Covid Restrictions and Holiday Travel

Covid Restrictions and Holiday Travel

Recently a friend traveled from Washington DC to Egypt. She discussed with me the harrowing experience of trying to get a required Covid test for travel. With recent federal guidelines, the need for Covid testing has increased, and availability has decreased. As the holidays are a busy travel season, it stands to reason travelers needing testing during the holidays will also surge.  Here are a few things to think about regarding Covid testing and the holidays.

A surge in Covid testing

Many of the issues involved with the current availability of Covid testing affect the recent executive order requiring Covid vaccination for federal employees. Companies with over 100 employees will be required to comply with the order or face significant fines. As expected, there are many questions regarding the order and implementation that need an answer.  However, the demand for Covid testing has risen, and so travelers need to prepare.

Thanksgiving travel

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it’s usually one of the busiest times for people to travel.  In 2020, many suggested curtailing travel during the Thanksgiving holiday, and many ignored that suggestion.  In preparation for the upcoming busy Thanksgiving travel season, the U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act may require all passengers on domestic airlines to either be fully vaccinated, tested negative, or fully recovered from Covid.

The World and Covid

Preparing for holiday travel

In essence, travelers should be aware of travel restrictions and Covid guidelines. They should know where their Covid testing sites are. Find out if they need to have Covid symptoms or can test as a precaution. Research the timing of their test before seeing friends and family as exposure varies. It’s also good to know the different Covid test options, PCR or antigen.

As with any travel experience, preparation is critical.  Stay safe this holiday season and if you choose to travel, do it safely.

Your choice to travel is yours alone.

Your choice to travel is yours alone.

For years I have had to battle the question of my travel experiences. When it was professional, it was “how can you leave your kids?” When it was personal it was again about the kids and whether I should put their needs first. Recently the question was “what about Covid?”

There will always be questions no matter your choice. The only right choice is the inner choice you make and life is too short not to put yourself first.

I always choose me! This might seem selfish, but I cannot be a good mother, wife, or friend if I am stressed out and unhappy. I have learned that more now since becoming an empty nester than ever before. My kids are grown, and I honestly believe that they would not have me make any different choices than the ones I made. Of course, they have not always been happy with my choices, but at the end of the day, I have.

You can be replaced easily at work, marriages fail, children grow up, and tomorrow is never promised. Life is too short not to travel, not to take a vacation, not to get a massage, not to put yourself first. Choosing to travel is a gift to yourself that you can open as many times as you desire. My choice is to travel, it’s the gift I give to myself.

Have you ever been judged for your choice to travel? Let me know in the comments. I bet I’m not alone.

Travel envy.

Travel envy.

Having traveled both professionally and personally, I can certainly attest to the travel envy often directed to me even though unheard and unseen but very present.

As an international flight attendant, my job took me all over the world. It was not uncommon for me to fly to unique destinations such as Paris, London, Buenos Aires, Bermuda, or Madrid within the same month. At the same time, I was still a mother and a wife and had to contend with all that those roles entailed. I quickly learned when trying to establish a relationship in the community, to gloss over my job. Mentioning destinations seem to bring on the envy of travel and I would quickly say “I’m a flight attendant” and change the subject as many seemed to hear my destinations as a brag. I would get responses along the direction of “oh how nice” or “that’s wonderful.”

It was not unheard of to get responses like “what about your kids?” or “how does that work with your husband and kids?” With my explanation that it was just a job like any other, I would inevitably get the response “it must be nice!” To me, that was the code for travel envy. I quickly learned in conversations to say that I was “going to work” or “going on a work trip.” Always conscious to never say a destination.

As an ex-pat in Europe and Asia, there were plenty of opportunities to travel in those areas. Thankfully I had learned from my professional travel experience to not discuss my travel plans in depth when having conversations with family and friends. Here too, the refrain “it must be nice” was also heard.

It was an honor and privilege to be a flight attendant for over twenty years and to fly to so many unique destinations. However, it was also a job and many times after long haul flights, the only part of the city seen was the hotel room. My personal travel was quite different as destinations such as Bali or Bangkok were planned with itineraries and time to complete them all.

I can certainly empathize with the travel envy now that Covid has canceled so many travel plans for me. But I know as long as I travel, there are many others whose dream of travel is unmet. So, I am very careful in discussing my travel plans and limiting or tailoring those discussions to the audience.

Have you ever experienced travel envy? How do you handle it? Does my story strike a chord? I’d love to hear your take.

Thankful for the memories

Thankful for the memories

2020 has definitely been a year of great emotions with many highs and lows. My last blog post discussed the angst of Covid travel during Thanksgiving. This post I’d like to dedicate to the joy of going back home.

My life has significantly changed since I left home so many years ago to make my mark on the world. I have traveled extensively both for work and for pleasure. Pulling up to my mom’s home reminded me not only of how much I have made inner travel, as much as I have made the physical travels.

My mom has lived in the same apartment for over forty years. In comparison, I live in a five- bedroom home with plenty of hosting spaces, inside and out, as well as an apartment in Singapore that I also call home.

Despite those differences, this thanksgiving was one of the happiest and memorable ever. Chairs had to be brought in for seating, the floor became a seating space, and laps became temporary dining spaces. However, the laughter flowed and happiness permeated the room.

In our travels, it’s not always the destination, but how we get to the destination that matters. I invite you to take an inner journey and reflect on the travel you have made to reach the destination you’re currently at. I encourage you to be thankful for the memories. It could have been better or it could have been worse, but give thanks for the journey you’ve traveled keep looking forward to the ones ahead. We are not all as blessed.

Covid travel or not?

Covid travel or not?

This was not my first trip since the outbreak of Covid 19, but with the resurgence and travel advisories against Thanksgiving travel, I had lots of inner struggle with my travel plans.

My first trip during Covid was the long trip back from Asia and it was a struggle trying to decide whether to stay in Asia or return to the US. As my youngest had braved Covid on her own for several months, I decided it was time to return home and be there for my daughter (see motherhood blog). As I was now in the US and only 3 hours away from my mom rather than 24, I planned my Thanksgiving travel. There was certainly a bit of angst as New York had been designated a hot spot.

However, my trip was a choice I felt I had to make. Having been an ex-pat for many years and not seeing my mom in a while, I looked forward to this visit. I had planned this trip well before the resurgence of covid concerns and realities. With a recent unexpected death in the family, I struggled with the thoughts of missed opportunities. Should I reschedule my trip? Covid was so unpredictable I wondered whether any other timing would be optimal for covid travel.

It is said that most family gatherings are at funerals and I struggled with the thought of canceling my trip and missing a positive family experience. Still and all, I am a prolific traveler, and I honestly missed the travel experience and was looking forward to the trip. I chose to keep my travel plans but wondered how much of my decision was a want and how much was a need. No one can predict the future, and my choice could be seen as unnecessary and risky. It could also be seen as a perfect time to choose family while they are around, rather than grieve for them or the missed opportunity to create memories.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences if you’ve had to make a similar choice. What would your choice be? Covid travel or not?

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