Three Things That Have to Happen Before I’ll Travel Internationally With My Kids Again
It’s a funny place in the world of nervous travellers. Over one year of not being able to travel, or do much else for that matter, has caused many a would-be traveller to feel some cabin fever. But when is it safe to venture out of that cabin?
While it’s different for every country or state/province, it’s been a pretty long Covid-situation here in Ontario, Canada. We are on our 4th lockdown. Schools are closed again, and restaurants and recreational facilities are all but boarded up. Suffice it to say, there’s been a lot of couch surfing time.
Now that I’ve watched everything available on Netflix I have turned back to my favourite pastime, researching travel. I think this brings me as much joy as the trip itself. So, I’ve researched many new places to go but can’t seem to pull the trigger on hitting that ‘book’ button.
What’s stopping me is the unknown around the Covid-19 situation even though emotionally I’m pretty ‘over it’. Despite my hope for even a day trip somewhere, my hard-wired DNA remains stuck in ‘nervous mom’ mode. So how do I look at our future family adventures with a less anxious but not too naive lens? For me, it has come down to 3 things that I will wait for before going anyplace out of Country with kids in tow.
1. We need to be vaccinated
This is a hot topic of course. But since I vaccinate people in my job as a family doctor and truly believe the benefits outweigh the risk, I need my entire family to be vaccinated before we are boarding any planes and crossing borders. Now this is just my family’s situation and won’t be for everyone. But for this nervous mom — having everyone vaccinated is a way for me to not be so paranoid on vacation. I would love to not worry constantly about what surfaces my kids are touching all day long. But the biggest reason I would like my kids to get vaccinated is because I just don’t want them to get sick!
There’s a lot of data out there that kids are not getting really sick with Covid-19. This is true! This is great news! And for many families this means they won’t choose to vaccinate their kids. But I would even sign mine up for a vaccine trial if I could (they aren’t doing any in Canada — I checked) because they can get really sick. It’s rare but not impossible. Getting any kind of illness from Covid-19 also brings risk of spreading it to other people with more risk and the annoyance of missing more school or other activities once they are open again.
Because of my work I am fully vaccinated, and my husband has his first shot of two. No Covid vaccine is approved for kids under age 16 at this time — although currently Pfizer has requested FDA approval for kids age 12–15, post trials which showed very promising results. They are currently working on trials for kids age 6 months to 11 years. From what I can find it is looking like early 2022 before Pfizer will be rolling out vaccines to these younger kids. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson are also undergoing trials for younger kids.
I think I could handle domestic travel and some day trips this summer to our drivable places without my kids being vaccinated. But to cross into another country where we might get sick and then not be allowed back on a returning flight is just is too much for this anxious mom!
2. We need to have health care options and accommodation options if we get stuck
So many places have great healthcare, and we can usually get great insurance coverage if we are all healthy the few months prior to travel. So, this one is pretty easy to check off my list. But the other part of it is I have to know we will have a place to sleep if one of us does get sick.
If someone in our group was sick, even with just moderate ‘cold’ symptoms it would be hard to board a flight home. Essentially stranding all of us in whatever country we are in. If we are in Orlando (because we go there a lot) see my recent article “Why we keep going back to Florida Over and Over and Over” then it’s no big deal. There are places to hole-up and wait it out. There are also a ton of return flight options once everyone was healthy again and even driving options to consider if we really just had to get home.
But what if we were in Cayo Coco, Cuba at a resort? Or somewhere even more remote? I can’t know for sure that we would be allowed to stay at the resort. I’m not totally sure we could find accommodation near a health care facility or even a rental car if we needed one to get there. What if we were on a cruise? They would either quarantine you in your tiny room or kick you off at the next port where they would take the sick passenger to health care facility to get checked out but then would leave the port without you on the ship. I’m not sure I’m ok with this uncertainty. For me it’s going to have to be bigger centres with lots of hotel and transportation options and not too far from home. At least until the worldwide case numbers start to go way down.
3. We need to NOT have to quarantine when we get back
OK. who has time to quarantine after a trip? I certainly can’t take more than a week off for a trip. Currently in Canada if you return from a different country you must quarantine for 14 days including 3 days in a hotel near the airport if you fly in. It’s a bit of a commitment isn’t it! It’s also more time out of school for the kids and they have had a lot of that in the past year. We won’t be travelling until they open up the borders (obviously) and remove any quarantine requirements.
So, there is my must have list of things before we’ll travel out of country. Or at least that’s the list today. If you don’t have travel anxiety like I do your list might look a lot different or maybe you are already out there enjoying travel again? Like Covid-19 itself my list might evolve but hopefully at some point in the future this list can just be eradicated!