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Can Mom Jump Back Into Travel?



"My 74-year-old mother got her second dose of the COVID vaccine two weeks ago, and now she’s planning to buy airline flights. I don’t think she even cares about the destination, but is trying to make up for lost time. I definitely understand where she’s coming from. I want to start travelling again, too.

The thing is, she isn’t even grocery shopping or leaving her house now, nor has she for a year. I don’t see her getting straight on a plane. She is likely to freak out at the airport and return home.

Do you think it’s okay for mom to pack her bags and go at this time? She is vaccinated, and the prices are good. How safe is it for her to take a vacation? Should she leave the country if she goes?

We wish she would slow it down a bit and wait for the dust to settle before she gets out there."



Oh, to travel again! I think there is quite a desire for people to travel right now. I have read that the over 65 population is starting to feel safe enough to consider trips again, as a decent percentage of those over 65 are now vaccinated. I completely understand and feel the same way.

The question here is how safe is your mother at this point? Can she safely travel? Should she plan a trip? 

It’s a little bit like waking up after a long winter nap, like hibernation. You step out a bit, though cautiously at first. You test the local environment. You look for food and sniff around. Visualize a bear leaving the cave. I believe we’re all going to cautiously move forward, holding onto masks and hand sanitizer for the foreseeable future.

Mom should start locally. She needs to first do her grocery shopping in a store to see how comfortable she feels. I assure you she is going to be hesitant to move around as freely as in the past, since she has not been out and about for a year. Strangers at the store might make her a bit uncomfortable after all this time.

For the time being, your mother should also wear a mask, continue to keep her distance from others, and practice good hand washing. I understand that she is immunized, but she is not 100% protected, and with good practices she can feel quite secure.

Next, she should eat in a few restaurants while observing how safely they are set up to protect their customers. What level of protection feels secure? Are waiters and waitresses keeping a reasonable distance? When traveling, every meal is usually at a restaurant. She will need a plan for how she safely dines and how she chooses where to eat.

Before she decides to leave the local area, she needs to check the COVID incidence in the area she is planning to travel to. She also needs to know what is required. Some areas require a negative COVID test to depart. Also, she needs to be prepared for the unexpected. What if she is forced to stay? Is she willing to incur the extra expense? What is her plan if she becomes ill while traveling? 

I am right with her when it comes to looking at trips and planning. Just make sure that she has thought through all of the “what ifs” at a time like this. COVID is no joke for someone her age. Remember the hibernating bear comparison. Think local to start.

There are many journeys to come for you and your mother. Much of the fun is anticipation and planning. Maybe it’s time for her to venture out a bit.