As B.C. begins Phase Three of the Restart Plan which will see the safe and respectful return of travel and tourism within the province, a new BCAA survey shows that the summer road trip is making a big comeback with 66% of British Columbians planning to take one.
Not surprisingly, COVID-19 is a key factor, with 84 per cent of those planning a trip saying they're heading out in search of a bit of normalcy in their lives.
Another 45 per cent say they're more apt to take a road trip this year due to the current restrictions on travel further afield.
Preparation is key
According to the BCAA survey conducted by Insights West, this year's road trip is all about preparation, with 75 per cent saying their prep will be extra careful to keep safe during the pandemic. This includes everything from thorough trip organizing, vehicle maintenance, packing and route planning.
"This is not the summer to jump in the car with a pair of flip flops and half a tank of gas and let the road take you where it may," says BCAA automotive manager Josh Smythe. "This is about the safety of you, those you travel with and the communities you visit or pass through."
Major planning is necessary
The survey shows that travellers are getting the message. While 32 per cent admit they feel that planning takes the spontaneity and fun out of road tripping, the vast majority accept that major planning is necessary to travel during a pandemic and are ready to pull up their travel planning spreadsheets and get to work. In fact, 79 per cent say they're embracing planning as part of the experience that adds to the fun.
Eighty-three per cent of British Columbians surveyed said they won't go anywhere without checking that their destination is welcoming visitors; 63 per cent pledge to get their vehicles serviced, with 35 per cent saying they are more likely to get the tune-up compared to non-COVID times, and 66 per cent are committed to taking everything with them to limit stops along the way.
For a well-thought through road trip that puts safety first, BCAA's Josh Smythe offers some tips:
- Before you head out get your vehicle serviced – This is not the year to skip the car servicing. Get everything checked and with so many heading out this year, he suggests booking early to avoid a possible road trip maintenance rush.
- Inspect your spare tire – Make sure you have one, that it has air and hasn't aged out sitting in the trunk. Know how to remove it.
- Emergency kit – in addition to the usual items like windshield fluid, pylons, blanket, flashlight, portable battery charger, etc. – don't forget the COVID essentials, hand sanitizer, wipes, soap and extra masks
- Plan your destination, book your accommodations and plan your route in advance. Make sure the places you're passing through and visiting are welcoming visitors this summer. Bring a paper map in case technology fails.
- Bring an extra set of car keys and keep them with you at all times (outside the car).
- Bring food, drink and all items you will need with you to minimize stopping. Bring a jerry can of gas.
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