Thank you Trending Travel.

With airlines dropping mask mandates last night – 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. 

Eileen Ogintz, longtime family travel expert and author of the nationally syndicated column Taking the Kids, has a few tips for families trying to navigate these tricky travel scenarios:

1. 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 masks with your medical kit. 

2. 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. 

3. Bring extra masks, in case you find yourself in a situation where a seat neighbor is coughing often.

4. Pack in at home tests if you can. 

5. 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 TSA, because they will take your water bottle – don’t ask me why a water bottle is more 

dangerous than a virus that has killed 1 million Americans, but I’m no expert…

6. Patience – airlines have been struggling with staffing all year, 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.

7. Travel insurance – make sure to get travel insurance in case of any hick ups whether with covid or airline delays.

8. To avoid delays, try to book the earlier flight you can – delays tend to build later in the day. 

Eileen is a veteran travel expert, with over 33 years’ experience writing her column and advising major travel players on the best way to deal with family travel.