For the last many months, I’ve been renting a car and visiting scenic (and peaceful) locales within two hours of my home in New York City. That mostly meant small towns and villages in Connecticut and New York’s Hudson Valley. Here are some of the strategies I used in the time of COVID to deal with the car rental and the accommodations.
Here’s the COVID kit I pack for the trip:
— Clorox wipes
— DIY bleach disinfectant: two tablespoons of bleach to one quart of water in a spray bottle
— paper towels
— two-ply face masks and three-ply surgical masks
— polypropylene face mask filters
— alcohol swabs
— alcohol-based hand sanitizer
— a bottle of 70% alcohol
— latex-free gloves
— detergent to wash face masks and washable polypropylene filters
Strategies with the Car Rental:
— Rent at a small location, not an airport.
— I rent mid-week, hoping it’s less busy than a weekend
— All transactions are done outdoors
— Even though the car has been cleaned/disinfected, I disinfect all contact surfaces myself with bleach
— I keep the windows open for the first hour of the journey to allow for fresh airflow
— I choose a destination that’s short — more than 2-3 hours or from home — so there are no need for bathroom breaks
Strategies with the Accommodation:
— I choose only small hotels/inns where I can speak with the person in charge — preferably the owner — and directly assess their COVID consciousness
— I assess their COVID strategies for disinfecting and cleaning, as well as whether the staff (and guests) must wear masks over their nose and mouth 100% of the time in public places
— I ask them when was my room last occupied by a guest. I prefer a room that was unoccupied for a minimum of 24 hours.
— I request that they leave at least one window open for fresh air
— I choose a room that doesn’t require navigating through the building to get to my door, preferably a room in the rear of the accommodation with a separate entrance.
— I ask if I can eat in the room or, if it’s good weather, if there is a place outdoors to eat where I will not have to interact with other guests. After all, I’ll be getting take-out meals only. (I don’t eat indoors nor do I eat meals at outdoor venues near other patrons.)
— Check-in is best done contactless
— I request that no one enter my room during my stay, in other words, no room service
— if they serve breakfast, I ask if it can be delivered outside my door
— Once I’m in my room, I disinfect all contact surfaces with bleach