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March 04, 2021 Thursday 11:15:16 AM IST

Travel Local, Play Safe!

Parent Interventions

Our most beautiful childhood memories are often the adventurous things we did during our vacations. Science also says that vacation trips bring us closer to our kids and taking your kids on vacation makes them smarter. A national study conducted by Clemson University using U.S. Department of Education data found that children who travel during summer break did better in reading, math, and general knowledge than their peers who didn’t travel.The study indicates that what is learned during experiences can be applied to future experiences and built upon. Vacations provide kids with all kinds of enriching experiences that will be beneficial for them in the long-run.

Unfortunately, following the outbreak of Coronavirus last year, it has been difficult for all of us including children to balance staying home and the urge to go out. This is the second consecutive year, our children are denied a typical pre-Covid summer holiday.

Pallikkutam has compiled some expert advice for our readers to make it easier for them to take a safe yet fun vacation during pandemic times.

Go Local

Sunila Athley, Principal, Amity International School, Ghaziabad: Exam time is over, the summer break is around the corner. We all want to be rejuvenated and refreshed for the rigors of the next year.  But the pandemic is still here and will be there for many months to come.  2020 has been an unforgettable year, it has brought in a new normal, and thus ‘vacation time’ will also have to be thought of in this context.  Glued to the gadgets and gizmos, families have faced emotional fatigue and thus the need for vacation and recreation is felt all the more. Why not take a road trip instead of flying out to destinations, domestic and international?

In the comfort and safety of your vehicle, you can customize your road trip, stop at places as per your convenience and make your itinerary.  This will save you from long queues, big budgets, crowded resorts and hotels, and the fear of catching the virus. One can book a socially distant hotel stay which is particular about contact-free transactions, virtual check-in, and check-out, limited dining, digital keys, etc. Another option could be camping and hiking with family and friends.  Let the children be closer to nature and explore the beauty of the flora and fauna around them. Gazing at stars in the crystal blue sky at night or fishing in the clear waters or even picking flowers or pine cones on the mountain slopes can be embedded in their tender memory for a lifetime.

The Prime Minister’s call - Let’s be vocal for local, can be applied to vacation ideas as well. Children can travel locally, closer to home, nearby heritage sites, offbeat resorts, rather than far from destinations.  All these measures are feasible and enjoyable yet at the same time safer-seaming ways to travel ensuring limited exposure and discomfort. Of course, there is no place safer than the home, but with the few tweaks and the Covid precautions, we can bring back our lives to normalcy.”

Dr. Anju Tresa Andrews, Consultant Psychologist and Life Coach at Mastering Mind : A socially distant road trip will be the safest option during the pandemic. It will limit the chances to get infected, compared to trains, buses, and airplanes. If you choose to stay at home, make family times enjoyable with different games, movie times, and fun activities together. Make your kids participate in daily chores to improve their skills. Offer some rewards for the same. Parents can cultivate different hobbies in children, like reading and gardening.

Play and Creativity

Dr. Shyam Kumar, Counselling Psychologist, and Psychotherapist, Bahrain: It’s always a thrilling experience for children to have a vacation. Because they plan a lot of outdoor activities, picnics, sightseeing, etc. However, like 2020 summer, the situation is different this year also. Still, everyone can enjoy their vacation. As said by popular psychiatrist Eric Berne, “you are deciding your destiny. But you can re-decide it with your attitude.”

You can do many things even sitting at home. You can learn new things which will help your future success and self-development. You can read lots of storybooks, poems, novels, or something you like. I would suggest not to spend too much time before the screen. You can involve in various creative arts – drawing, writing, music, embroidery works, etc. Don’t forget to find time for your regular mental and physical exercises such as yoga, Tai Chi, and meditation. Moreover, maintain a proper sleep pattern.

Also, parents should be patient and maintain regular healthy interaction with their children. Make this vacation an opportunity to learn and grow in a variety of ways.

