Travel during pandemic is stressful! But reasons arise why you may need to make a trip with your little one. According to Experts at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19.
Health experts don’t yet know if one type of travel is safer than other, e.g., a car or plane trip. Airports, bus, gas and train stations, as well as rest stops, can all be places where you can be exposed to coronavirus in the air and on surfaces. It’s hard to keep your distance, for example, in an airplane or on a crowded train.
If you have to travel during pandemic, this is no time to be disorganized: Research your destination, create packing lists and pad your itinerary with extra time throughout your journey. Check local travel and weather warnings at noaa.gov, and for international restrictions at http://travel.state.gov, where you can also apply for passports and visas.
When it comes to flying, it’s best to wait until baby is 3-4 months old before flying to avoid challenges to their vulnerable immune system. Check to see if your carrier has any age restrictions regarding infants.
You can carry frozen or fresh breastmilk through airport security, although it will be scanned for safety. Also bring unopened snacks and empty water bottles you can fill once through security as there may be no snacks on board. Check with TSA.gov for any updates to the rules before flying.
Most airlines will gate check your stroller or car seat for free, and it will be waiting for you as you exit the plane post-flight. Keep disinfecting wipes at the ready to clean the surfaces of these items before using them with your baby. If you’ve purchased a seat for baby, they must ride in a government-approved car seat. Look for the sticker on the seat that says: “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” printed on it, or it won’t be permitted on-board. It’s likely your steward will look for this.
If baby’s riding on your lap, a sling or backpack carrier may help you carry them through the airport but you’ll have to put it away during takeoff and landing. Help baby clear their ears on take-off and landing by getting them to swallow frequently, either with a pacifier, bottle, or by breastfeeding.
If you’re staying at a hotel or home rental, ask about the facility’s COVID-19 prevention practices before you go, such as is there extra cleaning and sanitation occurring. Stay in places that allow you to avoid contact with employees with features like:
Ask if employees are required to wearing face coverings at work. If you have to interact with employees, ask if the facility features plexiglass barriers at check-in counters, and physical distancing signs in the lobby–these features ensure the hotel or lodging is taking your health and safety seriously.
You’re packing for two (or more!) Aside from the obvious clothes and accessories, don’t forget these essentials:
Bon voyage!By Summer Hunt, ELS