Three-year-old Anna Kuts sleeps on a suitcase after arriving with her family at the Tijuana, Mexico airport, where an army of volunteers is helping Ukrainian refugees near the end of their long voyage to the United States – Copyright AFP Genya SAVILOV
For many parents, this has triggered a level of anxiety. In particular, there are some families with young children who are not able to get vaccinated yet and for them this has led to a new round of concern.
Eileen Ogintz, long time family travel expert and author of the U.S. syndicated column Taking the Kids, has provided Digital Journal readers a few tips for families trying to navigate these tricky travel scenarios.
Ogintz says: “I’ve always said bring a medical kit with you – ever since my 3 year old daughter fell into “a very mean” cactus at Joshua Tree and we had to borrow a pair of tweezers from another family while she cried hysterically. Consider bringing a pack of masks with your medical kit.”
Ogintz recommends: “If you have young kids under the vaccination age, or are going to see a compromised relative, the whole family should mask while traveling – N-95s or KN-95s are best at this point. While the parents may be vaccinated and at less risk, the same principle of the WHOLE family wearing helmets while bike riding or skiing applies — the kids need to see the example.”
She adds: “Bring extra masks, in case you find yourself in a situation where a seat neighbor is coughing often.”
COVID-19 test kits
Ogintz suggests: “Pack in at home tests if you can.”
Plenty of water
Keeping hydrated is important. Ogintz states: “Remember to bring your own reusable water bottles, to cut down on plastic waste and airport costs – just remember to empty your water bottles before TSA, because they will take your water bottle – don’t ask me why a water bottle is more dangerous than a virus that has killed 1 million Americans, but I’m no expert…”
Patience and planning
Give yourself plenty of time and be patient, suggests Ogintz: “Airlines have been struggling with staffing all year, they will continue to struggle, likely more as more employees become sick now and they have to rotate crews and pilots. This will lead to delays and aggravation. Patience is a virtue.”
Ogintz also says: “To avoid delays, try to book the earlier flight you can – delays tend to build later in the day.”
Ogintz advocates travel insurance, noting: “Make sure to get travel insurance in case of any hick ups whether with COVID-19 or airline delays.”