keep your car clean and organized. If you’re like me, you may not have been using it a lot lately, but now that I head out for day trips, I’m a lot more aware of all the surfaces I touch in the car.
- Using disinfectant wipes, regularly wipe down "high touch" surfaces on a regular basis. This includes places like: the steering wheel, volume knob, temperature controls, seat belts, door handles, gear shift, etc. Be careful about using wipes with bleach - they can damage the interior of your vehicle. Always test on a small area first. And it is better to spray a cleaning solution on a rag and use it rather than directly on the surface itself.
- Don't forget to give your key fob a wipe as well.
- Air out your vehicle. If you can, occasionally give the AC a rest, open your vehicle’s windows and let the fresh air in.
- Car seats can harbour crumbs and germs - make sure you're cleaning your children's car seats regularly. You can vacuum out the crumbs, but check your manufacturer's guidelines on what to use to wipe down the seat, belts, etc.
Keeping your car organized can also help keep it clean. A few tips:
- Designate a specific receptacle for trash. If there's one container, you'll be more likely to empty it on a regular basis than if trash is just scattered everywhere. Plus you can give that trash receptacle a regular clean.
- Put a small caddy together with a box of tissues, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and an extra mask. This will save you time instead of having to dig through your purse or bag as well as keeping additional touched surfaces to a minimum.
And don’t forget to wash your hands after you’ve unloaded your car.
It’s so nice to be able to get out and about and enjoy the beauty of Canada. Please stay safe and healthy and continue to be kind to one another as we navigate this next phase of the new normal.
If you want to know what Petro-Canada is doing to support guests and on-site teams at our locations, please check out our COVID-19 response. If you’re looking for more information about preventing the spread of COVID-19, check out Health Canada’s website – there is great information there about proper hygiene and cleaning.