*updated. I originally wrote this after a trip we took in December, 2020. I am updating it with new information after taking a trip to Mexico in March, 2021.
Traveling During a Pandemic
*Mama Sweatshirt– Wearing M for oversized fit
Big Sis, Little Bro sweatshirts– I ordered tts for Callen and 3T for Miller (she is 2.5)
*TESTING PRIOR TO ENTERING MEXICO IS NOT REQUIRED. TESTING IS REQUIRED WHEN YOU RE-ENTER THE US AT THE END OF YOUR TRIP.
-Three days before our trip, both in Dec and again in Mar, Troy and I both took at-home COVID19 tests. We of course wanted to protect those around us in the airport, on the plane, and in Mexico. We also wanted to make sure we didn’t have it because then we would have also tested positive in Mexico and would have had to quarantine there for 10 days. Being trapped in your room with two kids? NO THANK YOU!
We used ADL Health (not sponsored) for the at-home kits. They shipped them to us within a day, we did the test as soon as they came in and then dropped them off at UPS. The kit comes with everything you need including the kits and a pre-labeled pouch for you to place the kits back into for drop off. The lab gets the kits within 24 hours and processes the kits right away. The entire thing takes about 72 hours! They send you an email with your test results right away! The swab itself is about an inch long, so it isn’t the most comfortable thing to put in your nose. Troy and I both had to sneeze halfway through it. But, it definitely didn’t hurt!
*I do not earn any income from the sales for these at home kits nor am I privvy to any of your personal information. This testing center gave me the discount code in case I had a good experience with them and wanted to share with you*
I think many pharmacies and dr offices also offer free testing with your insurance!
Testing Upon Leaving Mexico:
Most resorts will provide free testing for you 1-3 days before your departure. Ours scheduled it for us and we had to show up in a random room for the quick test. Children 2 and up also had to get tested. We had to hold Miller down bc she wouldn’t sit still and was screaming but she was over it in 5 min. They reallllllly went up in there for the test. It was the worst one I have had by far.
*PS- This is not fool proof. There was a family in the lobby when we were checking out that never got their results back from the hotel and they missed their flight. The hotel was blaming it on the lab and it was just a huge mess. Apparently it happens often!
My parents stayed with us in the VRBO and they went into town to get their test. They found a pharmacy that did the testing right in town and it only cost them $17. They got their results back within a couple of hours.
Denver International Airport-
*The DIA airport was a little less crowded in March as opposed to holiday season, but we still did not see any social distancing/sanitization precautions.
We saw little TO NO precautions taken at DIA. Which is so surprising since the entire state was in the middle of a huge shut down (no indoor dining and no gatherings with more than your own household.) The airport on 12/23 was a madhouse. People were everywhere and there was NO social distancing. We flew southwest and people were back to back in line waiting to check their luggage and none of the computer terminals were being wiped down after use. It was just insane.
Then you walked to TSA and they did actually have stickers on the floor where people should stand but no one was adhering to it (we were one of the few!) TSA runs through the same processes as always, so they have not changed anything there to help with the spread of the virus. I feel like they could have at least let us keep our baby and toddler in their strollers, but nope. None of the trays were being wiped down or anything. Just business as usual.
After TSA you are herded like cattle into the amtrak to get to the gate. Unfortunately you cannot get to a gate at DIA without getting in the shuttle. It was completely packed each time and NO ONE was able to social distance while inside. If we would have waited for the next shuttle, that one would have been just as packed as well.
Troy and I wore our masks the entire time and did our best to sanitize, keep everyone at a safe distance, etc, but it was still very unsettling.
Cozumel Airport- It felt very safe and clean at the Cozumel airport. There was hand sanitizer everywhere and I felt as though everyone was keeping their distance. It is very small so you don’t have to walk far to get to the gate. On the way home I will say it felt great knowing everyone on the plane and in the Cozumel airport had also received negative Covid results.
