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How parents are approaching Spring Break ideas during Covid

“This is our new normal, and we want our family to enjoy the new normal while being as safe as possible.”

How are you and your family handling Spring Break 2022? As we begin the third year of the coronavirus pandemic, many parents are trying to make decisions that rely on a multitude of factors — vaccinations, boosters, masks, variants, case counts, and the relative risks of different types of travel.

In some cases, families that are fully vaxxed and boosted are continuing with their original spring break activities. In other cases, families are canceling flights or looking for low-risk alternatives in wide-open outdoor spaces. Parents who have high-risk loved ones in their families, including children who are still too young to be vaccinated, may have additional factors to consider before making their decisions.

We talked to three moms who are each handling Spring Break ideas during Covid in slightly different ways. One mom is sticking to the plans she made last year, another mom is canceling her travel plans and keeping the family at home, and the third mom is planning a low-contact beach vacation.

Although each of these parents has gone through a slightly different decision process, they’re all working towards the same result. “This is our new normal, and we want our family to enjoy the new normal while being as safe as possible,” explains Annette Harris, founder of Harris Financial Coaching and one of the three mothers we interviewed.

We’re pretty sure most parents feel the same way — so here’s how these three moms are getting it done.

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Some parents are changing their travel plans

If you are reconsidering your Spring Break 2022 plans, you’re not alone — and if you’ve already canceled your plans, you’re in good company.

“Last year, we found and booked amazingly cheap flights from DC to Zurich, Switzerland,” Tykesha Burton, family travel blogger at MommaWanderlust, told us. “It had been nearly two years since our last international family trip to Australia, and we were eager to travel again.”

Burton and her husband planned their trip in early 2021, when it looked like the initial vaccine doses were going to lower the overall coronavirus risk. “At the time that we booked our flights we were very optimistic. COVID numbers were going down and our local governments were starting to relax restrictions.”

However, their optimism quickly waned — as did their enthusiasm about traveling during a pandemic. “My husband and I began talking about possibly canceling the trip when we first started to hear about the Delta variant. I was hesitant because we didn’t get insurance on our flights and ran the risk of losing all our money.” Luckily, the airline issued an itinerary change that made it possible for them to both cancel the trip and get their money back. “We decided to cancel our flights after receiving an email from the airline changing our itinerary. We were eligible for a full refund, which made the decision to cancel easier.”

Canceling the flights was relatively easy — but Burton and her husband still had to tell their children, aged 7 and 4, that they were no longer going to Switzerland. “We simply told them that we had to change our travel plans due to the pandemic. They took it in stride and asked if we could go to Madagascar after COVID. We told them that we would do our best to make that happen one day.”

What is the family doing instead? “Our youngest won’t be eligible for the vaccine until June, so we’re planning to spend our family spring break close to home,” Burton told us. “We’re setting our sights on summer travel, planning a long family road trip to see a few national parks in Utah.”

“This is our new normal, and we want our family to enjoy the new normal while being as safe as possible.”

—Annette Harris, founder of Harris Financial Consulting

Outdoor vacations are still popular

Airplanes and amusement parks may be off the table for many families — but a road trip to a national park, campground or beach might be a good alternative option.

Crystal King, founder of Amazing Baby, has been taking her family on beach vacations since Christmas 2020 — and that’s where she’s planning to take her two children for Spring Break 2022. “We live an hour from the nearest beach. To feel like we are truly on vacation, we meet up with extended family and drive to a beach house we rented for the week. We walk to the beach in the mornings and evenings and spend the afternoons in the pool. The kids get to build sandcastles, be buried in the sand, search for shells and spot dolphins, just like they’re used to.”

King’s children are still too young to be vaccinated, which means that coronavirus prevention is at the forefront of King’s mind — not only for her children, but also for herself. “I’m a single mom by choice, so I’ve been quite diligent about avoiding situations where I might get ill.” Beach vacations have been one of the best places to give her children important childhood experiences while practicing as many COVID mitigation strategies as possible. “We leverage grocery pickup to reduce contact with others, which is a service we used prior to the pandemic,” King explains. “All in all, we get the flavor of the family vacation without compromising safety.”

Fully vaccinated families have more options

If everyone in your family is up-to-date on their shots, you might be willing to consider a more traditional spring break destination — with the appropriate public health protocols in place, of course.

“Spring break for my family will be spent in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,” says Harris. “My family has had plans to attend an event in South Carolina for months and decided to continue with our spring break travel.”

Harris made the decision to stick with her original spring getaway because everyone in her household, including her 16-year-old daughter, is vaccinated and boosted. “We are more comfortable traveling because we are all vaccinated and have received our boosters. Fortunately, we are one of the few families that have not had COVID, and we also continue to wear our masks daily.”

The mask-and-vaxx combination may be enough for some families; others may consider the prospect of contracting COVID still too risky, especially if there is the possibility that you could spread the disease to people who are immunocompromised or at greater risk for COVID-related complications. While Omicron is mild for many, it still has the potential to cause serious illness — so it is important for all spring breakers to keep this in mind as they start planning their spring break travel.

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About Nicole Dieker

Nicole Dieker has been a full-time freelance writer since 2012, with a focus on personal finance and habit formation. In addition to Haven Life, her work regularly appears at Lifehacker, Bankrate, CreditCards.com, and Vox. Dieker spent five years as a writer and editor for The Billfold, a personal finance blog where people had honest conversations about money, and is the author of Frugal and the Beast: And Other Financial Fairy Tales.

Read more by Nicole Dieker

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Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

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