Taking a vacation with loved ones is a personal highlight many look forward to each year. With the current state of travel in disarray due to COVID-19, these vacation plans have taken a backseat to the growing need to protect the health and safety of others. Travel restrictions are being enforced in many locations throughout the United States, but that doesn’t prevent you from dreaming of what your future vacations will look like. Get a head start on your vacation planning, as well as your safe travel protocols, so that you’re in the best shape possible when it comes time to embark on your next big adventure.
Every family is different, so every vacation is going to be different, too. To ensure your vacation is a success for everyone, consider each family member’s interests and whether they have any travel-related anxieties. This is particularly helpful for parents who haven’t had an opportunity to travel with children yet. If you and your partner recently became parents for the first time, it’s important to utilize the resources available to you to determine the best way to travel with your baby. If you’re familiar with websites that provide family planning tips for older parents, then you’ll be attuned to the type of advice accompanying these resources. Will you need your pumping bra on the trip? Are there specific items you should pack for your baby? These questions must be asked during the trip planning process to prevent any hiccups from occurring along the way.
For those of you who have older children, talk to them directly about what they would enjoy on a family vacation. Do your kids want to go somewhere sunny? Do your kids want to experience snow for the first time? Whatever desires they express to you, bear this in mind when you’re browsing airfare and hotel options. The last thing you want to do is plan an elaborate family trip post-COVID, only to find out when you arrive at your destination that your kids are miserable with your choice. You don’t necessarily have to plan a vacation to a theme park, but it’s always best to visit a location that has something for everyone in your family.
Any dietary or physical needs should also be factored into the equation. If your child has a severe food allergy, you’ll want to contact any restaurants you may be visiting in advance to ensure the location is free from these triggers. If a member of your family is physically impaired, scope out vacation destinations with your preferred accessibility features. The more you plan for and address in advance, the less you have to worry about when you’re actually on vacation.
Once you’ve determined the best trip location for your family, it’s time to prepare your packing list. You’ll want to include essential items like natural mosquito repellent, sunscreen, a first aid kit, and hand sanitizer. While you can purchase these items at almost any location, it’s better to have them in your luggage in case you need them between the time you leave your house and the time you arrive at your hotel. From there, organize a list of items each member of your family needs for the duration of your trip. Items such as cell phone and laptop chargers, medications, cameras, and identification cards are absolutely must-have before you embark. Beyond that, it’s as simple as gathering whatever clothing, shoes, and assorted toiletries you’ll need while you’re away.
Depending on the age of your children, it might be helpful to pack a few extras into your luggage. Favorite snacks, tissues, a comfortable sweatshirt, and travel pillows make for a more enjoyable flight, train ride, or road trip. It’s much easier to prevent a meltdown when you have snacks to hand out and items on hand to make your child feel more comfortable.
For yourself, bring anything with you that you like to use to stay entertained while you’re in motion. Headphones, laptops, cell phones, and books are all great items to include on your packing list. That way you have options if you’re tired of the audiobook you’re listening to or if you’re unhappy with the in-flight movie selection. If you have favorite items of clothing you like to wear no matter what the weather is doing, grab those too. That dress with built in bra that you love and frequently layer with a jacket or sweater makes for the perfect vacation outfit since it’s easy to throw on and even easier to roll and pack away into any sized bag.
There are many lessons to learn in the era of COVID-19, and discovering how to protect your health and safety while traveling is one of the most important. In addition to packing and keeping hand sanitizer at the ready, you’ll need to master a few additional tricks to keep your family safe. One of the key recommendations is to wear a mask when you’re traveling. This is a good habit to continue even after the threat of the Coronavirus has diminished over the next year.
When you wear a mask, you prevent particles from entering through your nose and mouth while you’re traveling. This reduces your risk of catching any illnesses or diseases that may be passed between another person and yourself when confined in these close quarters. To that end, remember to refrain from touching your face or your eyes when you’re on a plane, train, or bus. Your eyes are another access point for germs, so even if you’re being safe with your mask, you’re still vulnerable if you transfer something from your finger to your eye.
Bring sanitizing wipes with you to clean any seats, tray tables, and armrests prior to sitting down. While most public transportation is cleaned and sanitized between trips, this provides you with an extra layer of protection. If you’re getting up to use the bathroom, bring a wipe with you to clean any high-touch areas, such as the door handle of the bathroom. Wash your hands thoroughly when you can and follow up with hand sanitizer as needed to prevent germs from spreading. For those who commonly get cold on long flights, bring your own blanket to ensure you’re staying as clean as possible. Only accept travel pillows from an airline if they’re pre-packaged and you’re sure no one has used the item before you. The same goes for headphones—you’re better off bringing your own.
Buy disposable rubber gloves and keep them in your carry-on if you want to be extremely thorough when it comes to protecting the health of you and your family. Just remember to swap out the gloves regularly and refrain from touching your face after interacting with high-contact areas. After you’ve removed your gloves, use the hand sanitizer or wash your hands in the nearest restroom. For an added boost to your immune system, purchase sachets of Emergen-C and similar drink mixes. These can be easily added to any bottle of water and offer numerous health benefits. The drink mix provides you with a boost of Vitamin-C and other essential nutrients that protect you from common colds.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll have your best chance at a safe and headache-free vacation.