Following the Coronavirus pandemic, traveling has significantly been affected, and travelers are advised to follow the guidelines issued by the governments, health authorities, and airlines. Several restrictions are in place to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. However, you can still take a vacation with your kids and have a wonderful time together. You only have to stick to the new travel rules set by the authorities. When planning to travel either international or local, always find the travel restrictions that will apply to you in your destination and what is expected of you before you start your journey.
Traveling During Pandemic
Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, traveling has been restricted in different countries around the world. Various states in the US have adopted guidelines for international travelers and local travelers. According to the Bureau of transportation statistics, air carriers in the US ferried 30.8 million passengers in January 2021 for domestic and international flights, which was 0.9% lower than December. The domestic passengers were 27.7 million, and international passengers were 3.1 million.
The figures were a huge drop compared to September 2018, when the air passengers were 73.9 million.
- Health Travel Advisory During Coronavirus
Every State has imposed guidelines and restrictions to protect its citizens. All the residents of New York and those visiting are advised to take it as personal responsibility and comply with the health and safety guidelines.
By April 10, 2021, any asymptomatic visitor to New York, whether from the United States or international traveler, is not required to go through a test or quarantine. However, According to CDC, quarantine is only applicable to individuals not yet vaccinated, or their lab health report indicates that they've not recovered from the Virus in the past three months.
Travelers exhibiting signs of the virus must take self-isolation and reach the local health service providers for a quick Coronavirus test. In addition, every traveler in New York must complete their Health Form. The only exempted cases are individuals who departed from New York within the past 24 hours or coming from contiguous states to New York like Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Vermont.
All visitors must observe the following whether they are quarantined or not:
- All visitors to Newyork have to watch over the symptoms for 14 consecutive days.
- They are expected to keenly follow all the guidelines (washing hands, wearing a mask) for 14 days, even after vaccination.
- Take quick isolation if the results come out positive and reach out to medical expertise for assistance.
- Undergo a complete vaccination program.
If one has traveled to other states and not any of the contiguous states of New York in the last 24 or more hours, they’ll be required to complete the Health traveler form. On the other hand, international travelers have been put on hold until they have gone through an entire Covid-19 vaccination procedure.
What You Require When Traveling With Kids
Traveling across borders can be more tedious if kids accompany you. While different airline service providers operate under different guidelines, there are three vital documents that you'll need to have if you need less cumbersome travel with your children.
- A passport - When traveling internationally, every child requires a valid passport. However, a birth certificate serves the purpose when a child is traveling by the sea or road. A passport proves the official identification and citizenship of the child. On the other hand, a passport enables you to save time crossing borders because it is the ideal travel document.
- Child travel consent - It's also known as permission of travel letter. The letter legally proves that the child is authorized to travel without the company of the guardian or parent. If the child is solely traveling abroad or accompanied by an adult but not their legal guardian, a consent letter is signed by both parents. In some cases, parents must back up their consent with supporting official documents such as the Photo ID.
The information required in a Child’s Travel Consent application form includes:
- The child’s contact information
- Both parents’ or guardian’s contact information
- The travel arrangement for the child
- Child’s destination
- Parent-child relational proof - Besides the passport and the travel consent, the authorities will always demand proof of the relationship to the child. A birth certificate, court order, or legal adoption document is required as a piece of evidence to the consent. If the parents are divorced, they should produce guardianship forms indicating both divorcees have consented to the child's traveling in the custody of a single parent. In addition, the custodian should carry a court order or any other divorce documentation as evidence. Finally, if one of the parents is deceased, the death certificate should be attached with the travel consent letter.
Battling with the global pandemic, the CDC has advised a halt to travel plans until you are fully vaccinated. However, even after vaccination, be sure to take precautionary measures. Although, for domestic travel, individuals fully vaccinated are free to travel but have to follow the face mask guidelines, sanitizing, and social distancing.
People not vaccinated should take a test three days before their journey and strictly follow CDC and department of health guidelines. Get tested three days after traveling, and proceed for a seven-day self-quarantine. International travelers also have to follow the procedure of vaccination and quarantine before leaving and after landing back.
As a parent, whether flying international or domestic, you need to be aware of the risks, particularly if you’re vaccinated. Check the intensity of the Virus in your destination area even before making the bookings. On the other hand, the CDC has underlined the zones that pose less risk.
Travel Restrictions Per State
Cases of Covid infections have started declining following the increased vaccination campaigns. However, CDC has maintained the warning against nonessential travels for persons who have not been fully vaccinated. The airline industry has also maintained strict enforcement of face masks.
If you travel to another state, you’ll need to stay updated on the latest state restrictions. Below are restrictions in some of the states.
- Alabama- The Governor of Alabama state gave an order on April 7th, 2021, that took effect on April 9 and would run until May 5. Following the order, the wearing of masks is no longer mandatory in the state. However, people are encouraged to wear them when they are close to other people. Under this order, the organizations are also to take reasonable measures to protect their employees and customers. The measures the businesses are expected to take include using face masks, disinfecting surfaces regularly, maintaining social distance, encouraging hand washing, ensuring sick employees do not come in contact with others.
- Oregon - The state of Oregon adopted the county risk levels following the public health framework to protect the residents of Oregon and curb the spread of Covid-19. The framework categorizes counties into four risk levels that range from extreme risk to lower risk, and each risk level is assigned health and safety measures. Currently, there are 14 counties at high risk, six counties at moderate risk, and 16 counties at lower risk level. The changes took effect on April 9, 2021.