So it will basically depend on the airport you are flying out of. If you are leaving from a smaller airport where you can walk to each gate without having to get on a shuttle you will definitely have an easier time social distancing. It will also depend on the day you fly out. If you are flying out on a weekend or holiday, there will obviously be many more people at the airport. Try to book something during the week, and not on a holiday weekend if you can!
*MAR flight update: We flew Frontier for our Mexico flight. Everything seemed very clean. All seats were full again. Miller was never asked to put on her mask. Frontier did not do snack or beverage service either, but you could purchase a water bottle if needed. For this flight Callen did not have his own seat. We had his dock a tot and a noise machine and did our best to rock him and keep him happy during the flight. Miller kept busy on her iPad the entire time. She had movies and games on there and also enjoyed the different snacks we brought for her. Snacking is actually like busy work for a toddler. It can keep them entertained for hours haha.
DEC flight: Southwest used to have middle seats open, but I am pretty sure that is because they weren’t booking very many tickets. Once the holidays came around and they realized they could sell out all of their flights they eliminated the ‘no one in the middle seat’ rule. All three of our Southwest flights were completely packed. I think Delta is the only airline currently offering open middle seats *until Mar 30, 2021.
We kept Callen in his Doona carseat in the window seat (I highly suggest investing in a carseat cover if you don’t already have one), I was in the middle seat, Miller was in the aisle, and Troy was across from us. We wiped everything down before we sat (wipe down the tray and handle REALLLLY well since your toddler will naturally be all over it!) I also recommend grabbing the bags and reading material from the back of the seat and keeping it somewhere out of your child’s reach. Those probably haven’t been wiped down very well.
You can take your mask off while snacking or drinking. They pass water around all at the same time on the plane which basically means everyone’s mask will be down at the same time. I recommend waiting 15 min or so AFTER you get your water to pull down your mask to drink it. This allows everyone else to finish with their water and pull their mask back up before you are pulling yours down. Same goes for snacking. Unfortunately a person in your row or right in front of you could be snacking the entire plane ride. It is just another risk you take while flying.
They never once asked how old Miller was or asked her to put her mask on. I have heard both Southwest and Delta are pretty lax about it with toddlers. You just never know if you will be on a flight where the captain will be strict about enforcing it. You know before you go that the rule for most airplanes is that *children 2 and older must wear a mask at all times. We practiced mask-wearing with Miller for a month leading up to the flight just in case.
If you have questions about how to keep a 1 year old busy on a plane, refer to THIS POST. Be on the lookout for a new post soon about tips for keeping a 2 year old occupied.
Different Countries/States, Different Rules
Every state and country will have different COVID rules. Mexico is VERY STRICT about COVID precautions. I felt safer there than I do in the Target near my house. They cannot afford to have a large outbreak because 1. they rely on tourism and are already severely impacted from the cruise industry and 2. they do not have the hospital infrastructure to handle an outbreak. For these reasons all locals wear masks everywhere (inside, outside, everywhere!) They take your temperature before walking into any facility (restaurant, shop, hotel, etc) and they make you use hand sanitizer before entering. I loved it!
COVID rules are something to research and consider as well before traveling. You always want to be respectful of the laws when you visit another country. Research the mask-wearing, occupancy, and gathering rules for the place you are wanting to visit BEFORE you book. Make sure you are completely comfortable with what they are enforcing/not enforcing before you go.
*If you don’t want to wear your mask anymore- Mexico is not for you. Just something to think abo
Like I said previously, luckily the freedom of travel is still available to us. Just please be smart and vigilant while traveling. Remember to not only protect yourself, but also others around you! It is important that we all continue to wear our masks, wash our hands often, and practice social distancing while at the airport and on the plane so that this freedom is not taken from us.
If you have any other questions about traveling during a pandemic, please ask them below.
*I realize some people are upset that we decided to travel. I respect your opinion and definitely see where you are coming from as well. We did everything we could to protect our families and everyone that we would be in contact with. This is a highly sensitive subject, I know. This post is to just inform people what they may experience while traveling so that they can make an educated decision before deciding to fly.