The Covid-19 pandemic has brought increased risks to traveling. Most people are limiting their travels this summer and many are deciding to drive rather than fly. However, if your family has decided to fly this summer, here are some things you should consider bringing when flying during the pandemic.
Almost every airline is requiring passengers to wear masks while onboard their aircraft to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, as per CDC guidelines. Studies have shown that wearing a mask in public is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others from the virus, so you should wear a mask not only during your flight, but also when going through the airport or when in public areas during your travels.
Food for Thought
- The mask rule does not apply to all travelers. Most airlines exempt children under two, people with breathing problems or people with disabilities that impede them from taking their masks off independently.
- Some parents have found it difficult to get their kids to wear masks in public. Parents have found speaking openly to their kids, using stuffed animals to practice mask-wearing, allowing kids to wear masks with fun designs or using buttons with a mask helpful in this pursuit. For more tips and tricks, click here or here.
- Airlines will provide passengers with disposable masks if needed. However, please consider wearing your own reusable cloth face mask to reduce mask waste. Also, if you are flying within the United States, please remember the country is facing critical shortages of P.P.E. again (including face masks), and many destinations have mask requirements when in public.
When traveling through an airport and flying on a plane, you and your kids are bound to touch various public surfaces. However, you will not have easy hand-washing access while on the go. Hand sanitizers are a great way to help keep your family’s hands clean. Just remember when packing your hand sanitizer to put it in an easily accessible place.
Food for Thought
- The CDC recommends using hand sanitizer with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol alcohol to effectively kill coronaviruses.
- TSA has recently amended the standard liquid allowances to now allow passengers to bring one liquid hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces per passenger in their carry-on bags. However, please note that this requires additional screening, which will add some time to the traditional screening process.
For people especially worried about touching public surfaces, gloves are a great way to keep your hands clean! Just remember to take off your gloves and flip them inside-out if you need to touch your face, food, or any other clean surfaces.
Food for Thought
- When deciding whether to use cloth or disposable gloves, please consider the following:
- While practicing proper hygiene with disposable gloves is important, constantly disposing of gloves generates lots of waste and is energy-intensive.
- If you are in the US, please also consider the country is facing growing PPE shortages impacting front-line medical workers across the country
- If you do decide to wear disposable gloves, remember to throw them out after use. Also, be sure to pack enough gloves to last you and your family the entire trip.
- If you decide to wear cloth gloves, remember that you should wash them between uses.
Disinfecting Wipes are another great way to protect yourself by cleaning various public surfaces like plane seats, tray tables, changing stations, and public transportation when traveling. TSA allows passengers to bring jumbo containers of hand wipes, individually packaged alcohol wipes, or antibacterial wipes in carry-on or checked baggage.
Food for Thought
- Disinfecting Wipes can be used for more than simply cleaning public surfaces! Consider using them to help clean credit cards, phones, or any other personal belongings that are touched by others.
Ziploc bags are always helpful when traveling with your family! From keeping other items in your bag clean and dry to containing extra snacks, Ziploc bags have a variety of uses and take up little space in your carry-on. However, Ziploc bags are even more helpful during this pandemic! Since you want to minimize contact with public surfaces, consider putting some of your smaller belongings inside Ziploc plastic bags. For example, putting our phone inside a Ziploc bag is a great way to keep your phone virus-free even when using it in public!
Tissues have a multitude of uses! If you have allergies or the sniffles, tissues can be super effective in practicing good respiratory and helping trap coughs or sneezes that could theoretically further spread the virus. You can also use tissues as an extra barrier when touching public surfaces. For example, if you want to use a door handle or touch a button but need to keep your hands clean, use a tissue!
Whether it’s filling out a last-minute travel form or signing a receipt, everyday life requires us to have a pen on hand. This is especially true when traveling. Right now, you don’t want to be borrowing a heavily-used pen. Make sure to save yourself the exposure and bring your own!
Travel Mugs and Snacks
In efforts to decrease exposure to the virus, airlines have greatly scaled back their food and beverage services. However, that doesn’t mean that you or your kids won’t get hungry or thirsty during your travels. For this reason, you might want to consider bringing your family’s favorite snacks from home!
Food For Thought
- Remember that TSA limits liquids to 3.4 fl ounces. If you plan on bringing drinks from home with your carry-on, make sure they are within the limit. However, you are allowed to bring empty water bottles through security that can be filled past the checkpoint or used during your vacation.
- Please note that food is subject to additional screening by TSA, so the security process might take more time.
Tablet, Headphones, and Device Stand
Tablets with headphones are awesome personal sources of entertainment for the little ones. While most planes have built-in TVs and various entertainment systems, tablets are better during this pandemic because they prevent kids from touching these public surfaces often. That said, you’ll want to make sure your kids aren’t leaning on the armrest or tray table to hold up the tablet, so consider using a device stand for hands-free watching.
Pillows and Blankets
Thanks to coronavirus and earlier budget cuts, many airlines are no longer offering complimentary pillows and blankets onboard. However, these commodities are more important during the pandemic; you don’t want to be sleeping with your head in your hand or leaning up against the window to decrease your exposure. For this reason, make sure to pack your family’s favorite travel pillows and blankets, especially for longer flights.
Seat Covers are a great way to ensure that you have an extra barrier between yourself and your plane seat. If you are traveling with young kids, a car seat is another great way to prevent your kids from touching their plane seats with some additional safety. While airlines have increased their sanitation measures during the pandemic, you can never be too careful!
Last but not least, touch-free door openers are a great way to open doors without having to touch door handles. There are many different types and designs, but the basic L-shape design provides a cheap, easy, and light product that’s perfect to pack in your carry-on.
Additional Options For Flying During the Pandemic
Right now, many airlines have revised their policies so that flight attendants cannot help passengers with luggage. As a parent, you are already juggling your kids’ luggage in addition to your own as you chase them through the airport and wrangle them into their plane seats. The last thing you want is to do is deal with more heavy luggage than necessary. If this rings true to you, consider looking into Bebe Voyage brand partner Dominique Olowolafe’s new startup Lightly which launches at the end of July. Lightly helps families pack less by delivering curated care packages filled with premium brands and baby products to their destinations. For more information, click here.
Does airline travel normally tire you out? With these new regulations that decrease passenger assistance, air travel will undoubtedly require more energy. Make sure you are able to recharge from your travels while on vacation with the SlumberPod. The SlumberPod is a portable, privacy sleep pod, perfect to use with a travel crib to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep even when sharing a room with your little one. The SlumberPod comes with a designed “suitcase” box and fabric carry bag that allows for easy travel. For more information, click here.
Research Your Destination
As you know, travel restrictions and regulations vary widely depending on the country, state, county, and city. Before you leave, make sure to check whether or not you may travel to your destination and if you are required to quarantine upon arrival. You may also want to research which businesses are open and the mask requirements of your destination to pack accordingly. For more information on reopening policies in the 50 States, click here.
Airline Policies and Safety
While all airlines have altered their policies to protect passengers from the virus, each airline has slightly different policies. Before you book your ticket and leave for the airport, you may want to compare these airlines’ policies so you can book and act accordingly. If you are concerned about the safety of flying during the pandemic, click here to access a pilot’s perspective.
Have you flown during the pandemic? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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