Travel & COVID-19: Everything You Need to Know
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
COVID-19 has thrown the travel community into a tizzy since it first appeared last winter. Now that we have two vaccines available, I am hopeful that we will return to some form of routine. Even though travel will return, I know that some of the changes will not go away. Travel restrictions and requirements change daily, so I will attempt to answer a few questions for you. How has flying changed? What is it like staying in a resort? How will COVID-19 affect restaurants? This blog will reveal everything you need to know about travel and COVID-19.
As of January 12, 2021, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has instituted a policy requiring that every person flying into the US must have a COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before getting on their plane. It will be necessary even for US citizens to get a test before they can return home. Scary, right? My suggestion is to get the Cancel for Any Reason Insurance! Three days before you are due to leave on your trip, get a COVID-19 test, and make sure that you maintain social distance during your trip. With a little pre-trip diligence, you can minimize the chance of a positive test derailing your journey home.
Several scientific studies concluded that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is minimal with airplane filtration systems and passengers wearing masks. So mask mandates on flights are here to stay. Airlines are taking disinfection seriously. But I still suggest carrying your Chlorox wipes. It would help if you wiped down armrests and tray tables as soon as you board. Maintain social distancing (as much as possible) in the terminals and keep your mask on! Breaking masking protocols will get you bumped off your flight, and you will not receive a refund.
Gone are the days of sitting on a bus for hours while the driver drops off everybody but you at their hotel. Upgraded solo transfers will become the norm. This change is for the best. Bus transfers are a nightmare, and this change should be appreciated! Private is a tiny bit more expensive, but they are the one upgrade I recommend to every client.
Resorts want to keep guests safe; to that end, most are reducing max capacity. You will also have to wear a mask in public areas (including the lobby and restaurants). Check-in might be curbside, and digital locks will mean you will need your phone to get into your room. You will notice an uptick in cleaning staff though out the resort. And sanitizing stations will be plentiful. Housekeeping will apply seals to rooms they cleaned. You might also notice that the room looks different. Resorts removed anything that is challenging to sanitize, like decorative pillows, notepads, pamphlets, and throws. One of the most significant changes will be to housekeeping services. Cleanings will be more intense but less often. Unless you specifically request housekeeping, they will clean the room after you leave.
Restaurants & Room Service
Buffets will go the way of the dinosaur. You can't have people milling around and waiting in long lines to pick food that has been sitting around. Reduced restaurant capacity will necessitate reservations unless you like waiting a long time to eat. Downloadable menus will replace paper, so keep your phone with you. You will find an increased dependence on room service with expanded menus. You might order 'room' service in quiet areas of the resort outside your room. Knock and drop room service is the new normal.
Sports and recreational areas are either closed or operating at limited capacities. Some hotels are limiting pools to half the standard allowance. You might need reservations for the tennis courts, pools, spa, and other amenities. Bars will remove bar stools, and nightclubs will eliminate parties that include foam, bubbles, etc.
COVID-19 has changed the world, possibly forever. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy exploring the world. It would help if you kept abreast of the current restrictions and travel requirements; you should check the CDC and US State Department websites before booking travel. The International Association of Travel Agents (IATA) is another excellent resource. If you are in a high-risk COVID-19 group, you should consult your physician before making any travel plans.