Planning to travel with your kids today in the middle of a pandemic? One piece of advice: Don’t. Just don’t do it. Trust us – your trip to Disneyland with your precious little ones isn’t worth the risk. What you can do, however, is to wait patiently for things to get a little better before booking a flight.
Let’s say the world is slowly returning to its normal state. The airlines, hotels, and tourist attractions are starting to reopen. How are you going to plan your family travel after the pandemic? The last thing you want to happen is to let your guard down – you should still take some safety measures when traveling, especially when the kids are involved.
Planning a family getaway after COVID-19? Here are 8 things every responsible parent should do.
1. Talk to your kids about do’s and don’ts
For sure, your kiddos have been asking questions about the virus and why they are not allowed to see Mickey Mouse. Tell them the truth, but keep it age-appropriate.
According to Dr. Dawn Davenport, Vice President of Child & Family Services at the Mental Health Center of Denver, you should be reassuring and empower them to stay safe and healthy.
Talk them through ways they can do to protect themselves, like proper handwashing, avoiding contact with surfaces, wearing masks, keeping safe physical distances from others, and making sure they’re always close to you.
2. Stay updated with the travel advisories
Travel plans could change quickly due to the nature of the pandemic, so make sure you’re always up-to-date on the travel warnings.
Use all resources available to decide whether or not to cancel your trip. Check from time to time whether the place you’re planning to visit is low-risk. Know more about their travel restrictions. Check with your airline and hotel accommodation regarding potential changes to minimize stress along the way.
Additionally, it would be recommended to book properties with flexible cancellation policies.
3. Start with low-risk local destinations
If possible, avoid flying abroad and just schedule a fun staycation for your family getaway. Now is the time to visit amazing local destinations you haven’t gone to before. Look for low-risk, kid-friendly destinations that can be accessed by driving like less-crowded towns and natural landscapes.
Aside from the opportunity to travel while staying safe, visiting local attractions is also a great way to help the local economy and travel industries bounce back from the impact of the pandemic.
4. Patronize hotels that care
Health and safety should be prioritized when choosing where to book your family suite. To minimize your anxiety about traveling, choose hotels that can assure their guests of safe, virus-free lodging. Compare hotel accommodation options based on the measures they are taking to contain the spread of the virus, including temperature scans, contactless payments, round-the-clock sanitation procedures, and provision of protective equipment to their staff.
5. Wipe everything down. Seriously
Real talk: it is okay to be paranoid about germs and viruses, especially in today’s pandemic era. Pack cleaning products and disinfecting wipes and wipe down every item you’ll be using.
- Airline and public transport: Wipe down the front and back of the seat tray, the seat area and armrests, hardware, handrails, and every high-touch surface you’ll see.
- Hotel: Wipe down the doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, phone, TV, desks, and appliances.
Don’t forget to wash your hands after touching common surfaces or apply hand sanitizers and alcohol-based rubs (with 60% solution) liberally.
6. Make your own family’s “anti-coronavirus” protocols when traveling
Involving the kids will make it extra fun. You can even turn it into a game, like “whoever is first to remind everyone about their hands after touching something shall be given a prize.”
The safety measures include:
- Establish a safe physical distance of 6 feet from strangers. That means no hugging and touching of mascots and performers, and maintaining a distance when taking pictures with them.
- Don’t touch anything needlessly.
- Wash your hands or apply hand sanitizers after getting in contact with a high-touch surface. Don’t touch your face until you do so.
- Upon arriving at the hotel, remove your clothes and shoes immediately. Place the shoes in one area, and the dirty clothes inside a plastic bag.
- Take a bath after being exposed to the outside world (and no sitting in bed until you do so)
- Disinfect all your belongings, like your bags, clothes, phones, toys, and more.
7. Invest in high-quality face masks
Make sure you find masks that are suitable for your kids’ small faces. Wear them at all times when out in public. Additionally, you may invest in masks with fun patterns and designs to encourage your kids to wear them.
8. Refrain from eating out
Before choosing a restaurant for your family dinner, look it up online to check whether they have solid disinfecting measures and strict policies regarding hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and physical distancing. The last thing you’d want to happen is to let your family eat using poorly-washed plates and utensils while on chairs that aren’t regularly cleaned.
Just to be safe, opt for to-go, delivery, and drive-thru options, and eat your meals inside your hotel room. If dining in is unavoidable, choose to dine outside, where the air quality is better.