Life as we know it has changed drastically. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic hit us in a way that we could never have imagined, and after multiple lockdowns that cumulatively lasted almost two years, borders are finally opening up. That means those separated from their loved ones can finally reunite, and most families that had their annual trips on hold can now resume planning. But will going on a holiday with kids look differently in a time where adults have had their COVID-19 vaccine, and the children have not? Plus, there’s also the fact the Delta variant is running rampant and considered to be more transmissible.
When asked about booking domestic holidays, we asked a parent, and she explained, “We were so excited for borders to finally reopen, but our elective holiday plans are still being put on hold until cases die down a little, and hopefully, kids will be able to have the vaccine soon.” She commented that the climbing rate of kids being hospitalised due to the Delta variant makes parents more cautious than ever.
With all the extra set of worries, it raises the question of whether or not it’s safe to travel with unvaccinated kids. The answer is it boils down to personal choice and risk tolerance. What others may view as being ‘safe’, you may not. So, to ease your mind a little, before planning that overdue trip with the children, here are some things to consider:
How risky is risky?
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, statistics showed that not many young kids were affected by the virus, and it seemed as though only the vulnerable was in danger. But then emerged this Delta variant, which has proven to be very quickly and easily transmissible, and we started seeing in the news of young kids being hospitalised; even worse, deaths were reported.
That’s enough to make any parent grow anxious, because when it concerns unvaccinated kids, we have to worry about whether or not they can catch the virus and if they will transmit it to others, and to those close family members who are in the vulnerable group. So, if they don’t get seriously ill from contracting the virus, the transmission risk to others is still a valid concern and one that you should consider discussing with the family before taking it.
Where are you going?
During a lockdown, you’re limited to exposure only to/from those within the same household. When travelling, the risk of exposure grows exponentially, and you’re in direct contact with people you don’t know. With that, the possibility of coming in contact with a person with COVID-19 is much higher, and more often than not, much like you, these people have no idea they’re positive.
So, regardless of where you decide, be it domestic travel or international, take time to discuss with your family and narrow down options. Some non-negotiable factors to consider when choosing a destination is to ask if it gets crowded when you decide to have your vacation there. Most importantly, look into the community’s vaccination rate – you’ll want to choose a destination with a high rate of vaccinating its residents.
How are you going to get there?
By now, it’s a no-brainer that flying on an aeroplane poses more risk of contracting an infection than driving to a destination in a car. You’re exposed to more human beings on a flight that has ‘recycled’ air, and it’s been known that COVID-19, being the airborne virus that it is, loves to live in poorly ventilated areas, such as aeroplanes. Although, Airbus still deems it a safe mode of transport.
Of course, it’s not all sad news. You can minimise risk by ensuring your entire family mask up for the duration of the whole flight, and by now, aeroplanes should maintain a strict form of social distancing. And while outbreaks on a flight have been heard of, it’s not a common thing. But of course, if your holiday destination is accessible by car, why not keep your family safe, and cut the risk factor down by driving instead?
What will you be doing when you get there?
Wherever your destination might be, keep in mind the kind of activities the hotel or community offers. It goes without saying that during this COVID-19 pandemic we are living in, outdoor activities trumps being indoors. As mentioned earlier, the virus has been known to linger in the air for more than we’d like it to, which ultimately increases exposure.
Instead of choosing activities like the hotel’s indoor cinema, or indoor playground for the kids, make your way outside with the family. If you’ve chosen a beach holiday, most accommodations provide plenty of activities to choose from, like jet-skiing, frisbee, or building sandcastles.
So, what now?
We can’t tell you the better choice despite obvious risks because it boils down to what you feel is the right choice for your family. However, we can say this virus is here to stay, and we have to learn somehow to adjust to the new normal by living with it. Go through the pros and cons with your family members and assess the risks while taking the positive aspects of going on a family holiday. While challenging to plan, when done right, it will result in a more enjoyable holiday!