After months on a safer-at-home order, my husband and I were desperate for a change of scenery with our two young kids — while following the social distancing and safety guidelines, of course. In ordinary times, packing up our suitcases and traveling would be simple. Not now, though. We weighed our options and amended our plans to be able to safely travel, while keeping our exposure to the outside world minimal. Here are some things that I did to ease the stress so that we could truly relax and enjoy some time away.
6 Tips For Family Travel During COVID
Be on the same page with your partner before traveling. Who are you going to visit? Are they following what you consider to be safe social distancing? If they aren’t being as safe as you would like, don’t be afraid to have a conversation about it before you solidify your plans. Ask if they have been dining out, visiting with friends, attending religious services, or utilizing nonessential services. These are things you need to know so that you can make an informed decision that will impact your family.
2. Means Of Transportation
I felt uneasy every time I thought about traveling by plane. We made the decision that wherever we were visiting, it would be somewhere drivable. We ended up renting a lakefront house with a pool for a week — packed up the minivan and hit the road for our 6-hour drive. We knew we were not going to be leaving the house once we arrived, so we picked a house that had some extra amenities. When you are considering travel plans, my suggestion is this; if you are second guessing your plan, it is probably the wrong one for now. Rethink and revise.
3. Potty Breaks
Let’s be honest parents, you find out how small your child’s bladder really is on long car rides. Road trips with kids require a few extra tricks up your sleeve. My absolute favorite trick is my OXO Tot 2-in-1 Go Potty for Travel. I knew that I wanted to avoid public restrooms on our journey, so this really came in handy. I also never leave home without several emesis bags. The bags serve a dual purpose: one, as a car sickness bag for my daughter and the other, as a urinal for my son. You can even use one as a trash bin. As for me, I hydrated extra well the day prior to our departure and limited my water consumption on our drive so I could avoid having to use the bathroom. Sometimes though having to stop at a public restroom is unavoidable — taking the proper precautions such as wearing your mask, having easily accessible disinfectant wipes to sanitize door knobs and locks, etc. can help keep you safe.
The cleanliness of the vacation home was on the forefront of my mind. Even though the owner said the house will be cleaned to the CDC standards I had concerns. To ease my worry I brought supplies with me to reclean. I packed paper towels, disinfectant wipes and spray, I rewashed all of the linen when we arrived and we brought our own blankets. I wiped down all kitchen and bathroom surfaces, inside the fridge, tv remotes, light switches and doorknobs. I removed decorative pillows and throw blankets, as well as magazines away from where we were lounging. I also rewashed all of the dishes and flatware and pots I used. Sure it took a lot of time, but it was essential for my sanity.
5. Plan Out Meals/Groceries
I wanted to limit my exposure to the virus by avoiding the grocery store completely. I researched grocery delivery services in the area before we arrived so I knew all of my options. Luckily Amazon Fresh was one of them. I placed my order a few days prior and everything arrived on time — two hours after we arrived. I also was able to order some beer and hard seltzer, which I enjoyed while poolside. I always like to be prepared, so I packed a dinner of leftover frozen ribs and vegetables just in case the order didn’t arrive on time. Having a hangry crew is no fun!
6. Ways To Entertain
I tried to incorporate some surprises for the kids so that they would really feel like it was a vacation. The first thing I did was loosen up on my screen time rules and I also rented a movie for them to watch. I packed popcorn from home so they felt like they were actually going to the movies. I also ordered some novelty popsicles, which I never do. I was sure to bring their bikes, fishing poles, bubbles, new books, glow bracelets, coloring books, watercolor and a new game to play, Uno. We also splurged on a giant alligator pool float.
Having that time away from our usual routines was just the refresh we all needed. Traveling during a pandemic definitely brings up all the anxiety. Hopefully these tips will help to relieve some of that worry!
Editor’s note: Every jurisdiction has their own ordinances for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please research local and state guidelines prior to travel.
Jewel Rich is a mom of two, living in southern California. She’s currently navigating life through food, crafting, and travel.
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