Worried about holiday travel with the family during COVID? While we could all use a break from the house, traveling isn’t as carefree as it once was. From planning for a dizzying array of restrictions to creating a space where you feel safe, family travel during coronavirus isn’t easy.
The good news? With the right precautions, you can be just as safe on the road as you are at home. Here’s how.
Family Travel During Coronavirus: The Basics
Before you make any travel plans, it is essential to review the basics. Create a simple checklist with the kids and make it easy to understand and remember. If you have younger kids, make it into an art project. Get creative and do what you need to do to make it memorable.
- Keep a distance of six feet
- Avoid touching anything in public spaces >> If you have to touch anything, use hand sanitizer right away
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Keep your mask on if you sneeze or cough. Put your face into your elbow then change your mask
- Wash your hands often and spend at least 20 seconds scrubbing >> Sing Happy Birthday while you wash to give the kids a good sense of the time
- Wear a face mask at all times in public >> And wash that mask! Every time you take it off, put on a fresh one
Parenting Pro Tip: Before taking on family travel during COVID, stock up on masks. Plan for at least two masks per person per day. While washing masks can definitely be a hassle, you can make it easy at the hotel. Experts recommend washing masks in the sink with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds then drying them with a hairdryer.
Car Travel During Coronavirus
If you can reasonably get where you are going by car, go for it. Family travel during coronavirus is far safer if you can avoid planes, trains, and buses. Traveling by car allows you to create a safe space with just your family.
You will want to make as few stops as possible so plan ahead. Pack nonperishable food so you can avoid pitstops for food. If you have to take a meal break, opt to eat in your car. Go for drive-thrus or, better yet, ordering online opt for curbside collection. Nearly every restaurant offers curbside collection these days so take advantage of it.
Before you go, create a family travel COVID kit for the car. Pack disinfectant wipes so you can clean off anything that you need to touch, like gas pumps, along with plenty of hand sanitizer and masks.
Air Travel During Coronavirus
It is best to avoid air travel as much as you possibly can. Due to the close proximity and shared air, it is definitely a risky endeavor. That said, different airlines have different policies that can make them safer (or less safe!). Here are a few questions to ask as you are looking to book.
- Are masks required on the flight?
- How is social distancing managed during the flight?
- Is contact-free check-in online or at the airport?
- What are the cleaning policies and protocols?
Check Local COVID Restrictions
Different areas have different COVID restrictions and it is important to plan for them. Not only will you find that each state has its own unique policies, but different stores and tourist attractions have different policies.
Of course, your best bet is to always have your mask so that you know that you are in compliance with any requirements and are generally just keeping safe. Also, be sure to note any quarantine restrictions. Some areas require 14 days at home after travel, which can create a serious snag in your plans.
Check with local health department websites to see what the latest restrictions are and check regularly. Local laws and policies can literally change overnight so be sure you are always aware of the latest news. When it comes to staying current for US travel during COVID, the CDC site is a one-stop-shop for all covid news.
Staying Safe at Hotels During Coronavirus
As you are looking at your options, you will see that nearly all hotels and accommodation options have information on their websites about how they are protecting guests during COVID.
When you are planning family travel during coronavirus, it is important to look at the mask policies for staff and guests as well as how they are managing enhanced cleaning processes, social distances, and contactless payment. Be sure to also check on their policy for managing sick guests.
Even if everything sounds good, come prepare to disinfect surfaces on arrival. A simple travel-size bottle of disinfectant will give you an extra layer of security.
COVID Packing List for Family Travel
Ready to travel? Here’s our family travel during coronavirus packing list.
- Face masks
- Hand sanitizer (minimum of 60% alcohol)
- Disinfectant spray or wipes (minimum of 70% alcohol)
- Contactless credit
- Portable power bank (you may be using your phone more with all the contactless services)
- Your own pen
Planning Tip: Getting ready for family travel during coronavirus might require (or justify?) a luggage upgrade. Check out our guide to The Perfect Carry-On Bag for Moms.