Don the Mask and Travel
Let me start with saying I am an advocate of following my State’s guidelines, wearing mask, sanitizing, and maintaining social distancing. Ask my family! I have them so well trained that as soon as the grand kids walk in the door their hand is already out; for my daily sanitizer pumps.
With that said, I LOVE to #travel. I believe it is good for the soul and for our mental health. Not planning family vacations or business travel started to take a toll on me. However knowing how serious this pandemic is and having loved ones to worry about, I was not sure I could do it safely. So during the first few months, I focused on the positives. Forced to slow down, we planned many back yard outings, smore making and just enjoying the quiet of our patio. BUT….I still miss the planning, anticipation and excitement of having an upcoming road trip or vacation to go to. As the weeks turned into months, I knew we had reached a point where we had to learn to live with this new “normal”.
The opportunity arrived. We had to move our daughter back to school and we decided this was the time to answer the question many clients have been posing to me: Should we travel and can we travel safely during a pandemic? Yes and Yes!
Yes, you can travel BUT remember the choice to travel is a very personal choice that only you can make. A choice you should be comfortable with. Can you do it safely? Let me tell you how we did it.
This was a 10 plus hour road trip, so I knew we would be forced to stop along the way, possibly in States that had higher numbers or less restrictive mandates for Covid-19. So I stocked up! Stocked up on snacks, lunches, gloves, mask, sanitizer and wipes (insert hubby rolling his eyes here). I was serious. If we were going to do this we were doing it safely! Every gas station stop, I made him either use gloves or a wipe. Once done he had to sanitize his hands. Every bathroom break consisted of washing hands, sanitizing before leaving the bathroom, trying not to touch the door handles and sanitizing when we got back in the car. Did we come around people who would look at us a bit odd for wearing our mask? Yes. Did I care? NOPE. We did not stop for meals, instead we ate what we brought. If we stopped, we ate in the car.
This was a twofold research trip. So, as we drove, my son flew with the kids and met us there. I stocked him up with wipes, they all had mask and this momma texted him before he boarded to make sure he wiped down the seats and hands were sanitized often! The kids were not deprived of an airplane experience and I knew they were as protected as they could be. Thanks #Spirit airlines for keeping them safe!
Once we got to our destination, I wipe down all the high touch services with a Clorox wipes. This included all the handles, dressers, TV, night stand etc. We knew we would not be doing any sit-down dining, so I book two places with a full kitchen which allowed us to cook our meals. Did we cook every night? No, this was a mini vacation after all! There were a couple of places I felt comfortable enough to walk in and order take out. By the way if you are ever in the Hilton Head area you MUST try #OneHotMamas for some yummy barbecue flair!
Sounds like a lot of work right? Well at first yes but as the week went on, we realize we can do this and still enjoy a sense of normalcy. I do say coming back home seem less cumbersome because everyone was on board with the mask, wipe and sanitize routine.
So can you travel safely during a Pandemic? Yes. It is about controlling your environment and being realistic with your expectations. Be realistic about everything from eating out to wait times because everything will be different. We went for ice cream one night and had to wait in a very long line 6 feet apart. Normally that would have had tested my patience, but I was grateful the store was choosing to keep me and their employees safe by following protocol. Kudos to #Kilwins at Hilton Head Shelter Cove!
Where you choose to go is just as important. Do your research or better yet use a travel advisor! If you are nervous about social distancing, then choose a place that lends itself to it such as a beach vacation. We found that if we hit the beach early, it was pretty easy to social distance. Around noon not so much and that was our que to go back have lunch and naps. We would return in the evening when it was empty again. Night walks on the beach were one of favorite memories this year. You prefer pool time instead? No problem. My recommendation is going to a reputable place, where you know they take your safety seriously; again, it is all about research. We spend the second half of our trip at Disney’s Hilton Head Island resort. I knew ahead of time they were very meticulous with their protocols. We enjoyed pool time by going first thing in the morning or in the afternoon. Capacity was monitored and if it was full, we would head to the beach instead.
I believe family vacations are important. It allows to slow down, spend quality time together and make memories that last a lifetime. It doesn’t have to be an oversea or fancy Caribbean vacation. A simple road trip was all it took to allow us to make some great memories with our kids and grand kids
. This is an unusual time, one that many of us have never experienced but I was determined to learn how to live in it and get the best of it.
There is no doubt the travel industry and small business like mine have suffered greatly during this pandemic. But despite the losses our main concern during this time is your health and safety. We are here to help you and I hope that my experience helped you understand that by controlling your environment and with proper research (and a great travel agent :-)), you can experience travel once again.
Safe travels my friends!