Tips for Travel After COVID-19 with Babies & Small Children
There was a point when the coronavirus pandemic first kicked into high gear where I questioned if we’d ever travel again, never mind when. Maybe road trips? Maybe buy a cottage? I’ve always thought chartering a private jet would be ideal when traveling with little ones, but that was due to ease and convenience, not trying to avoid a potentially deadly virus.
We lived through SARs and traveled during H1N1, but COVID-19 is different. Here’s a look at how we’ll approach travel after COVID-19…
Tips for Travel After COVID-19…
Where to Go:
We’re based in Canada, and right now there are very few places we actually can travel to, even if we wanted. The border to the US is still closed to non-residents. And of course there is the fear of burdening a smaller or developing nation’s health care system if you were to become sick while away.
You’ll need to confirm your travel medical insurance will cover you in the event you (or your family) become ill–with COVID-19 or something else.
Once it’s “safe” to travel again I think we’ll look at places that managed the pandemic well, with access to good health care but also infrastructure should you need or want to return home with short notice.
Honestly, I think visiting Europe is out for us until a vaccine for COVID-19 is available. The exploring, the meals on tiny terraces, and the visiting historic locales (alongside innumerable other tourists) would make me too nervous to truly enjoy myself.
However, much of Europe has reopened to visitors, with protocols in place.
A Canadian doctor is optimistic that a COVID-19 vaccine could be here sooner rather than later. I think a safe for us to feel comfortable visiting Europe would be summer 2021, which gives us something to look forward to!
We LOVE Mexico and have been several times with our kids. We have ZERO issues with visiting Mexico and believe it could be one of the first places we travel to once we start traveling again.
Mexico’s COVID numbers are fluctuating due to restrictions being lifted. Would I feel comfortable visiting a large and busy resort? Probably not. But a smaller hotel or vacation home with dining options outside of just a buffet and a not-so-busy beach for swimming and snorkeling? Probably yes.
Air Canada Vacations has recently launched new Health & Safety Standards and Cancun is one of their first re-opened destinations. Once upon a time we visited Azul Beach Resort, just outside of Cancun, and I think it would be a great choice for a resort vacation at a hotel that’s intimate enough to respect social distance guidelines.
Many Caribbean countries experienced very few cases of COVID-19 and many have already had all of their cases resolved. Because most of these nations heavily rely on the tourism industry, they are already opening up to visitors.
We LOVE the Caribbean and the notion of parking myself on the beach and staying in a small room or hut on the beach is VERY appealing.
Re-opening for Travel After COVID-19
This Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association document outlines all of the countries’ current status, as well as prospective opening dates and any new guidelines for visits.
Jamaica and Saint Lucia are the first Caribbean countries to reopen international travel. Visitors are subject to additional screening upon entry. Everyone entering Jamaica will be tested for COVID-19. Testing applies to Jamaican Nationals as well as visitors. Visitors to Saint Lucia must be tested for COVID-19 up to a maximum of 48 hours before their flight and must be certified COVID-free. All travellers must wear a face mask during the flight and in the airport in Saint Lucia and continue the use of face masks upon arrival in Saint Lucia.
The United States Virgin Islands began accepting visitors on June 1. Travelers are screened and may be required to take a COVID-19 test. Arriving passengers should follow stay-at-home directives and monitor themselves for 14 days.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines resumed welcoming visitors as of June 22, but all must self-quarantine upon arrival for 14 days.
Aruba was scheduled to open borders with Europe, Canada, and most Caribbean nations on July 1st, and with the USA on July 10. International commercial travel to the Bahamas resumed July 1. Other countries scheduled to reopen to International travel (with additional screening and restrictions) are: Bermuda, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Grenada, and St. Maarten (but NOT St. Martin).
Puerto Rico is currently scheduled to reopen July 15 and not until at least Sept. 1 for Grand Cayman.
Turks and Caicos is looking like possibly August for cruise port re-opening but nothing on flying just yet.
Travel After COVID-19: Getting There
The actual flying is pretty much the biggest drawback to travel after COVID-19. I already wipe everything within an inch of its life, but I don’t love the idea of spending multi-hour flight in a mask. And even though we’ve all been working from home for forever now, I definitely do not want to quarantine for 14 days upon returning home.
Road trips are much more condusive to traveling in a post-COVID world, so long as you are cognizant of social distancing and handwashing and use of wipes and hand sanitizer while you’re stopping for gas and food.
Now, we have never traveled in an RV, and the idea has never appealed… until now! This is not the safest mode of transport with a baby or toddler as car seats cannot be safely installed in a motorhome.
Public Transport & Taxis
I don’t love the idea of being in a subway car or on a bus with a gazillion shared surfaces and possible difficulty of maintaining social distance. I also don’t love the idea of being in close proximity with a cab or ride share driver who’s been in close proximity to lots of other people from lots of places.
Although a big part of vacation for me is parking the car, chances are once we start traveling again we’ll stick to road trips in our own car or rent one once we get where we’re going. And wipe the whole thing down with disinfecting wipes, of course!
Travel After COVID-19: Where to Stay
It’s sad to say, but most hotel rooms and rentals are cleaner than my own house. But I know who has been in my house and who is (or isn’t) cleaning it. Many hotels are sharing their plans for amped up sanitizing protocols, but all it takes is one absent-minded hangnail bite after hitting the elevator button and, BLAMMO, you’ve contracted COVID-19.
Hotels & Resorts
Many hotels and resorts are open for business, whether or not they’re located somewhere open for international travel. Check to see what their cleaning and disinfecting processes are, and bring your own disinfecting wipes for extra security.
I might forego daily housekeeping services, and I would defiintely bring my own travel crib.
Vacation Rentals & Airbnb
Self-catering in a vacation rental or Airbnb will likely be our first attempt at travel after COVID-19. I like the fact that you can give everything a once-over once you arrive, and you can look after your own tidying and meals. A place on the beach or with a pool would be ideal!
I never used to think that cooking made for a good vacation. But, take-out is so easy these days and it’s always way easier to have your own kitchen for feeding baby while traveling anyway.
Travel After COVID-19: Your Own Health & Safety Protocols
It’s been drilled into our heads but it bears repeating for the time being, anyway…
- Wash your hands. A Lot.
- Use hand sanitizer. A Lot.
- Wear a mask if in close quarters with other people.
- Try to maintain a social distance of at least six feet from other people not in your household.
If you’re traveling with a baby or todder, these things will be tougher to do. An infant in a carrier car seat will be easier to isolate from strangers. Take extra care not to touch baby’s hands and don’t let strangers get too close. I loved the weather shield that came with our UPPAbaby Vista and would totally use that to keep my baby in a bubble.
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