Airlines Dropping Mask Mandates: 8 Things Parents Need to Know When Traveling With Kids by Eileen Ogintz
With airlines dropping mask mandates – many strangely in mid-air – some families with young children who are not able to get vaccinated yet are feeling a new round of anxiety. Here are a few tips for families trying to navigate these tricky travel scenarios:
- I've always said bring a medical kit with you, ever since my 3-year-old daughter fell into "a very mean" cactus at Joshua Tree and we had to borrow a pair of tweezers from another family while she cried hysterically. Consider bringing a pack of face masks with your medical kit.
- If you have young kids under the vaccination age or are going to see a compromised relative, the whole family should mask while traveling. N-95s or KN-95s are best at this point. While the parents may be vaccinated and at less risk, the same principle of the whole family wearing helmets while bike riding or skiing applies – the kids need to see the example.
- Bring extra masks in case you find yourself in a situation where a seat neighbor is coughing often.
- Pack at-home COVID-19 tests if you can.
- Since Earth Day is coming up, remember to bring your own reusable water bottles to cut down on plastic waste and airport costs. Just remember to empty your water bottles before the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security takes them.
- Have patience. Airlines have been struggling with staffing all year, and they will continue to struggle, likely more as more employees become sick now and they have to rotate crews and pilots. This will lead to delays and aggravation. Patience is a virtue.
- Consider travel insurance. Make sure to get travel insurance in case of any hiccups, whether with COVID or airline delays.
- To avoid delays, try to book the earlier flight you can. Delays tend to build later in the day.
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