Travel and Tourism

Sejoe Jose, Managing Director, Marvel Tours Pvt Ltd and President of Indian Association of Tour Operators Kerala Chapter: Tourism has never increased the spread of Coronavirus. People who travel take all the precautionary measures. All resorts and hotels are extra careful in maintaining safety measures at their premises. I would say, they are more vigilant than customers, as one infected person is enough to shut the entire operation.

What Covid-19 has done to us is that we realised vacations are a must. People started to travel more once the restrictions have been lifted. Local tourism grew considerably all over India. For example, Keralites those who were keen to visit other states in India began to explore Kerala. I have never seen such a huge movement in Kerala’s tourism destinations. Now, nothing can stop us from travelling. That’s the positive thing Coronavirus has done to us.

Jayakrishna Bhaskaran, Manager – India for Key Accounts and OTAs for Oman Air: Like all other airlines, Oman Air has introduced mandatory protective measures at the airport and onboard flights during COVID-19 to maximise customer safety during the coronavirus pandemic. From check-in to boarding our aircraft and throughout our flights, we have implemented all preventative procedures to protect our guests and crew. In addition to this, we are offering health insurance including coverage for Covid-19 are offered for our passengers to Oman, which is valid for one month from the date of scheduled arrival in Oman.

Passengers are required to wear masks on all Oman Air flights. Proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the scheduled travel time is mandatory.Passengers’ temperatures will be taken at the airport and on the flight. The thermal screening will be conducted and measures will be taken to ensure social distancing. To reduce inter-personal contact, online check-in, fast bag-drop, and electronic boarding passes are available for passengers’ use.”

Risk Free Holidays

UNICEF offers a list of things we should take into consideration when we are planning and during your holiday.

1. Before making any plans, always check the pandemic situation at your place of destination. If you are thinking of a holiday abroad, check if entry in the respective country or the transit countries is permitted without being placed in quarantine or if you should get tested beforehand.

2. Before making a reservation, check if the hotel or boarding house where you want to stay has taken all the preventive measures necessary to make you feel safe.

3. Avoid crowded places and reduce to a minimum the contact in shared areas. A solution to avoid closed accommodation spaces is camp sites. Being near other tourists is less risky if it is done outside, but here there is also a problem, the shared toilet facilities on the campsites.

4. Even if the place you stay at is clean and the hygiene rules seem to be applied, use disinfectants for surfaces to clean the most frequently used objects and areas, when you first enter the hotel room. The same applies in case you rent a car.

5. Carefully keep an eye on the children. When they are playing, the young ones touch many surfaces which could be contaminated, especially in airports, shared means of transportation from urban areas, and playgrounds. When you are in these places, always keep at hand a disinfecting gel and wash your hands, both you and your children, as many times as necessary.

6. If you are in a medical risk situation or another member of your family is in such a situation, reconsider your departure. Also, don’t go on holiday if you are not feeling well or if you have been in close contact with an infected person.

7. Take into account the eventuality that one or more members of the family or of the group you are going with is getting infected during the holiday, in which case the situation will change drastically. The more strictly you follow the social distancing and hygiene rules, the more you reduce the probability of such a scenario occurring. But this does not mean that you are completely free of risks, just that they can be significantly reduced.

8. It is more useful than ever to get private travel insurance before going abroad. This can help you avoid crowded health facilities, in case of health problems for which you need medical assistance.

9. Because the situation can drastically change from one day to the next, take with you enough supplies: disinfectants, masks, basic medicine. This way you will also reduce the social contact necessary when going shopping.

10. Be prepared for any change of situation, and even if a quarantine period won’t be mandatory, you should take into account a self-isolation period when returning from your holiday, to protect your loved ones that remained at home.


1.Start learning a new skill like painting, dance, music, embroidery or public speaking

2. Eat good food, drink plenty of water and have enough sleep

3.Keep a watch on screen time

4. Choose socially distant road trips

5.Explore local destinations

6.Involve children in family chores to attain life skills

7. Airlines offer health insurance including coverage for Covid-19 for its passengers with one month validity

Dhanya AK

Dhanya AK is a journalist with over a decade of experience in print, broadcast and online media. She holds a PG Diploma in PR and Advertising from Kerala Media Academy.   Read more articles..