My Best Advice on How to Plan a Trip During the Pandemic

Dr Eva in Mexico by the crystal clear water

I had been dangling on the fence for weeks about booking a getaway. As much as I desperately needed a vacation, there were so many thoughts in my mind, like should I travel, and is it safe to travel? 

My husband and I are on the frontlines as healthcare workers, and we witness the effect of Covid-19 in our own state and the whole country, so by nature, we remain informed, cautious and aware.

We’re also responsibly living with masks and social distance (as are all of you) and handling our day-to-day duties with work, family and community. Knowing this, I felt comfortable getting informed on travel restrictions and CDC guidelines so we could pull off a safe travel experience.

Now that I’m back from an international travel experience, I knew I had to write a post for ya’ll to share and help answer travel questions you might be having.

I can tell you one thing, that trip was exactly what I needed. I was able to let go of my daily stressors and recharge my mind, body and soul. Even if you don’t jetset on an airplane, consider an overnight, a spa day, a road trip… something. 

How do I find out if it’s safe to travel?

I want to start first by saying (and you already know this), information on Covid-19 and its impact on our states and other countries changes by the day. So it’s best to stay informed about possible travel updates to your trip.

I tell my patients, their families and my own family; you have to be your own advocate. So if and when you’re ready to hit the road and make travel plans, look out for yourself (and others) and do your research so you know what you’re getting into. It will help you get a plan in place.

What kind of travel research can I do?

Luckily, I had a girlfriend who recently traveled abroad. Hearing her story made me realize that it might be something I could do as well. So I’ll be the girlfriend you know and tell you my story, and you can decide if it works for you

Besides chatting with my friend and asking tons of questions like how’d it feel at the airport, was it crowded, were you nervous, I went right to my other friend, Google, and looked up the latest CDC guidelines. Their website is updated regularly and gives you information on domestic and international travel. 

Not only do you have to consider what it’ll look like when you leave your state, but what’s it going to look like when you return?

I went to Tulum, MX and needed to be sure I wouldn’t have to quarantine when I got there. Imagine not knowing ahead of time. That could’ve been my whole trip —quarantining in Mexico! Not the type of vacation this girl was looking for. Quarantine wasn’t a requirement but a temperature check was.

Research your airline.

Oh wow, you’d think all airlines are on the same page, but they are not. I flew Delta Airlines, which I highly recommend even when we’re not in a pandemic but their safety regulations felt on point to me. I researched most of the major airlines and was pleased to hear that Delta doesn’t fill the middle seat to allow for extra room between passengers and I was comfortable with their sanitization protocols and cancellation policy. Don’t skip over that last one because the theme of our pandemic life is be prepared to change your plans.

We didn’t get the full-service meal options on the flight, but we were served snacks, offered a beverage and hand sanitizer more than once during the flight. You know I brought wipes to wipe down the seats and anything else I could possibly touch. 

You are allowed to remove your mask to eat and drink, but you must replace it right away. It was nice to see everyone on the plane complying and seemingly just wanting to get through the process with ease.

How is TSA and airport safety handled?

The next place I went for information was the TSA website. I checked their mask guidelines, sanitizing protocols and found out things like, ‘do I need to get to the airport any earlier’, etc. To no surprise, Atlanta airport, usually one of the busiest, was pretty slow. People kept a safe distance, they were wearing masks, and it felt ok. If you have concerns or limitations for wearing a mask visit the CDC mask and travel guidance page for more information.

My husband and I traveled with another couple, and as a group, we discussed our game plan for the airport. We washed our hands after we touched anything. If there was a touch screen, a door, or bins at security, we sanitized and washed. Luckily, the airport is mostly touch-free. We also knew things would take a little longer or be possibly less convenient and we were ok with that. 

…Must’ve been the vacation vibe we had.

One thing I do suggest is carry-on luggage only. I did not, ha! If you know anything about my natural hair, you know I wouldn’t be able to fit my products and my clothes in the same small bag <me hysterically laughing>. 

It wasn’t a problem for us, but the baggage carousel was a little crowded. One way we minimized risk was by not squeezing in with everyone else to wait for the bags. Instead, we hung back and waited for a large space to open up.

Find out hotel/resort safety protocols.

The last thing I recommend looking into is your hotel. You’re probably wondering if hotels are safe right now. 

Well, I wasn’t sure what the pandemic looked like in Tulum, MX so I went to the city website, the resort website, emailed any questions and I even made a phone call to confirm a few details. 

I wanted to be sure they weren’t overbooking the resort and they had mask policies in place.

You also want to find out if their restaurants are open. Not all resorts are running at full capacity and have limited seating. If you need to make reservations or have to eat off the property or are limited to only one restaurant, you’ll want to know ahead of time.

Some hotels and resorts may not have all their pools open, or you may need to make reservations and save your spot ahead of time.

Hotel stays look a little different than they used to. Less bedding changes and turn-downs. The hotel staff tries to enter your room as little as possible for your safety and theirs. 

If you dig for details before you go you’ll know what to expect when you’re there.

We had a fabulous stay at our resort at Kore Tulum Retreat and Spa. The hospitality staff was thrilled to have tourists and they took great care of us. They were very respectful of our space. 

We rented a car in Tulum so we didn’t have to have a driver and took day trips into town. It didn’t feel overcrowded and when we were around other people we all wore masks. It worked out well.

I came home a new woman! Whether a big trip is right for you, a car trip or a camping trip, I’m here to tell you it’s possible to give yourself a safe and healthy getaway that you deserve.

Planning any trips or have you taken one recently? Leave any tips you have in the comments for the other readers and me. We’d love to know.

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