- Alaska- Alaska adopted a travel advisory issued by the governor requiring all unvaccinated travelers arriving to be tested before traveling or receive a test on arrival. Safety measures are still emphasized, and group gatherings of people from different households are allowed, but they need to maintain a social distance of 6 feet from each other. However, private businesses and local authorities are free to enact stricter measures.
- Hawaii- Hawaii adopted a measure that would allow fully vaccinated visitors to bypass the testing or quarantine requirements. All visitors are required to upload their valid documents on the state’s portal Safe Travel program. Anyone arriving in Hawaii should have negative test results for covid-19 issued in the last 72 hours before they started their travel, or they can self-quarantine for ten days.
Before making travel arrangements, it’s always a good idea to know the latest corona updates about the State you wish to visit.
International Travel restrictions
When planning for international travel, just as domestic travel, ensure you've established the correct travel reports about your destination. Note that the travel restrictions across states change quickly, so you should conduct due diligence.
For instance, according to the latest advisory, a country like Libya is listed as level 4. Americantravelers are advised not to visit the country due to corona, civil unrest, terrorism, armed conflict, kidnapping, and crime. CDC has also issued a level 4 travel health notice for Libya because of the high incidence of corona cases.
Other countries that have a level 4 travel advisory notice include Sri Lanka, Belarus, Colombia, Venezuela, Armenia, Egypt, among many others.
What Are the Safe Activities For Kids During a Pandemic?
For most families across the world, traveling and recreational activities are well marked on the calendar. But since the coronavirus became a member of our streets, partaking in these activities has increasingly become hazardous. However, if you plan to take your kids out for some recreation, there are safe activities to engage them to the fullest, even during a pandemic season.
As mentioned earlier, ensure all restriction measures about your destination and travel documents are taken care of. Even though Corona has disrupted most of the activities to engage your kids, there are still some safe activities ideas that are worth exploring with your young ones.
- Set up a home away from the normal- while hotels, restaurants, and eateries have laid out strict regulations, a house near the beach will offer the comfort you desire. Before traveling, check out for tour guides offering private properties to rent. Recreational Vehicles (RVs) are the most popular choices during a vacation. These portable living quarters would serve your kids pretty well, ensuring your kids are safe from social camping.
- Watch the stars through the night- There are several places to visit for a camp under the stars tour with your children. A short drive with an RV will offer you vacation at comfort. Where communal restrooms are involved within the campsite, remember to follow the health guidelines.
- National Parks- America shares a considerable wealth of wildlife. As health restrictions are put in place, there is a limited turnout of tourists. As such, there is an excellent space for outdoor enjoyment. Enjoy great moments with your kids in the Great Smoky Mountains or the Everglades within the health guidelines.
- Visit spacious resorts- Your kids may love swimming while on vacation. Several reputable family restaurants have their gates open and give out lucrative deals. Check them out while the offer lasts.
What to Do For Emergency Situations
As research into the coronavirus intensifies, it's already in record that the Virus thrives when you contact the respiratory droplets of an asymptomatic person. For hours to days, the Virus may survive on surfaces, but the application of recommended disinfectants can wipe them out. When traveling with your children, remember to carry the following for emergency:
- Hand sanitizer
- Hand cream
- Anti-Bacterial wipes
- Face masks
- Disposable hand gloves
- Thermo gauge
- Mouth wash
- Body soap
- Warm beddings and attire
Packing the above in your travel kit is the best strategy to ensure that you and your kids are safe from the Virus and help step down its spread. On the other hand, ensure general personal hygiene. Also, keep social distance and frequently monitor your temperatures. Finally, wash your hands and keep your travel residence disinfected.
Importance of Masks
Putting on a mask, especially when near people, helps slow the Virus's rapid spread, as research indicates. Though many infected people don’t show any physical signs, they can contract it through respiratory droplets. So ensure your mask completely covers the mouth and nose.
Importance of Handwashing
Coronavirus spreads through contact. Hands facilitate the spread of the virus in case you touch contaminated surfaces and land them on your face. By washing our hands, the Virus is killed; hence its spread is halted.
Importance of Physical Distancing
It is also referred to as social distancing. Coronavirus mainly spreads among people staying close to each other. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, the respiratory droplets can infect another person or persons once they land on their mouth or nose. CDC recommends 6 feet social distance to avoid contracting the virus. Infected persons are urged to stay away from the public or family members until they recover.
Knowing Your Health Status
The Center for Disease Control issued a mandatory test directive for all air travelers on January 12, 2021, three days before departure. Also, every air traveler is mandated to present their results to the airliner as proof of a test. So, before getting to the airport, ensure you and your kids are tested.
People at the most significant risk of severe illness due to the covid-19 virus are aged people with the following health conditions:
- Chronic kidney failure
- Diabetes type 1 and 2
- HIV and generally weak immune etc.
If you have the above health conditions, it’s essential to reconsider your travel plans. But, on the other hand, as you make the final decision, ensure that you've undertaken a complete test of the said diseases before traveling.
Health is a critical matter to handle. As they say, "Better be safe than sorry." While in your travels, you may need to assist, especially during this corona period. If you identify some uncommon health conditions within yourself or someone near you or receive any life-threatening emergency, 911 is the number to dial. Dialing the number on a non-emergency issue is illegal. Ensure that before packing for travel, you have the required emergency hotline.
Other numbers that can be helpful include your insurance agent, your coworkers, nearby hospitals, tow companies, and your neighbors
What to Do Upon Returning Home
- Reflect on what happened in your tour
- Disinfect your handsets
- Carefully handle your items (handbags, bracelets, shoes, and clothes) to avoid any contamination.
- Put your dirty clothes directly into the washing machine
- Clean them with detergent
- Leave your shoes at the doorstep
- Shower immediately.
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