Road tripping is filled with stress sometimes unforeseen, adventure sometimes unplanned, and fun always unforgotten. And with today’s current climate, a road trip during COVID-19 is one of the better options for travel—no need to stay home and miss out on new, safe adventures. Ashley McGee, a Leisure Sales Manager at Limelight Hotels, shares her tips she learned while road tripping from Aspen, CO to Yellowstone National Park to Ketchum, ID in mid-July 2020. Use this list to make your next road trip a success, from someone who has traveled during these strange times.
- Map out your route
Mapping your route is an important item first and foremost for the budget, and it’s also nice to have an idea of what you will see and experience along the way.
- Just let your travel partner pack the car
Save yourself the headache and argument and have your travel partner pack the car (plus you can blame them if something gets screwed up)!
- Pack a healthy snack bag
It’s easy to fall victim to having chocolate and sweets at every stop—especially when you have a long road trip—but opt for the bag of almonds or fresh fruit. A little “bad” is always good, but not at every stop (especially when on vacation). However, one of my favorite road trip games is “the snack game.” At every stop, you must find the weirdest/strangest food or drink. Which is a great segue to my next road trip tip…
- Car games
We love playing “the snack game” because it gives us the prize or punishment for other car games, such as “Sorry I’m Late.” “Sorry I’m Late” is basically a guess-that-movie game but you start with “Sorry I’m late…” and your excuse. But your excuse is the plot or famous scene from a movie. Your friends can ask questions and the first person to guess the movie wins! And gets to enjoy the weird snack or they can choose to “gift” it to another tripper.
- Safety first
At every stop, make sure to have your masks and hand sanitizer ready to go, and make sure to even wear it while outside of gas stations! Never let your guard down.
- Be prepared for dead zones
Have an audiobook and plenty of reading materials on hand for the dead zones. I read articles to my travel companion and we also listened to an audiobook (once he got tired of my southern accent narrating Outside Magazine articles). We also had several playlists from Spotify downloaded and ready to so we could sing-along in the car.
- Support local businesses along the way
Local businesses need the help now more than ever. They are always there with a friendly smile and definitely appreciate the business. Don’t forget to ask them of nearby and safe attractions!
- Befriend a few locals
Locals know best. Ask advice about any “don’t miss adventures” and where to pick up food!
- Keep it loose
Have an itinerary but, by all means, keep it loose! We “planned” our days in Yellowstone and only got to 4 things on a list of 10! Just go with the flow and rest when you need to. If you don’t see everything, it’s okay. Sometimes a day of rest is what you need. We spent one full day at a secluded beach on Yellowstone Lake instead of sightseeing. We just wanted to avoid the crowds and NOT be in car. It was the “day off” we needed and recharged us for the next day of driving.
- Avoid boring travel attractions
Avoid the normal, boring travel attractions and instead find the unique ones along the way and allow yourself time to stop. We randomly found Arco, Idaho – Home of the Atomic Burger. We had no idea the history of the town but immediately stopped when we found the top of a submarine proudly displayed in the middle of the city. Come to find out, it was the first nuclear-powered area in the US and provided nuclear power to submarines during WWII. And, it was also one of two sites to experience a partial nuclear meltdown, along with nearby Atomic City…Very strange history and even weirder sites – like the post office in the local bar? Either way, we stopped and enjoyed this little nugget of weirdness and added it to the “road trip sites” we did not expect. Make time for those stops! After all, the stories are why we make the journey, right?
- Map out your route
I’ve had many friends and guests ask how Aspen, Ketchum, and Yellowstone are doing when it comes to complying with mask and social-distance regulations. All in all, I felt that there was strong consideration for the outdoors and people’s health in all locations. Crowds were almost nonexistent in Ketchum which left hiking trails wide open with plenty of space.
Beyond, at Limelight Hotels, we all put our heart and soul into making our destinations available and safe to our guests—and I was glad I got to experience that first-hand! I hope people who need a vacation like myself will appreciate the effort it takes to make sure these small communities are safe & available for locals and visitors alike. We want visitors to vacation and spend time in our towns and we hope you bring a sense of respect for the natural beauty that surrounds us and for the community itself.
Make Limelight Hotels your Base for Adventure
Limelight Hotels has hotels in Aspen, Snowmass, and Ketchum and provide the perfect launchpad for adventures from hiking and mountain biking to skiing and snowshoeing. No matter where your next road trip takes you, we hope these tips were helpful and you have as great a time as Ashley had on her road trip. Be sure to share your adventures with us on social media with #limelightroadtrip!