School breaks are approaching and you’re working on ways to make the most of the holidays after a less-than-stellar year. You probably miss the company of your family members and these breaks are giving you another chance to hang out with them. The bad news is that COVID-19 is now a thing, and according to the CDC and WHO, traveling makes you more vulnerable to contracting this virus. This makes sense, because big crowds and indoor spaces (like planes, trains and busses) lead to a higher likelihood of viral transmission. On the bright side, it’s still possible to go out there and live life, without putting your family at risk. Check out these Tips for a Family Vacation During COVID.
Pandemic-Friendly Travel Options
Is there a pandemic-friendly travel option? While nothing is completely risk-free, there are some things you can do that will lower the risk of exposure for your family. Many of the classic family vacation experiences go completely against what we think we know is safest and smartest in a pandemic. To help with this, try switching out your traditional travel habits with alternative options.
Traditional holiday experiences:
- Public transport
- Crowded areas
- Going maskless
- Mingling with strangers
- Large indoor family gatherings
Alternative, safer options:
- Use private transport
- Keep socially distanced from others
- Wear a mask
- Meet outdoors
Observing the CDC’s safety and protections guidelines will make your vacation more pandemic-friendly.
In addition to the usual items you need to keep track of when traveling, like passports, ID, tickets, bags and kids, you’ll also need to have these things handy when traveling in a pandemic:
- Hand-Sanitizer (Check the FDA’s list of approved hand sanitizer ingredients and keep out of the reach of kids)
- Masks (You’ll need plenty extra of these. Keep a box in your car or bag for emergencies)
- Vaccine Proof
- Negative Test Proof (In some cases)
If you are traveling internationally, be sure to check in with the local government at your destination about COVID requirements and restrictions.
Hotels are considered low-risk if you are vaccinated, traveling with a small family group and do not congregate in the public areas. If you are unvaccinated, traveling with a larger group or looking to avoid strangers altogether, then check out private rental options on AirBnB and VRBO, or find a campsite with HipCamp. In addition to being pandemic-friendly, these rentals are usually family-friendly and often pet-friendly, too.
There are many things to consider when going on a family vacation during a pandemic, and in some cases the best option might be to postpone that vacation until boosters have been administered and case numbers are falling for COVID-19 around the country. It doesn’t have to be a bummer, because some of the best vacations are the ones spent relaxing with family in the comfort of your own home; like not having work in the morning so you can roll over in your OWN bed for another 45 minutes; using your favorite cooking dish for Nana’s pumpkin pie recipe; snapping Halloween pics of the kids getting into their costumes.
Activities for At-Home Holidays
If you’ve opted for an at-home holiday this year, you are not alone! Fun at-home activities are great for strengthening your family bonds and more time at home means more opportunities to focus on each other, instead of packing bags, making schedules and spending time with other friends and family.
This holiday you could
- Learn a new skill as a family (take online classes or buy a book)
- Try out a family sport
- Get DIY and construct a coop or kennel for your pets
- Make homemade decorations and put them up all around the house
- Learn to cook a new dish
- Go for walks/hikes in your neighborhood
- Play family board games (or Dungeons & Dragons!)
- Make art (music, painting, dance)
Being at home also means you can keep your children on a more consistent schedule, with time set aside for educational books and structured learning.
Put yourself and your family first this year. If you have a newborn or are still nursing, consider investing in a new maternity t-shirt for comfort and convenience while vacationing at home. If you have a more rough-and-tumble, outdoorsy homestay planned, a comfy-yet-durable pair of overalls might be just the ticket. And as a bonus, a little wardrobe addition is a gift to yourself that keeps on giving!
Your family should still be able to have a fantastic and safe vacation this year, with the help of a few simple adjustments. There are always downsides to missing big family gatherings and fun, traditional events, but keeping your family safe this season is the main priority. We hope that by using tips from this article, you are able to create a safe and memorable family vacation during COVID.