Every year, millions of families from all around the world plan family vacations to relax, promote family bonding and build lifetime memories. However, in 2020 when the covid-19 pandemic shook the entire world, a good percentage of these families had to put a pin on their family vacation plans. According to a report on Forbes, 72% of Americans skipped summer vacations in the year 2020.
Now it is over two years since the news first broke out about the Covid-19 virus, and even though the virus still lives among us, the world is gradually beginning to open up again. Thanks to the release of Covid-19 vaccines, countries have eased up on travel restrictions and family fun trips are a possibility again. Despite the safety procedures put in place for international and interstate travel, many parents still worry about the safety of taking the kids across borders while the virus still lives among us.
Here are a few tips that can guarantee better chances of a COVID-19-virus-free trip if you’re planning to take a family trip soon.
Road trip with immediate family
Family road trips have become a lot more popular since Covid-19 because it offers one a chance to avoid unnecessary interactions with others. More still, there are complex Covid-19 rules at some airlines and airports that may make young children and even adults uncomfortable, for instance, having to put on a mask for hours or enduring the new endless wait times before a flight. According to experts, family road trips might just be the safest kind of trip at the moment as it keeps the family together all the time and limits opportunities for interaction with crowds.
Granted being locked up in a confined space with your family for more than a few hours can tempt one to want a glass of wine or two, especially if you’ve got screaming toddlers and young children. But the benefits of being sober while traveling with kids cannot be over-emphasized. To keep yourself and everyone else entertained during the trip, make a great playlist; plan some road trip car games for kids, and stock up on snacks, a lot of them.
Road trips in your family vehicle not only limit the exposure you may face compared to using mass transit, but it also gives you the option of returning home immediately if anyone catches a bug. With road trips, a family can choose to stay alone in a rented house at their destination or camp outdoors in locations where the rate of transmission of the virus is low.
Check the Travel Rules for Your Destination
When traveling with kids, whether by air or road; you must confirm your destination travel rules before you embark on the journey. In the past, many have made the mistake of taking a two-week vacation to another country just to be told at the border that they would be quarantined for 10 days or more. Quarantine is not only expensive but it sucks the fun out of your entire vacation, especially if you have to be quarantined with kids who might get cranky from being stuck indoors for days.
In recent times, many countries have relaxed their quarantine rules. Some now accept a recently done Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination to let you into the country but you must confirm these requirements before leaving home to avoid any unpleasant surprises. It’s important to note that local requirements for travelers change very often so make sure to stay updated right until the day of your trip
Ensure the Entire Family is Fit for the Trip
This is one of the most important things to consider before setting off on your family vacation. Ensure that all family members are physically fit to travel and that no one is high risk for Covid-19. Also, avoid visiting locations with newly discovered variants of the virus. For instance, whether you’re vaccinated or not, taking a trip to South Africa in November 2021 just when they had discovered the omicron variant would have been a bad idea. When visiting places with high transmission rates or new variants of the virus, there’s a chance your destination country might go on lockdown while you’re visiting, making it difficult for you to enjoy your vacation or even return home.
Asides from physical health, also make sure all family members are mentally healthy enough for the family vacation. Are they capable of adhering to the different Covid-19 restrictions you may encounter at various stages of your trip; for instance, social distancing, use of facial coverings, outdoor gatherings, quarantine periods if any, etc. Your response to all these questions would determine if a family vacation is worth the risks for your family at the moment.
Get the Appropriate Vaccines
Covid-19 vaccines not only prevent you from getting the disease, but they also stop you from suffering dire consequences if you end up catching the virus. Even while vaccinated, you will still be required to take precautions to protect yourself and those around you while on your trip.
Before your trip, ensure that you get all the recommended doses of the Covid-19 vaccine including the boosters. There are also approved vaccines for children five years and older. If you and all eligible members of your family get vaccinated before your trip, it makes you less likely to cut your trip short due to unexpected illnesses.
It is recommended that you wait at least two weeks after getting your complete vaccine doses before you travel; this allows your body time to build protection against the virus and increases your protection from serious illnesses. Note that being vaccinated does not exempt you from following traveler requirements and restrictions at your destination, so try to know the local, state, and federal testing guidelines for vaccinated people at your destination and follow them.
Experts also recommend taking the flu vaccine before any international travel. This is especially important for kids who might not be old enough to get their Covid-19 shots yet. The flu vaccine will not prevent the Covid-19 virus but it spares one the trauma of suffering the influenza virus and the Covid-19 virus at the same time.