By Kerri Smith ~
We’ve all gone stir-crazy after more than a year of lockdowns and social distancing. But with travel options returning, normalcy is on the horizon. And as summer draws closer, families of all kinds are making plans.
How can you safely travel with your family and follow protocols that seem to change almost daily? My family recently navigated that challenge when we flew to Hawaii.
Here are our tips for making the most out of your next vacation.
Do Your Research
Every location has unique requirements for entry, especially U.S. islands and foreign countries. Check your destination’s official website before you book. If asked to register your trip, it’s likely each traveler; even minors will need a profile.
A destination may require a negative Covid test result upon arrival. In some cases, only select healthcare partners are approved for testing. A specific diagnostic test could also be mandated, so verify if a standard RNA test will work or if you may need a NAAT. Due to time limits placed on test results (72-120 hours typically), we found it easiest to take an approved rapid test.
It sounds like a lot, but every destination has comprehensive instructions to guide you. If our unruly bunch could make it through, so will you.
The Boy Scouts got it right, and it’s especially true for traveling post-Covid.
Organization is vital. We recommend having printed copies of everything (travel itinerary, proof of accommodation, test results, and IDs).
Keep pictures of each on your phone as a backup that’s easy to access. We saw many folks put back in line if they had to dig for paperwork.
Minors also have more responsibility, now. Many TSA checkpoints and airlines are asking each member of your party to scan their boarding pass, so plan for extra time to coach your young ones through the process.
Hotels, restaurants, and tours may each have varying occupancy limits. Hotels could offer 100% capacity, while restaurants and excursions may still be 50% or lower. Make sure you have reservations well in advance.
In practice, we found the change in pace a welcome one. With fewer people included on our tours, we felt less rushed and received more personalized attention. We were happy to hear these new protocols may be permanent.
There’s always an element of flexibility needed when you travel, especially with family. You could find yourself at the socially distanced hotel pool without a chair, and outings are always subject to weather. It’s a good idea to have a “Plan B” the whole group will enjoy.
Heading to the beach for the day or finding a hiking trail that’s accessible for all ages are easy, no-fuss options. Museums and zoos have opened up in most places. At least one of these activities exists nearly everywhere; costs are typically low, if not free.
Travel may be slightly different than you remember, especially for multigenerational families trekking together. But it’s still traveling. It’s an opportunity to step outside the bubble of the past year, reconnect with the world, and enjoy new adventures.
When our family began our journey to Hawaii, we weren’t sure what to expect. But with a bit of planning, it was so much easier than we’d thought — and more fun than we’ve had in a long time.