How to travel with kids in the new normal

Tuesday, 22 June 2021 12:16 PM

For many of us, the holiday season means spending quality time with family. And for families travelling with little ones during this period, navigating the new travel health and safety protocols is no easy feat. Think attempts to social distance a busy toddler while attending to their needs, trying to convince a defiant youngster to keep their mask on or preventing curious little hands from touching their faces and common surfaces (with not much success). At kulula.com, we’ve handpicked these safety tips to make travelling with kids less of a struggle so you can make the most out of your holiday.

Before the holiday

Although travelling can be an exciting prospect for many kids, learning new travel habits like mask-wearing and social distancing could be met with some initial resistance - a source of frustration for even the seasoned travel parent. Preparing your kids for a different holiday experience ahead of time helps to manage their travel expectations and get their buy-in to adopt new travel practices. Here are ways you can prep your little one for travelling in the new normal.

Tip 1: Talk to your kids

Inform them about the importance of protecting themselves and others with the necessary travel health and safety precautions. Be reassuring and keep explanations simple and age-appropriate. Get more advice on how to help your child navigate the COVID-19 pandemic by visiting sacoronavirus.co.za.

Tip 2: Make mask-wearing fun

If your child is over the age of two and doesn’t suffer from any respiratory symptoms, then wearing a mask may be mandatory in public spaces. Getting a child to wear masks (or keep them on), can be quite a tricky task. To avoid discomfort, purchase masks that are made from breathable materials and fit comfortably and securely over your child’s ears, mouth and nose. If that doesn’t do the trick, get creative by decorating masks together, look for ones with a favourite cartoon character, or place a mask on a favourite stuffed toy or doll.

En Route to your destination

When flying with your family to a holiday destination, maintaining social distancing and avoiding high-touch surfaces can become a bit of a challenge for young children, which puts them at a greater risk of exposure to germs and infectious illnesses. Luckily, there are ways to overcome these hurdles with the following travel tips:

Tip 3: Arrive at the airport early

This ensures that you have enough time to get the family through the additional health and safety procedures without missing a flight. Getting to the airport early enables you to avoid queues, get the kids settled before the trip and get some much-needed breathing space to gather yourself for the family adventure that lies ahead. Better yet, if you check the family in online, you eliminate contact with check-in agents and other passengers. And if you fly kulula, you get to check-in on the go when downloading the kulula app, saving you time in the process. Before flying, allocate enough time for kids to make use of the airport amenities such as bathrooms which helps reduce their movement onboard.

Tip 4: Choose plane seats strategically to avoid contact with passengers and crew

Selecting a window seat for your little one may be the best option at reducing contact with other passengers and cabin crew as they walk up and down the aisle. As a parent or guardian, ensure that you're always seated next to your kids so that they receive adequate attention and avoid rubbing shoulders with strangers.

Tip 5: Keep them comfortable and busy onboard

Whether they're first-time flyers or have done it a couple of times before, kids can get a little restless or irritable during a flight. If unmanaged, this could also unsettle other passengers. To solve for restlessness, ensure that your little one is comfortable on the flight and kept busy to reduce boredom. Chewing or sipping on a healthy snack and drink as the plane takes off and lands, can help alleviate discomfort arising from changes in ear pressure. Enquire with your airline about the food options available onboard, as many airlines have restricted their food services during the pandemic to meet hygiene guidelines set out by regulators and health authorities. Carry a tablet loaded with games to keep the kids busy. If you’re considering bringing some toys onboard, keep them to a minimum. Toys often get lost on the plane and may become a source of contamination when handled by cleaning staff.

Tip 6: Always carry anti-bacterial wipes and sanitisers

Kids have an innate curiosity to explore every surface and object you can imagine, often being unaware of the consequences. Exploring within reason is a natural part of childhood. So, ensure that you always carry and frequently use a hand sanitiser and alcohol-based anti-bacterial wipes. This will help keep your little one’s hands clean and disinfect the surfaces they touch to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and spread of germs.

READ MORE: How safe is the kulula travel experience

At the destination

Once you’ve reached your holiday destination safe and sound, it’s time to let your hair down but not your guard - social distancing, mask-wearing and hygiene practices. Your mini-mes may have other ideas if they get too carried away by the holiday adventures that await. To protect themselves and others from contracting an infectious illness, here are some ideas that can help them stay the course.

Tip 7: Create a daily holiday routine 

Keeping the little ones on a daily routine while on holiday helps them adjust to new environments and different experiences, by providing clear boundaries and expectations. Make health and safety protocols a ritual by incorporating them into a regular eating, activity, bathing and sleeping schedule. Be on the lookout for potential risks and danger zones that could expose your child to COVID-19. That way, you’ll be able to adjust their holiday itinerary accordingly.

Tip 8: Be on the lookout for any symptoms that could signal infectious illness

Adjusting to new environments can bring about the sniffles, fever, cough or the common cold. If your child starts to display any of these symptoms don’t panic! Have a first-aid kit on hand to treat them and monitor their condition over time. If your child's condition worsens, seek medical attention.  

Ready to navigate the new normal with kulula? View our latest travel updates to find out how we’ve adapted our travel experience to keep our mini fans safe.

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