It has been a long few months, and parents are considering taking trips, or even vacations. It was always stressful, making your way through airports, or finding rest stops during car trips. Now, we are all much more anxious about taking those risks.
Traveling by car may pose less risk, but it is still difficult with children. Today, most children can be entertained with video games or other technology, which is a huge improvement over the days when I transported my children from Maryland to Pennsylvania once a month to visit their grandparents. All three of them shared the back seat with our Golden Retriever!
Even when you plan ahead by assuring that you have plenty of drinks and snacks, coloring books and stickers, and more screen time than they would have on a normal day, there is still the issue of rest stops. Where do you stop and what do you do to limit their exposure during potty breaks. This may actually be harder to control for the older children than the younger ones, as you can accompany the younger ones into a stall to assure that they do not touch a thing and that their hands are thoroughly washed afterward.
The most important thing is to prepare your children before a road trip. Talk with them about your concerns, the need to wear a mask any time they are out of the car, how to use the bathrooms and how important it is for them to thoroughly wash their hands. Using barriers when opening and closing doors, like paper towels or tissues, and using hand sanitizer or wipes (if you can even find them these days) is an absolute necessity.
Choose a rental home rather than a hotel so that you can avoid contact with other guests and avoid the use of elevators and other shared areas. Bring along more supplies than you normally would – toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, wipes, masks, gloves, etc. And, be sure to clean the house when you arrive, especially the remote control, light switches, toilet handles, spigots, door handles, etc.
Traveling through an airport will require even more preparation. Working your way through an airport with children can be extremely difficult. Your favorite airport restaurants may be closed, so don’t count on getting meals or snacks there. Bring your own, and make sure that they are packaged so that they remain cool. Avoid foods that contain mayonnaise, etc. The same concerns about using bathrooms applies to airports, and masks are required there as well as on the plane.
Consider buying inexpensive crib (fitted) sheets and using them to cover the children’s seats, after you have thoroughly cleaned them with wipes. Package small amounts of wipes, tissues, etc., in sandwich size plastic bags, so that they are easily accessible by the parents and the children when needed.
Traveling during a pandemic is exponentially more difficult and it carries a certain degree of risk. So if you do find that traveling at all is a necessity, especially with children, please take all necessary precautions.
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