If you are following the current trend of picking up food to go, don't forget these five important things when you go for carry out.

Eating out is one of our favorite pastimes, but obviously that has been put on hold for the time being. Fortunately, many Grand Junction restaurants are open for carry-out business, helping us stay connected to some of our favorite comfort foods.

Carry out may be a brand new activity for a lot of people and there are some things that you might not think about until it's too late. So here are the five things you should bring with you when you are getting food to go.

Depending on how big your order is, a cardboard box may be the most important item to have with you. Most likely, your carry out items will be in a sack, but how many sacks, And what about beverages? Hauling liquid refreshment around in your car can be a real challenge. A good box will keep things from sliding around and spilling in your car - plus it makes it a whole lot easier to get your dinner into the house once you get home.

Even if you are paying with a card, it's not a bad idea to make sure you have some cash. Under the present circumstances, if you are going to leave a tip for the restaurant staff - giving a cash tip would be a real blessing. That's money they can pocket immediately and use if they are in need of some life essentials like gas in their car or groceries.

It's a good idea to have hand sanitizer in your car all the time, but it is especially important at this time. In most cases, you're going to have to go inside a restaurant to get your food, which means touching a few surfaces along the way. As soon as you get back to the car, sanitize your hands, and once you get home be sure and do another thorough hand-washing job.

Having a pen with you when you pick up your food is a really good idea. No doubt restaurants are doing their best to keep things sanitized, but, you can never know for sure. Think of all the people using that pen on the counter to sign their receipts. Where have all of those hands been, and what evil germs and viruses may be living there? Having your own pen provides you one less opportunity to come in contact with a potentially contaminated surface.

Typically, alcohol to go would not even be a consideration. But, presently, restaurants are allowed to sell you mixed drinks and alcoholic beverages with your to-go order. A lot of these places require a growler to go, but may not have disposable growler caps so be sure and bring your own.

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