Can you get Coronavirus in your car? Here’s what you need to know

Coughing, even talking, can spew coronavirus in the air for minutes, and it can stay on hard surfaces for hours. The outdoors are mostly safe, with lakes and pools cleared by some doctors. But inside viruses spread easily. Imagine your house with the virus floating in it, but smaller. That’s a family road trip these days.

If you’re headed out this weekend to enjoy a staycation, putting some miles on, or just some variety in scenery- you’ll need precautions to keep your loved ones and your neighbors safe.

You can carry the virus and not know it. One study test found 88% of carriers of COVID-19 are asymptomatic. You can shed, or get rid of, a glut of coronavirus from your throat while you’re early on with symptoms. If you’re headed out for a long start to summer, you might put others at risk and not know it, starting with your car.

According to Vrbo, a travel app, travelers are seeking drivable destinations that are a four-hour drive from where they start. “Beginning in mid-April, the Vrbo vacation rental platform started seeing improvement in U.S. traveler demand, especially for longer trips during the end of summer.” said the company. 

 A recent survey of Vrbo customers revealed that:

    • 24% of Vrbo travelers will be less likely to travel far from home
    • 29% will be more likely to travel domestically 
    • 28% said they would be more likely to drive to their destinations

So here are some tips to stay safer with your family this Memorial Day weekend if you plan to let loose on the brakes and get outside.


  • Open the windows


Cars are well-sealed now, meant to keep sound and everything else out. That’s a misdesign these days.  SARS-CoV-2 (in fine aerosol particles) accumulates in the cabin of a vehicle. Our cars can cram a lot of stuff into about 100 cubic feet, including the virus. Spending 72 minutes with an infected passenger, be it Grandma or a friend, builds up particles. Solve this by opening the windows. Just three inches of space get airflow in and a little more of those particles out.


  • Don’t recycle the air-conditioning


Again, get those particles out. The more they swirl around in the air, the likelier a victim in your car is to breathe them in. Keep the AC on non-circulate, meaning let it work a little harder to take fresh air in.


  • Wash your hands at every stop


Use hand sanitizer if you stop at a forest outhouse, but try to wash your hands for 25 seconds, scrubbing under your nails and between your fingers. The better you wash, the more likely you kill the virus and stop it from getting on your face or eyes or ears when you accidentally brush them.

Whether you go to the lake in Washington or the mountains in Tennessee follow these tips, and this one more to have a safe weekend.

Vrbo travelers surveyed also said that, in addition to traveling domestically and driving to their destination, they are likely to be more budget-conscious when it comes to family vacations. To help determine the best destination and accommodation, is providing recommendations for nearby getaways at, and the Vrbo app will soon provide drivable destination ideas to travelers who provide their location information.

Get out there into the fresh, and hopefully clean, air this weekend by staying safe.