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Planning a Trip in 2021? Be Prepared for a Different Travel Experience

Consider a One Tank Road Trip to Quench Your Thirst for Adventure

highway with mountains trees in background

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (March 11, 2021) – More than one year since the COVID-19 pandemic upended nearly all travel plans, many Americans are eagerly awaiting their next chance to get out once again and explore. Whether planning a trip for spring break or summer, or dreaming of a future trip, maybe even a one tank trip, AAA Travel experts advise would-be travelers that things will look very different than the last time many took a vacation.

“The entire travel experience has been transformed by COVID-19. If you’re considering travel sometime this year, it’s more important than ever to do your due diligence ahead of any trip to ensure it is safe and enjoyable,” said Holly Dalby, director of public affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “As vaccines help boost consumer confidence to begin traveling again, we have to remember that wearing masks and social distancing are still a requirement.”

Road trips to domestic destinations continue to be the preferred way for many to travel. ‘One Tank’ trips that only take a tank of gas for a round-trip getaway, can be a perfect way to escape from it all. AAA Tidewater can help with that. Here are a few examples of ‘One Tank’ trips.


One Tank Trips Starting in Virginia Beach, VA

  • Charlottesville, VA to Natural Bridge, VA.  Charlottesville is approximately 166 miles from Virginia Beach.  This bustling college town is home to the University of Virginia and offers attractions like Monticello and McGuffey Art Center. Charlottesville is considered to be a part of the Shenandoah National Park, where nature-lovers can find much to do, and the area is also home to many wineries open for tours and tastings.  Next is Natural Bridge, 81 miles south.  Home to one of the country’s natural wonders, the Natural Bridge State Park offers a Virginia Civil War Trails site and a Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail site. Explore a re-created Monacan Indian village and then once darkness falls, watch as the Natural Bridge comes alive with lights, words and music during “The Drama of Creation”. Before heading home, visit the Virginia Safari Park.  This drive-through zoo permits close contact with many different animals!


  • Dover, DE to Philadelphia, PA.  Dover (approximately 186 miles) is a great stop over on your way to Philadelphia (another 83 miles).  Dover, known to many for the Dover Downs Casino, offers much more. Take time to explore the Old Dover Historic District, the Air Mobility Command Museum or the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village before moving on to Philly.  Philadelphia offers a treasure trove of history, fine dining and shopping. Be sure to visit Independence Hall, Liberty Bell Center and take in the sights in a horse-drawn carriage.  Plus, if you timed your trip just right, you might be able to take in a game at The Wells Fargo Center or watch the Mummers Parade with all its merry, colorful costumes.


  • Durham and Winston-Salem, NC.  Durham (approximately 191 miles) is home to Duke University, North Carolina Central University and Research Triangle Park and is known for excelling in medicine, education and research. Also, available for exploring is the Duke Homestead State Historic Site and Tobacco Museum. Your next stop, 81 miles away, is Winston-Salem. Old Salem Museums and Gardens offers shopping opportunities for fine furniture and home furnishings with an 18th-century Moravian influence intermingled with the museum exhibits. The Downtown Arts District is a center for cultural activities and numerous studios, galleries and shops.


Those travelling by car can refer to AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and for the latest state and local travel restrictions, and to identify which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels are open along their route.

What Travelers Can Expect

  • Masks – Face coverings are required on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Hotels –Call ahead to ask what precautions they are taking to protect guests.
  • Air –In-flight amenities, including food and beverage services, may be limited or unavailable. Some airlines continue to limit flight capacities or block middle seats to allow for social distancing. Due to COVID-19, TSA is allowing one oversized liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags, rather than limiting those to 3.4 ounces.
  • International Air Travel – All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID‑19 before they board a flight to the United States. Travelers who don’t provide this to their airline will be denied boarding. There are no test requirements for domestic travel at this time.
  • Cruise – Even with the CDC’s no-sail order lifted, many cruise lines have voluntarily extended their suspension of sailing operations further into 2021. Anyone considering a future cruise vacation should talk to the cruise line or a travel agent about the ship’s cancelation policy and to understand what you can expect on a cruise when they start sailing again.


Travel agents are more important than ever during a pandemic. They serve as your advocate before, during and after a trip, and can answer questions related to:

  • travel insurance options,
  • which destinations and attractions are open-both domestically and internationally,
  • destination-specific testing and quarantine requirements,
  • what to do if you need to make last-minute changes to a trip,
  • and much more.


Travel Restrictions Remain in Place—Plan Ahead

The CDC continues to urge Americans to delay traveling, warning that doing so increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. For those who choose to travel, current guidelines and requirements include the following:

•     Travel Restrictions – State and local governments may have travel restrictions in place, including testing requirements, stay-at-home orders and quarantine requirements upon arrival. Check the state and local health department where you are, along your route, and where you are going. Prepare to be flexible, as restrictions and policies may change during your trip.

•     COVID-19 Vaccines – If you are eligible, consider getting vaccinated for COVID-19. The CDC says to wait two weeks to travel after getting your second dose for your body to build protection. Continue to follow all official travel requirements and guidelines.

•     Testing – The CDC recommends taking a viral COVID-19 test 1 to 3 days before your trip. Do not travel if you test positive. Keep a copy of your negative test results with you during your trip and make plans to another viral test 3 to 5 days after you return. Self-quarantine for a full seven days after trip, even if your test is negative. If you don’t get tested, the CDC advises staying home and self-quarantining for 10 days.


To find more one-tank road trips, a travel agent or for more information, visit


As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 350,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter at or Facebook at

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AAA Tidewater Virginia is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the Tidewater Virginia region (All Hampton Roads cities, including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg; Virginia's Eastern Shore; as well as the following counties: Greensville, Surry, Brunswick, Isle of Wight, Gloucester, Lancaster, Middlesex, Richmond County, Southampton, Sussex, Mecklenburg, James City County, York, Lunenburg, Essex, King & Queen, Mathews, Northumberland, and Westmoreland).