Hi, I’m Dr. Jenny Yu, Healthline’s Medical Expert and Lonely Planet Travel Health Expert. Welcome to my column, where each week I’ll share stories and insights, experiences and opportunities, and perspectives on how you can take the "well" traveled path in your journeys. 

I vividly recall one of my first big trips as a child: my parents took me on a multi-city tour around China that included numerous small towns along the Yangtze River. It was such a learning experience to see parts of the world that were so vastly different from where I grew up in the US. 

Travel creates a classroom without walls. Whether it’s marveling at the chateaus of the Loire Valley in France or climbing the Mayan ruins in Guatemala, travel enables us to experience the history, culture and perspectives of people and places far from our own. Seeing these sites in person activates the senses and cements a different type of memory⁠—particularly in children.

Before the pandemic, family travel was on the rise⁠—and it’s expected to return strong. 

The good news from this past week in the US is that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children 5 to 11 years old. As this age group gets vaccinated, 2022 seems poised to bring a return of family vacations.

Now that the US has opened its borders to vaccinated international travelers, we will also certainly be welcoming more visitors into our country, lifting the overall number of travelers globally. 

It’s still important to keep in mind that, while we have ready access to vaccinations for children and adults in the US, many other parts of the world are not as fortunate. Choosing a destination for a family holiday still requires consideration of the local rates of infection and vaccination. 

My husband and I have traveled with our two children since they were babies. They’re now at the age where they love being part of the planning. Like us, as you readjust to travel, remember to check in with your children. Do they share your excitement for the destination? Are they comfortable with possible restrictions? Are they eager to research where to eat or what to see?

Planning travel for the rest of the year and into 2022 may be a bit more involved than before the pandemic. When we do it right, the reward will be worth the effort.

On a recent family trip, my younger one, upon arriving at the hotel, exclaimed: “Oh, how I have missed this smell!”

You might also like: 
The Well Traveled Path: Dr. Jenny Yu on returning to travel
More kids in the US can now get vaccinated: here's what that means for holiday travel
What to know about traveling with unvaccinated kids

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