(me and the kids in an almost empty Hartford airport)
In July we went down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for our summer family vacation. We thought long and hard about whether or not we were going to do any travel this year due to the state of the country wit the pandemic and concerns about catching COVID-19.
In the end, we decided to do a little vaca down to the South Carolina coast. It wasn’t the trip to Scandinavia that we were originally planning to do this summer, but we still had a ton of fun and felt actually really safe traveling. I thought I would share a little more today about traveling safely during a pandemic.
First of all, I know everyone has different feelings about this right now, and I am not going to argue one way or another or try to convince you to get out and travel if you don’t feel comfortable with that, I’m just sharing what we did/packed, how we kept socially distant and our experience.
Let’s start with how we got there/where we stayed.
We flew down to South Carolina, and it was honestly the thing I was most worried about with the pandemic, but it was actually fine. The airports were virtually empty, we flew in and out of small airports so they were extra empty. Everyone was masked the entire time and social distanced. They spread everyone WAY out on the plane and the planes were the cleanest I have ever seen. We didn’t eat snacks or drink anything on the flight and everyone kept their masks on the entire time at the airport, and on the plane. (This is not super pleasant, but it helped that it was only a 2 hour flight.)
I knew that if we were going travel that I wanted to stay somewhere that had a kitchen. I wanted to avoid eating out as much as possible, so we booked a stay at a local resort and we almost didn’t leave the property at all which made it feel extra safe. We had a suit with a kitchen and family room. So we got breakfast and lunch stuff from the grocery store and then ordered contact free delivery each night for dinner. This was probably the least exposed to germs we’ve ever been while traveling. Everything is so much cleaner and more spread out than normal.
How we packed and what to bring.
Pack light and carry on your clothes. We only checked one bag (my Calpak suitcase that I’ve had for years and love), and the rest was carried on our backs in backpacks that could fit under our seats. This was easy to do since we mostly just packed swimsuits and coverups, and by carrying on we minimize other people touching our bags and keeping clear of germs, and us touching overhead bins, etc. Areas that are high traffic. I also recommend easy to slip on shoes since they’ll have to go through security too, the less laces and buckles you’re dealing with, the better.
And obviously, most important is packing masks/face coverings. This is essential for traveling during a pandemic, not just for your safety and the safety of others, but also, most states have mask requirements right now. We brought enough for each of us to have a new mask each day of our trip, since the place we were staying didn’t have a washer and dryer, you really need a fresh mask each day.
We also brought hand sanitizer with us to use at the airport and while out of resort. Also a great thing to have on hand for traveling during even non-pandemic times. Just make sure the bottle is smaller than 3 oz. if you are traveling by air.
Preparing your kids.
The last thing I would say is talking to your kids about the process, and how traveling during a pandemic will be different before you leave makes a huge difference. It could easily feel scary traveling this way, but we coached the kids beforehand (on the way to the airport, it was a surprise trip) on social distancing, touching as little as possible, frequently washing hands and what they could expect of the process (i.e. wearing masks the entire time we were in transit). Setting expectations beforehand for what it would be like made the whole process so much smoother, and no one even complained. We have a family approach to travel that is every trip is an adventure and sometimes there are obstacles to get through, and problems to solve and we’ll take them one at a time and then move on to the fun. This approached worked really well when we took them all to Europe, and even better traveling during the pandemic. We had a blast, masks and all.