The COVID-19 pandemic shook up the entire world, and it left many of us stuck at home for months on end. However, as the number of cases declines, people opt to get vaccinated, and we all learn to resume our lives with caution, many families have decided it’s time to travel again.
But traveling is going to look a little different than it did before the pandemic. If you’re thinking about hitting the road this summer, consider following this family health and wellness checklist before you go.
It can be a little daunting to head back out into the world after a year or more of quarantine. For this reason, consider counseling for kids and parents before you travel. After all, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. A counselor or therapist can help you and your family cope with any stress or fear you may experience in relation to getting back out in public and being around others.
AVOID CROWDED PLACES
While things seem to be improving, the COVID-19 virus is still out there. You mustn’t let your guard down just yet. While you’re traveling, avoid crowded places or places where you can’t stay at least six feet away from people who aren’t part of your household. For example, if you go into a restaurant and all of the tables are filled, you may want to eat somewhere else or grab some takeout.
PACK YOUR COVID-19 ESSENTIALS
You’ll need to pack a few extra things if you plan to travel right now or anytime in the near future. Of course, masks are a must. You’ll also want to make sure you have plenty of hand sanitizer that is at least 70 percent alcohol. You may also want to consider bringing disinfecting wipes or cleaner so you can wipe down high-touch areas in your hotel, like light switches, remote controls, and bathroom fixtures. Purchase a thermometer to bring along as well — a fever is one of the most common signs of COVID-19, and you can use it to monitor yourself or your family if you feel sick.
WEAR A FACE MASK
It’s not enough to pack a mask or face covering. You’ll need to wear one while you travel too. Make sure it covers your mouth and nose, and be sure to wear it anytime you’re around others. According to the CDC, masks are currently required on public transportation, trains, planes, and buses in the United States.
CHECK LOCAL RESTRICTIONS
It’s also a good idea to check any local restrictions in your destination city. Masks may be required in certain places, or there may be a curfew. Specific forms of entertainment may be limited or shut down completely. You may even find that you’re required to quarantine after arrival or provide a negative COVID-19 test before you board a plane.
WASH YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY
Washing your hands throughout the day is a great way to stay healthy, even when there’s not a worldwide pandemic. Whenever possible, use soap and warm water, and scrub for at least 20 seconds.
GET PLENTY OF REST
Sleep is essential for your immune system, so make sure you get plenty of it while you travel. Being on the road is more exhausting than being at home. And, while it’s tempting to fill every minute with fun when you’re on vacation, you need to incorporate some downtime so you can rest.
EAT HEALTHY & DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Other ways to keep your immune system healthy include eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated. Many people overindulge in unhealthy things like sugary snacks or alcohol when they travel, so be mindful of what you put into your body. While an occasional treat is okay, stick to water on long flights and snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible.
Exercise is another way to keep your body healthy, so don’t get too lazy when you travel. Try walking instead of driving when possible, or go for a swim each day if you’re near a pool or beach. You can also select some fun physical activities like hiking, kayaking, or bowling to keep your body moving.
DON’T FORGET THE SUNSCREEN
Last but not least, bring some sunscreen along when you travel, no matter your destination. Choose a full spectrum type with an SPF of at least 30, and reapply every two hours.
We will start to travel again and life will return to something resembling normality. One thing I’ve always stressed is ‘if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel’. This still stands, travel insurance has never been so important. While we all want to create little global citizens and show our kids the world. We have to be able to get them to a safe place and get them the medical treatment they need if they need it.
Never leave home without travel insurance.