Tips For Travelling With Kids In A Post-Covid World
STORY: Priyanka Elhence
25 April 2022
Travel is back and the world is (quite quickly) opening up once again. But that doesn't mean that everything is back to the pre-pandemic normal, or that it’s completely safe to travel without caution either. Busy airports, long waiting times and cramped plane seating are still the order of the day, but this time, with masks too.
While rules for different destinations are changing all the time, there are a few things that you can do to make travelling with little ones in a post-Covid world a little easier.
Here’s what we recommend:
1. Travel direct
As far as possible, try taking direct flights to your final destination so that you can minimise the time you spend on the cramped plane and busy airports. It might be a longer journey without a break, but it’s worth it in the long run.
2. Book refundable airline tickets
Many airlines have made it easier to cancel or reschedule flights during travel now to get travellers back, but making sure you get your money back if your travel plans change has never been more important, especially when travelling with young kids in tow. Basic economy tickets might look really affordable at first sight, but remember that they are also usually the most restrictive, hidden with extra costs for rescheduling and cancellation too (if these are even possible on the cheaper, restrictive fares). Opting for fully refundable fares is certainly more expensive, but offers greater flexibility and peace of mind that you won’t lose anything if you do need to change your travel plans for whatever reason.
3. Tell your kids what to expect
Children aren’t given enough credit for how much they pick up on, whether or not we actually spell it out for them. Kids usually do much better when they know what to expect, so take the time to explain to them what to expect and what everyone needs to do to stay safe (e.g. keep wearing masks throughout the flight, do supervised ART tests, sanitise hands frequently, etc). Communicate the 'three W’s': Wear your mask. Watch your distance. Wash your hands."
4. Pack sensibly
Travel may be opening up but we still can’t let our guard down, especially with little ones around who might be too young to have been vaccinated yet. Pack extra masks and hand sanitisers (with at least 60% alcohol for effectiveness), and disinfectant wipes are still very much needed. In crowded public areas, particularly indoors, it's a good idea to wear a mask, whether vaccinated or not. Often children mimic their parents, so if you’re in a situation where you don’t need to wear a mask but you want your child to wear a mask, keep a mask on yourself.
Depending on the age of your child, make sure you pack enough diapers, extra clothes, snacks and entertainment options to keep little ones distracted enough to stay peacefully rooted in their seats for the duration of the flight/journey.
5. Wipe down everything
Now that you have plenty of disinfectant wipes, wipe down everything you can around you, including the TV screen, arm rests, buttons, etc, to reduce the risk of germs and contamination.
6. Travel with plenty of time to spare
The whole world seems to be travelling at the same time, and long check in and immigration queues definitely mean that everything takes longer (not to mention that most airports are understaffed still). Keep your schedule flexible and leave plenty of room for extra time if you start running late. There’s nothing worse than stress levels rising for everyone because you’re short on time through no fault of your own.
7. Use at-home approved ART test kits
Travel requirements can change at any time, so stock up on a few extra kits (easily available from local pharmacies and supermarkets) before you head out of Singapore.