All parents know that traveling with children can be a bit of a challenge at the best of times. There’s the need to pack everything they might need, from clothes to toys to snacks, and to keep them entertained and happy during the journey. But traveling during a pandemic brings its own set of challenges, including health concerns and changes in travel plans.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, many countries placed strict travel restrictions, making it difficult for families to travel. A few years later, as the pandemic continued, some states and countries lifted those restrictions. However, many parents are still hesitant to travel with their kids.
One reason is that the risk of contracting the virus is still present when traveling. However, some steps parents can take to minimize this risk and make traveling during the pandemic a little easier.
Here are a few tips for parents planning to travel with kids during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Consider COVID Vaccine Shots Before You Go
Covid-19 vaccines are now available for people of all ages, so if you and your family are planning to travel, it’s a good idea to get vaccinated first. This will not only help protect you from the virus but will also make it easier to comply with any travel requirements that may be in place. Some places require proof of vaccination before allowing entry, meaning that getting vaccinated could be the only way to gain entry.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized two vaccines for use in children aged 12 and above — the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Both of these vaccines are effective in preventing COVID-19 infection.
Kids can get vaccinated at an urgent care clinic for pediatrics. You only need to set an appointment online to secure a slot. You can also take your kids to an urgent care facility after traveling. This is especially true if they are showing symptoms or you suspect they may have been exposed to someone with COVID.
When choosing an urgent care clinic, you only need to check if they offer COVID vaccines and testing for kids. Choose a dedicated facility with great reviews and a pediatric expert team for the best results. Don’t forget to wear your masks for extra protection when going to the clinic.
Research Your Destination’s Entry Requirements
Before booking any travel, research the entry requirements of your destination. Some places may require a negative COVID test before entry, while others may have different quarantine rules. By checking the requirements ahead of time, you can ensure that you are prepared and that your trip goes as smoothly as possible.
It’s also a good idea to research the current situation at your destination. This includes the recent COVID case numbers and the restrictions in place. Knowing what to expect makes it easier for you to make better decisions about your trip and to keep your family safe.
For example, you may want to rethink your plans if you plan to travel to a place with many COVID cases. Or, if you are planning to travel to an area with strict quarantine requirements, make sure you are willing to comply.
Pack Any Essential Items in Your Carry-on Luggage
When traveling with kids on a plane, it’s always a good idea to pack any essential items in your carry-on luggage. Your kids’ essentials will depend on their age and specific needs. Be sure to pack lightly but take into consideration the following items:
- Medications if your child has any allergies or medical conditions
- Milk, diapers, and wipes for younger children
- Extra clothes in case of spills or accidents
- A few favorite toys or books to keep them entertained
- Snacks and drinks for the flight or car ride
- A first-aid kit
- Sanitizer and face masks
This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you an idea of what to pack in your carry-on. Remember, you can always buy things like snacks and drinks once you’ve arrived at your destination. But with these items with you on the plane, you can avoid delays if your luggage gets lost.
Continue Following All Covid-19 Safety Guidelines
Every family has its own comfort level when it comes to travel during the pandemic. And that’s ok. Just because you were vaccinated doesn’t mean you should let your guard down completely.
Remember that there is still a risk of contracting or spreading the virus. So, continue following all the CDC’s travel recommendations. This includes wearing a face mask, maintaining social distance, and washing your hands often.
If you or your child starts to feel sick during your trip, be sure to isolate yourself from others and seek medical attention immediately. Getting tested for COVID-19 should be your top priority.
Traveling with children can be challenging at the best of times, but add in a global pandemic, which can seem downright impossible. However, with a bit of planning and preparation, it is possible to have a safe and enjoyable trip with your kids. By following these tips, you can rest assured that you and your family will have a great time while staying safe and healthy during these uncertain times.