travel during Covid
The mental health benefits of a family vacation
Every hardworking adult knows the importance of time off. Spending this time together as a family can also have a profound impact on your child’s well-being. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty to our lives. While their resilience has helped them adapt to this new “normal,” most kids are still experiencing anxiety as a result of the pandemic.
Family travel can present a much-needed break from all the unknowns. That sense of togetherness is important for making our children feel safe. And time off gives everyone a chance to bond without the added stress of daily responsibilities.
As kids grow there are fewer opportunities for families to spend quality time together. Creating these memorable experiences needs to be a priority. It helps our children become more flexible, adapting to changes more easily, and learning to be comfortable with who they are no matter where they are.
We realize this can be a challenge for some, especially those who have not been vaccinated. Here are some travel tips to safely keep your family on the move during these trying times.
Plan a Staycation
It may not be as exciting as a big trip, but staying local is the safest option for unvaccinated children (and adults). Make the most of your family staycation by unplugging from both work and screen time. Keep kids off the couch by enjoying plenty of outdoor time. Become tourists in your own community by visiting parks, local attractions, and trails.
Better yet, turn your backyard into an outdoor fun zone! If your home’s backyard isn’t safe for independent play, consider repurposing your vacation fund. A kid-friendly backyard is free of dangerous tools and chemicals as well as natural hazards like holes, thorns, and biting or stinging insects. If you have little explorers, a fenced-in backyard is always a great investment.
Young children love backyard camping. Try sensory experiences (think water, dirt, and sand) for both active and calming play. For older kids, equip your yard with a telescope, magnifying glass, field guides, and other tools for DIY scientific exploration. Shake up your usual routine with more fun ideas from Everyday Health.
Go on a Family Road Trip
According to the CDC, the safest travel for unvaccinated children involves contact with only immediate family members and those who are fully vaccinated. For that reason, it’s best to avoid air, bus, or train travel. Stick to road trips instead. Choose private accommodations like a vacation rental where you can cook meals or order take-out instead of dining in restaurants.
travel during Covid
Now that you’re an expert in backyard camping, try the real thing! It’s a great option if you can avoid the more crowded campgrounds with shared facilities. Instead, book a cabin or rent an RV with your own private bathroom. Keep in mind that many national parks are especially busy during the pandemic. Visiting lesser-known parks is a smart move for families hoping to avoid the crowds.
Prefer an amenity-rich vacation? Family resorts stepped up cleaning and safety measures during the pandemic. The best resorts for families offer sprawling grounds with plenty of space to social distance and private rental homes as opposed to hotel-style accommodations.
Visit Your Vaccinated Loved Ones
Staying with fully-vaccinated family and friends is another safe choice for families. Make the most of school breaks and catch up with loved ones you haven’t seen in a while. The safest way to gather for families with unvaccinated children is to move celebrations outdoors and ensure all adults are vaccinated.
If you have high-risk relatives who can’t join you, try a zoom call during your gathering so they can still take part in the fun. Share stories and play games to keep kids engaged.
There’s still a lot we can’t (or won’t) do as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy quality time together. Whether you stay local or embark on a family road trip, use your next vacation to strengthen that family bond and create memories that will last a lifetime.