As vaccines ship around the world, everyone’s getting excited to travel again. Staycations aren’t as fun when they last over a year, so you’re likely thinking about where your family can go for some out-of-town fun. While you daydream about locations and activities, use these tips for parents planning their first post-COVID vacation.
Once health and safety organizations announce travel is safe again, take your family somewhere relaxing. You’ll make memories and start your journey back to regular annual trips and getaways, perhaps even as soon as this summer.
1. Book Everything Early
Most people are a little restless and ready to get back into the world. When it’s safe to travel, hotel rooms and plane tickets will sell out quickly. Book everything as early as possible to get ahead of the travel rush.
Since over 51% of Americans plan to travel in 2021, you can expect tourists to fill locations at home and abroad. Booking early ensures all of your travel needs are met and could give you access to discounts that aren’t available to last-minute travelers.
2. Bring Extra Masks
Health experts have already said that people will have to wear masks through 2021, even after getting vaccinated. The world needs time to vaccinate people and reduce COVID-19 spread, so bring extra masks wherever you go on vacation.
It’s always better to have a couple of extra essentials packed when you’re away from home, but it’s especially crucial when you don’t have access to a washing machine. Avoid touching the bacteria on the outside of each face mask by not reusing them. Find a box of medical masks for a few dollars, and your family will have enough to last the trip.
3. Review Airport Layouts
After you book plane tickets, make travel safer and easier by planning efficient airport routes. You’ll run into fewer people and less potential exposure by knowing exactly where to go and how to get there. Identify your terminal and look for parking maps to spot where you’ll leave your car. Walk into the airport with a game plan to avoid wandering through crowds of strangers.
4. Pack What You Can
Your family may feel comfortable traveling this year before getting vaccinated. If that’s the case, pack what you can and limit how often you need to shop at your destination. Avoiding trips to the store ensures you don’t expose your family to large indoor gatherings.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers helpful shopping guidelines to minimize risks, like getting groceries delivered and using curbside pickup for other purchases. You could even use these strategies away from home, although you’ll have to check with each business to see if they deliver to hotels.
5. Research Entertainment Options
Before you leave town, research all of your destination’s entertainment options. List what your family might enjoy, like mini-golf or go-karts. After you have a list, do a deep dive into each business. See if they still use COVID-19 precautions to determine if they’re a safe place to visit before getting vaccinated. Your family will stay safe only if you can make informed decisions about where to go and what to do.
Don’t forget to have some things to entertain for the trip as well. Having plenty of activities in the car or if venturing on the plane will make sure that kiddos are not bored and wanting to do unsafe activities.
6. Review Refund Policies
Refund policies that began at the start of the pandemic might not exist through 2021 or longer. Double-check that you can get your money back from hotels, airlines and any other place where you buy a ticket. If local hot spots appear around your destination just before you leave, you should be able to get your money back without a hassle. Businesses may have updated their policies as travelers get more confident and the virus becomes less of a threat.
7. Check Live Updates
Keep an eye out for live updates that could change your trip, even months out from the day you leave town. Watch the local news about your destination and look for email updates from places like your hotel. If something shuts down because of hot spots or potential exposure, you can readjust your trip accordingly. Even at the end of the year, COVID-19 could still affect travel plans in areas without widespread vaccine access or high vaccination rates.
8. Plan Trips Early
Planning trips early is one of the best tips for parents planning their first post-COVID vacation. Take your time and use these strategies to have the best getaways possible after officials say it’s safe to leave home again.