Never did I think that we would be in the middle of a pandemic like this. It has definitely changed things as far as how we live our lives on a daily basis and what we do as families together. It’s difficult when you are trying to find fun things for your young children to do and be able to keep them safe at the same time. I have heard from many parents that they wish they could take their kids on vacation, but either don’t know where to plan a trip because of COVID or aren’t sure how to do it without taking a lot of risks.
After planning a vacation with our children the last two summers during a pandemic, I have learned a lot about where we can travel, which cities are the best, and the amount of activities that we can organize for them. My husband and I are vaccinated and wear our masks when in public places, but our kids are too young to receive the vaccine, let alone wear a mask. However, we still want to make memories as a family and we want to introduce our kids to new experiences. With some careful planning and helpful tips, you will be able to find a fun location for your next trip, even during a pandemic!
Do Your Research
The first thing to do first is to research some locations that you have in mind. Look at cities that you have been to before and to in the past or maybe a location where you have family. Finding a city where you can drive to is important because that will keep your kids off of a plane. Once you have a confirmed location for your trip, then you can start looking at houses to rent from websites such as VRBO or AirBnB. It’s always a good idea to find a location ahead of time, at least six months in advance. This way, there are lots of places to choose from and you have plenty of time to make an informed decision. Since we want to keep our children as safe as we can, we have looked for places where there are a lot of outdoor activities. It goes without saying that the beach is always a good idea for vacation. However, that may not be feasible for everyone. But my advice, especially if you have little kids, is to find a rental as close to the beach as you can find. I say this because last year, we had to drive to the beach from our rental and that was difficult. We had to pack everything in our car and at one point, a heavy storm came out of nowhere on the beach, and we had a hard time getting back safely. For our vacation this year, we found a house that was only a five minute walk from the beach. We purchased a beach wagon and were able to haul all of our stuff and carry one of our kids in it too. Being close to the beach was great for many reasons, such as being able to walk back quickly for lunch or naps or running back to grab something we forgot.
Plan Out Your Drive
Before we started each of our trips, we looked at the route on Google maps. We figured out what time we wanted to arrive and then when we needed to leave. Then we looked at where the rest stops were along the way so we could find a time during the drive for our kids to get out and run around, for all of us to eat lunch, and to take a small walk. About 20 miles before each rest stop break, we would start looking for restaurants for us to grab some food for lunch at the rest stop. This helped keep us organized and we were able to give our kids a break from being in the car.
Pack Activities and Snacks
Because we have toddlers, we have to pack a lot of activities and things for them to watch and do. They are picky and you have to keep them constantly entertained. Sometimes that’s hard to do, especially on a long car ride. I like to keep containers of coloring books, crayons, books, and other items handy in the middle seat for them to grab easily. We also have a DVD player to keep them entertained, so we pack lots of movies for them to watch. We have tablets for them as well if they want to watch their favorite show on Netflix. We also make sure to pack puzzles and other fun activities, because it will end up raining while you’re on vacation, and they will get bored watching TV at some point.
Restaurants and Delivery Options
We got groceries so we could feed our kids at home for meals and fix food for us, but we also wanted to find some other options. We looked into food delivery such as Door Dash and Uber Eats. There were a lot of places that would deliver to our rental, so we were able to limit our contact by ordering food but also supporting the local economy at the same time. There were a few times where I picked up food, but I wore a mask when entering a restaurant or did curbside.
Have Fun Making Memories!
Even though we are still dealing with a pandemic, your kids will feel the stress of the current situation only if you outwardly show it. So make sure you are having as much fun as you can! While in Charleston, we took our kids to the USS Yorktown. They were able to see airplanes and look at different exhibits. We did wear masks part of the time at this location, but most of the ship is outdoors. We want our kids to have as many fun experiences while they are young. Between this historic location, swimming at the pool, and playing at the beach, our children enjoyed our family trip. When we plan another trip to this area, we’d like to take them to Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie so our kids can learn about our country’s history.
I think a vacation is truly what you make of it, and your kids will remember all the fun they had and the memories hat came with it. Our children aren’t going to remember that we kept them from going to indoor locations or that we had to plan a vacation around a pandemic. They will remember that we played with them at the beach making sand castles, splashing in the waves, and looking at old airplanes.
What tips and tricks have helped you during your family vacations, especially during COVID? Please comment below so I can write them down for our next trip!