COVID-19 (Coronavirus) may impact your travel plans. Wherever you're going, you'll find the latest advice here.

News editorial 7 tips for safe road trips during COVID

All articles

7 tips for safe road trips during COVID

We know that travel is especially difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you'll be ready.

As Australians look to their own backyard for their next holiday, interest in road trips during COVID is piquing. There’s no freedom quite like exploring the world with your own set of wheels, stopping wherever you like for however long you like.

However, like all aspects of life at the moment, road trips have to be carefully considered. If you’re planning to get on the road, now or later, bookmark our guide on things to consider to stay safe on your road trip during COVID-19. Also be sure to check the Department of Health website as well any travel advisories for your intended destination before you go.

At a glance, these are the main considerations to think about during your road trips during COVID-19:

Make sure to stay safe on road trips during COVID

Pack extra supplies

Your packing list might be a little longer than usual on your next road trip. As restaurant hours and capacities are limited, pack a few more snacks and drinks to curb any hunger pangs in between meals. You’ll also want to pack hand sanitiser, sanitising wipes, gloves and masks to stay safe whenever you stop for petrol or food.

Do not travel if you have COVID-19 symptoms

As much as you might want to get away for a while or how you may feel it’s unlikely that you have the virus, it’s important to limit its spread. If you have any symptoms of coronavirus, you should delay travel plans, get tested and self-isolate as necessary.

According to health.gov.au, the main symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough and a fever, but other symptoms can include:

  • Aches/pains
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat

This goes not just for you, but anyone you’re planning to share the car with.

Check border closures

The easiest way to ruin a road trip during COVID is by not being able to reach your destination. As cases numbers dip and rise across the country, states and territories are constantly updating who can come into their regions.

As of 18 August, people who have been in New South Wales or Victoria in the last 14 days and anyone who has shown any COVID symptoms, are generally banned from entering other states.

For some areas, such as Queensland, you need to apply for a border pass to enter the state. There are different levels of border pass available depending on your situation. The Interstate Quarantine website has links to all state and territory COVID-19 advice and border crossing information.

Avoid hotspots

If you’re living in New South Wales or Victoria, it’s likely that you’ll be restricted to staying in your state for the next while. Both of these states have many beautiful areas to visit, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. If you travel from a hotspot, there’s a chance you’ll take the virus with you. And if you go somewhere with many cases, you may end up bringing the virus home.

This goes not only for your destination, but your whole route. Even if it means adding driving time onto your trip, make sure to go safely around any hotspots. In the worst-case scenario, you don’t want to find yourself broken down in a COVID hotspot.

To keep up to date with COVID cases, the New South Wales government has created this colour-coded map to show which parts of the state should be avoided. Likewise, you can see which areas of Victoria are most affected here. To keep up to date with national case numbers, the ABC has set up this page.

Stick to all COVID-19 safety regulations

By now, we should all be well-rehearsed in what we have to do to limit transmission of the virus. Make sure you stick to all relevant precautions on road trips during COVID times.

This includes regularly washing hands for 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser when that’s not possible), avoid going to crowded spaces, wear a mask when in public and keep up to date on best practices. The WHO website has regularly updated information on how best to limit the spread of COVID.

Washing hands is vital during COVID

Stay vigilant on breaks

Whether you’re stopping to refuel your car or at a driver reviver station, it’s important to be wary at all times. Make sure you wear your mask when you leave the car, put on gloves if you’re using a fuel pump and sanitise your hands when you get back in the car.

Try to limit the number of people who get out of the car at each stop too. If one person can fuel up and get the snacks, it’s better for them to go alone rather than the whole car getting out and interacting with people and touching surfaces in the servo.

Although toilet breaks can’t be avoided, we’re all pretty well versed in being careful in service station toilets and touching as little as humanly possible. Wearing a mask is advised, and offers an obvious benefit in this situation.

If you know your route for the day, the more prepared you are the better. Bringing your own snacks, for example, helps cut down how much time you need to spend out of your car. Going to a drive-through for your meals is a better option than sitting in.

Essential packing items for road trips during COVID

Roll down the windows

While you’re on the open road, it’s a good idea to keep your windows open. Should any virus particles get on your clothes or hands on the drive, the extra airflow can help get rid of it. This won’t help if someone in the car has already contracted the virus, but every level of defence can help. When you’re in a busy area, closing your windows is advised.

Increased airflow can help you stay safe on road trips during covid

We know travel is tough at the moment. Hopefully, this road trip advice can inspire your next journey and help you travel safely and confidently wherever the road leads you.

Discover where you can go

Making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.

Common questions asked about taking a road trip during COVID-19

wwIs there a limit on how far you can travel to visit another person during COVID-19 outbreak?

Rules on travel are different around Australia. The rules about what we can and can’t do during COVID-19 are constantly changing. Please refer to state or local council regulations.

What precautions should I take while travelling during the coronavirus disease outbreak?

As with all aspects of life, caution is suggested with all aspects of travel during the pandemic. Stay home if you’re unwell, stick to safe destinations, wash hands regularly, use masks and avoid crowded places. More details are listed in the article above.

Where should I stop on a road trip during COVID-19?

Now is the time to make the most of natural escapes. Stop at untouched beaches, waterfalls, hiking trails and other places where you can soak in nature without coming into close quarters with other people.

Want to read more?