How Long is That in COVID Years?

It’s been a while now, hasn’t it? Back when this all started and most of us figured that at the worst it might go on until mid-summer, I kept my hopes up, looked on the bright side, and crossed my fingers that I’d still be able to head to St. Andrews in October. We all know how that turned out. I know, I’m a member of a very large club. But truth be told, at the same time, I took the opportunity to tune out the travel industry. We’ve been on top of travel news and trends for over 26 years now and I didn’t mind taking a little break. And let’s face it, there was (and is) more than enough other news.

But chatting with the few of our customers who are actually traveling has begun to whet my appetite for adventure. Granted, most of their stories skip all the fun stuff and center on travel hygiene. We’ve heard umpteen tales of travelers arming themselves with N-95 masks and goggles, carrying as much hand sanitizer as possible on board, and thoroughly wiping down every seatbelt, armrest, tray table and seat back with sanitizing wipes. We’ve been told unfortunate tales of passengers (at least two of our customers have referred to them as “jackasses,” and who am I to disagree?) who continually removed their masks only to have flight attendants remind them again and again to wear them properly. And right up there with the wonderful “service” that we’ve come to expect from the airline industry, we’ve heard several occurrences where passengers were promised empty middle seats only to have them filled.

All this first-hand information leads to the realization that for the foreseeable future, travel has become a bit more complicated. Gone are the days when it was as easy as purchasing a ticket, going through security, boarding your plane and then napping for a few hours before waking up in some distant land. To avoid unexpected problems and disappointments, travelers will need to stay on top of this type of news. Fortunately, there are many online sites with the latest travel updates. However, we strongly recommend double-checking and cross-referencing any information pertinent to your specific travel plans, whether with an airline, hotel or Airbnb, or with a country’s embassy if you’re leaving the USA. Here are a few sites and stories we are keeping our eyes on right now.

Hawaii — who doesn’t want to sit on a beach and sip a strong fruity cocktail and forget the troubles of 2020? This story from SFGATE details the many things travelers need to consider and accomplish if they’re currently interested in a tropical paradise vacation. It also illustrates how rules and regulations will likely be in constant flux.

Mexico — Mexico is open to American travelers, by air only (not land), although there are several things to keep in mind before you book.

Middle Seats — Some airlines (I’m looking at you United) have done away with empty middle seats, while others like Alaska Airlines, are still keeping those seats vacant. If in doubt, call your carrier directly.

State Requirements for Visits — While domestic travel is certainly easier, many states do require testing and possibly quarantining.

Maybe you’re not ready to get on an airplane yet, but if, like me, you’re getting a little antsy, these stories will either excite you more, or scare you away entirely. You’re welcome.