As a family of seasoned travellers, taking regular trips abroad to see relatives in France and Qatar -and even a six week summer sabbatical to Chicago with a toddler and baby in tow – it was strange and sad for us to be unable to travel abroad during the five months of lockdown.
So, as soon as the restrictions were lifted and we were able to fly abroad again, we immediately booked a week’s holiday at the start of August to the South of France to see my husband’s family.
Having packed our bags to cover a longer stay in case of quarantine, we set off for the airport, our only worry being the length of time it would potentially take to get through security with the extra checks, children, pram and baby food…..
However, we needn’t have worried as we flew through security and even had an hour to enjoy some duty-free shopping. The flight was full but felt perfectly safe and we had a very enjoyable experience overall including a very organised dis-embarkment managed row by row.
Of course, travelling abroad has changed since Covid-19 and I’m sure there will be many experienced travellers cautious about what awaits, so here are some tips for travellers looking to head overseas with children and what they can expect during the journey through the airport and on the flight:
- Remember to take back-up masks in your bag – from the taxi journey, throughout the airport and during the flight you’ll need to wear a mask at all times. Masks are considered to be effective for up to four hours so bring extras and make sure it’s comfortable….
- Take antibacterial wipes for cleaning luggage trolleys and areas such as tables and arm rests on the plane, the aircraft are thoroughly cleaned in-between flights, but it may just ease your mind
- The majority of shops, restaurants and food outlets are open in airports so it’s very easy to pick up necessary refreshments for the journey if needed.
- Many airlines have introduced new food measures to reduce physical contact with crew, with British Airways for example providing complimentary snacks and water to all passengers but no children’s meals, so plan ahead and take your own food if needed
- Wearing masks in hot weather can become uncomfortable so take a handheld fan to keep cool when out shopping or visiting attractions
- Every country has their own Track and Trace system in place, however when returning to the UK you will need to complete the Passenger Locator Form online at gov.uk/uk-border-control for every passenger travelling in your group (including children). This must be completed and approved prior to border control so once you are checked in and have your seat number, I suggest filling this out.
Overall, we had a very enjoyable and relaxed travelling experience and would head abroad again when possible. The children loved every minute of it and the happiness on their faces seeing family and being in new surroundings reminded me of the huge benefits travelling brings to us all.