By Cassandra Brooklyn
Travel looks a little different than it did before COVID-19. Now that travel restrictions have eased in many places, families are venturing out again. Traveling with kids? Here’s what you need to know before embarking on your next family vacation.
1. Bring Their Favorites
As any parent or guardian knows from taking children to the doctor, museum or amusement park, kids are happier and better behaved when they’re fed and entertained. Even if you plan to order lunch on the plane or stop at a particular restaurant during a road trip, bring their favorite snacks, just in case. Restaurants may have a longer line than you can allow for. Also, planes may run out of food or eliminate meal service entirely due to COVID-19. Remember to bring your kids’ favorite toys or electronic devices to keep them entertained (and quiet!) during transit. Make sure to pack sanitizing wipes to clean them off after each use.
2. Watch Those Drinks!
Moderating liquid consumption also applies during non-pandemic travel. However, it’s especially important now because bathroom options may be more restricted than normal. Some waysides and welcome center bathrooms are closed due to COVID-19 and some restaurants and other establishments are limiting or eliminating bathroom access altogether. Don’t forget the hand sanitizer!
3. Build in Extra Time
When traveling with children, delays are pretty much guaranteed. Most parents are used to budgeting in additional time when their kids are involved — particularly if they’re parents of young children. Building in extra time is especially important when it comes to travel. An argument with your teenager or your toddler’s temper tantrum might only make for a 10-minute delay but a 10-minute delay could forfeit your timed entry to an attraction or be the difference between making or missing a flight.
4. Involve Kids in the Trip Planning
By involving kids in the pre-trip planning, they’ll know what to expect, and, as a result, will feel more comfortable on the trip. Allowing children to choose certain destinations, attractions or dining options will make the trip more fun for them and can also make the trip go smoother.
5. Don’t Forget Your Face Masks
Even if you live in a small town or rural area where face masks aren’t the norm, know that they are required on airplanes and in most restaurants, gas stations and tourist attractions around the country. Countless brands are making fun, colorful face masks for kids, some of which have pockets for filters. Being able to choose their own mask (designed with Superman, unicorns, sharks or dinosaurs) and getting them accustomed to wearing the mask before the trip can minimize objections to the mask during the trip. Kids may drop or lose their masks, as kids do, so bring a few extra to keep on hand.
Your AAA Travel Agent can offer tips and updates on various travel requirements. Call 800-750-5386 or visit your local AAA Travel office!