Traveling Amid Covid-19: The Insider's Take
Updated: Jan 18, 2021
My family recently returned from a trip to Colorado. ⛰
We flew, and since being back I’ve had so many people ask, “So how WAS it?” Here is my honest answer, and it’s two-fold:
On the one hand ✋:
All truly went well. The airport was by no means a ghost town, the resort and places we ventured to felt busy and alive, plenty of safety measures were being taken, and there was a certain sense of normalcy that felt incredibly refreshing.
✋On the other hand:
There IS a pandemic occurring, and no matter what precautions are being taken, a person still takes a measure of risk and must feel comfortable with that in order to travel.
HERE’S WHAT IT REALLY LOOKED LIKE...
The Airport - There was incredible inconsistency in this regard, depending on the airport we were in. Chicago O’Hare did not enforce the 6 foot social distancing rule in many parts, while Denver International did. Regardless, you are surrounded by human beings, sharing the bins in the security line, getting handed your driver’s license by the hand that just touched dozens of other licenses, the list goes on. I will say that absolutely everybody wore a mask the entire time - both in the airport and on the plane.
The Airplane - On the plane, again, great inconsistency. On the way there, United Airlines didn’t offer a snack or beverage service for purchase because they wanted masks on the entire flight. On the way back, however, Spirit Airlines did allow it. 🤷♀️ Masks were required, but there was no limitation on what type of face covering you wore.
Masks During Airline Travel - Masks are required to be worn the entire duration of your time in the airport and airplane, with the exception of when you are consuming food and beverage. There was great variety in what was acceptable in terms of masks. I saw everything from bandanas, reusable and washable masks, some with ventilators, temporary throw-aways, and neck scarves.
The Resort - Our family stayed in two different resorts, and again, different policies were in place. One strictly enforced the rule to wear a mask the moment you stepped into the clubhouse while the other was more lenient. One location offered no housekeeping service due to limiting staff while the other location offered full service. In the elevator, you were to ride by yourself or with members of your own household only.
Our Marriott resort normally offers extra activities like tie dying shirts for the kids, poolside hot dog grilling and s’mores, etc. and all of those activities were canceled.
The Pool - Both resorts’ pools were open and allowed for masks to be removed during the entire duration of being poolside. No resort floaties or pool noodles were available for use. All hot tubs had recently been opened for use.
Restaurants - In Vail, restaurants were open for business across the board. Everybody was open for carry-out and outside dining, and some were even open to sit inside. In coffee shop-style settings the expectation was to wear a mask while you were in line but then you could remove the mask once you had your food and drink and were consuming it.
Shops - Masks were required in all stores. In clothing stores, some dressing rooms were open while others were not.
Activities & Entertainment - We were in Colorado, so much of the activity was outdoor-based. Such settings bode well for the current Covid environment because it allows for good portions of your day to be without a mask on. (However, I still saw people biking outside wearing masks in the heat!) The top-of-the-mountain activities were all shut down, with the exception of the mountain coaster.
Out & About - Resort shuttles were canceled, while village bus service was offered. All shops were open. Many activities were canceled, with the exception of outdoor concerts and activities like mountain biking and river rafting.
Here’s my quick pros and cons list of the logistics of wearing a mask. (Note: I’m speaking logistically and not intending to turn this into a debate or a thesis on the effectiveness of masks. Take it for what it is. 😉)
Surprisingly, masks seemed to be a way to express your style and personality. I saw everything from neck scarves to bandanas to masks promoting sports teams and Star Wars.
It conveniently hides facial expressions.
It disguises bad smells.
You can burst out laughing at someone in public & not be overly embarrassed (see my 7/27 Insta post).
It saves on lipstick for women because nobody sees your mouth.
For those of you who blush easily (me 🙋♀️) you’re spared a little embarrassment.
It hides one’s double chin. 🙌
You cannot see people’s smiles. Oh how we rely on seeing others’ grins in order to connect with them!
You cannot see people’s facial expressions in general. You don’t realize how much you look to people’s mouths in order to emotionally “read” them. People’s emotions are worn on their face, and the mouth does much of that nonverbal communication.
It’s difficult to understand what people are saying.
It’s harder to breathe. You are ready to take that mask off the minute you can.
The mask has the potential to get lost.
THE FINAL WORD
It takes the right personality to travel during these times. My family and many of my close friends knew the risk but still felt comfortable and motivated enough to do it.
That being said, I will state the obvious. Precautions are being made, but things are not foolproof. Just when I saw that the workers disinfected the mountain coaster seat, the next employee touched the handlebar my daughter was about to touch. There are a million examples like that that occurred.
So - remain knowledgeable - of your own personality as well as the facts around the virus and traveling.
If you do venture out, enjoy and don’t look back. It can feel incredibly healthy to get out and about so just soak all of the goodness in. ✨
For more content like this, follow my writings on social media (Instagram and Facebook) and on my website kimcaifano.com. Or hire me to coach or speak to your audience.