We think it’s pretty safe to say that this year’s Florida Labor Day travel will be a lot different than anything we have experienced in the past. One of our biggest problems has been finding a fun spot where they have not slapped a mask mandate on the city or the county due to the coronavirus.
Recently we published a survey from the American Hotel and Lodging Association talking about travelers concerns. However, the respondents on our Florida Fun Travel Facebook page responded as we did. They, like us, say they are ready to do some real traveling and have some serious fun.
The folks at the American Automobile Association also have wondered how the coronavirus will affect the public as they take to the roads this Labor Day Weekend. If like us, you plan to hit the road, the AAA has offered some suggestions.
AAA Road Trip Tips
- Prep your vehicle. Visit a AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility to ensure your vehicle is road-trip ready. Some vehicles may have sat unused for months and should be inspected.
- Plan stops. Destinations and businesses may have adjusted their hours of operation.
- Pack cleaning supplies and face coverings. Some regions have ordinances requiring the use of masks.
- Pack food and water. This could reduce the number of times you need to go to the store.
- Pull out of the traffic lanes if your car breaks down. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.
Staying in a Hotel
Of course, we have talked at length about how we use a diffuser and disinfectant spray when we get to our hotel room. This is both to deodorize and sanitize our accommodations. We also carry our own water, night light and other creature comforts in our travel basket.
That being said, the AAA has some suggestions for those who are booking out of town stays over the Labor Day Weekend.
- Call ahead. Ask about any restrictions or changes to amenities and the check-in process. Inquire about their cleaning protocols.
- Understand cancellation policies. Hotel cancellation policies can vary based on when you booked, what site you used, and whether the booking was for a special rate.
- Bring cleaning supplies. While many hoteliers are implementing enhanced cleaning protocols, personally sanitizing high-touch areas may provide additional peace-of-mind.
Getting There is Half the Fun
Those who follow us know that I like the back roads. And although I believe that cuts down on the chances for accidents, there still are some bad drivers out there.
Officials of the AAA tell us they think that the holiday weekend could bring the worst out in drivers who are anxious to get to their chosen destination.
“Preparation is paramount for people planning to travel during this pandemic,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “But it’s not just about protecting yourself from the coronavirus. Please be sure to buckle up, slow down, and avoid distracted and impaired driving.”
- Alcohol impaired driving accounts for just under one-third of all traffic fatalities
- AAA says: arrange for a safe ride home before your first drink
- Speeding typically accounts for one-third of all traffic fatalities
- AAA says: Adhere to speed limits, leave early so you’re not in a hurry, reduce your speed for bad weather or other hazardous road conditions
- Distraction is responsible for nine percent of fatal crashes
- AAA says: Drivers are 8x more likely to crash when texting; 4x more likely to crash when talking on a cellphone. Put your phone down, program your GPS before driving, and secure loose items in the car.
- Seat Belts save lives. Nearly half (47%) of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 were not wearing their seat belts.
- AAA says: Ensure the driver and all passengers buckle-up; this includes children. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for all children. The safest place for children under 12 is in the back seat. Click here for recommendations for what type of seats are best for kids.
Labor Day Gas Prices
Finally, it may or may not cost more at the pump. Officials of the AAA tell us that low gas prices continue to make road trips an affordable option for travelers. It appears that drivers will pay the lowest Labor Day gas prices in four years.
In Florida, the average price for gasoline is $2.07 per gallon. That’s 37 cents per gallon less than last year, and the lowest price for Labor Day in 16 years.
While it is possible drivers could see an uptick at the pump in the coming days, gas prices are forecast to remain lower than last year, because of the pandemic’s limiting effect on fuel demand.
We wish you happy motoring and fun on your Florida Labor Day travels.
Photos courtesy of Deposit Photos