A Practical Guide to Stress-Free Travel with Kids: Covid Edition
Travelling with your kids during the June holidays?
As our post-Covid world opens up, people are hopping to tourist destinations, breaking out the vacation wardrobe and getting their passports renewed. If you’re bringing the family on a trip overseas, you might want to be prepared for the new environment. Read on for our top tips for travelling fuss and stress-free with your kids.
1 Key Essentials: Covid Passport & Travel Visa
The most important things you’ll need to travel with these days are your international passport and a Covid passport— that means your vaccination certificate and a negative ART document, if required. Regulations vary by country, including whether you’ll need a physical document or if you can use a digital one.
The Straits Times made a pretty handy Covid travel guide here— simply key in your destination country and you’ll get a list of their travel rules for Singaporeans. Some countries require Covid testing upon arrival or additional passenger declarations and digital passes, so be sure to get these sorted out before you go!
Pro-Tip: You can download and print a copy of your Vaccination HealthCert at Notαrise, where you’ll also find a list of clinics that do travel ARTs.
You may still want to check your particular country’s government website for the latest Covid and travel visa advisories. Trustworthy websites are listed here by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2 Packing List Essentials: Covid Edition
Some useful items you may like to pack may include:
- Moisturising hand sanitiser
- Disinfectant wet wipes (at least 60-70% alcohol)
- Extra face masks + ziplock bags
- Your own Covid test kit
- Fever/ flu/ gastric medicine + thermometer
The air inside aeroplanes are generally filtered, but you may feel more at ease wearing an N95 respirator or double-layered face mask during the flight, as that’s when a large number of travellers will be in the same space at the same time.
You may bring hand sanitiser to clean your hands before eating and wet wipes to disinfect high-touch surfaces— on a plane, that would be the seat belt, armrests, TV screen, tray table and window handle or buttons.
Pro-Tip: If you’re bringing these in your carry-on cabin baggage, you may want to keep them in a slip-in pouch for easy access. Just remember to keep your bottle of sanitiser under 100ml.
For medicines you plan to bring, you’ll probably want to keep them in their original packaging to avoid suspicion at customs— and tightly sealed to prevent leakages in transit.
3 Preparing your Kids for Travel
It will be ideal to brief your children beforehand about what they can expect on the trip and how you expect them to behave, especially if it is their first time travelling. This helps to mentally prepare them for the new experience and foreign environment.
You can describe the sights and sounds they will encounter at the airport, such as getting their passports checked, their luggage checked in, how they won’t be able to carry certain items onto the aircraft because of safety measures and to touch as few surfaces as possible when out and about.
Check in with your kids if they have any questions or concerns about travelling.
Perhaps the most discomfort a child feels on a plane is the cabin pressure. While waiting for your boarding gate to open, you can explain to your child what they will feel when the plane is taking off. Describing it as a little “pop” in the ears may help it sound less scary.
Pro-Tip: Sucking on a sweet or yawning can help to “pop” the pressure from your ears during takeoff and landing.
In your destination country, take some time each morning to go through your family’s itinerary for the day and how your children can behave— including what to do if they need a toilet break or should they get separated from the family.
4 Safety in a Foreign Place
How helpful would it be if a child is lost and when asked who his parents are, says, “Mummy and Papa”? Probably not very.
That’s why it’s important that your kids know your name and mobile number— even better if they know the address of your hotel or airbnb too. In the event that they do get lost, they or an adult can contact you and make their way back to your accommodation. You may like to give your child a card with your information to carry in their pocket in case of emergencies.
Pro-Tip: Tear a sheet from the notepad in your hotel room to write your details on— it will likely already have the address printed on it.
It also helps to train your child to be responsible for their own items when travelling. Role model checking your pockets for your items before leaving a place or vehicle. Hopefully this spares you the pains of a sulky child who has misplaced their smartphone and the trouble of not being able to contact the taxi company.
5 How to Keep the Kids Engaged
If you’re flying on a budget carrier, you might want to bring a tablet with pre-downloaded games and shows to keep the kids entertained during the flight. This can also come in handy on days when you’re rained in. Even if you don’t normally allow the device for long periods of time in your home, this can be an exception to the rule.
Remember entertainment doesn’t always have to rely on batteries. You can invest in those mini 4-in-1 travel board game sets or a simple sketchbook and pencil. You can also bring along your child’s favourite stuffed animal for comfort in a foreign place.
Pro-Tip: Give your child a simple point-and-shoot compact camera or travel journal to record their holiday with. It keeps them meaningfully busy and helps your child reflect on the new experiences too.
For older kids, you can even go so far as to let them choose a place of interest to visit. Let them pick from a list of options if you want to keep within your itinerary.
Do some research together about the history, geography and culture of your chosen destination. It will be all the more memorable for them to experience in real life what they’ve learned before the trip.
Travelling with kids may be a hassle sometimes, but when you look back on the memories, they are truly precious and the special time you spent bonding stays with them.
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