Are you ready for travel?

Are you ready for travel?

After being confined for more than a year due to Covid, many people are eager to travel.  However, travel, as we have known it in the past, is almost nonexistent. The thread of the Covid virus is ever-present, and people are even more stressed than the everyday stresses of travel.  Here are a few things I think will prepare you for this new travel normal and help you decide if you are ready for your journey.

When headed to the airport, be reminded that while realities of 9/11 made you take things off at the airport. Covid facts will make you put on masks. Remember that the airport is federal property, and masks are required.  It’s also a busy and, at times, loud place. So, speaking with a cover on and hearing things clearly because the person you are interacting with also has a mask on can be complex.  Prepare to repeat yourself repeatedly. Also, know that you may be asked several times to comply with the mask mandate, whether you agree with it or not.

Airlines have cut back on their offerings and services while at the same time increasing prices. Previously, you would be offered a beverage service on some longer flights, followed by a lunch or dinner service.  Currently, you may be offered a plastic bag with a small bottle of water, a cookie, and a hand wipe.  Others may provide a shelf-stable snack or snack box, often for purchase.  As limited as these offerings are, the reality is that there is never enough variety or supply for everyone on the plane.  In addition, the offerings are often way overpriced but the only thing on offer.

In addition, the airplane can now often resemble a small cafeteria.  Savvy travelers know in advance of the limited supply of food onboard the aircraft, so they bring their meals and snacks.  The airplane, a closed tube, is filled with the aroma of fried chicken, tuna sandwiches, cobb salads, and any other smelly food passengers bring to consume. During this food buffet, other passengers who may have had a challenging day without the opportunity or means to get an airport meal often sit by hungry and with increasing frustration.

Travelers need to be aware that their expectations will often not meet reality. Therefore, people should question if they are ready for travel, especially as it is today. The best advice is to prepare for your trip, not only for the destination but for the journey in reaching your destination.  How do you, or are you prepared for travel? I’d like to know.

5 Covid friendly hotel stay tips.

5 Covid friendly hotel stay tips.

Having flown as a career for over 20 years I have stayed in many hotel rooms and so the experience has taught me a lot about what to look out for in terms of cleanliness.

1. Check the hotel sheets. No one wants to sleep on possible dirty covid sheets. I can’t tell you how many different times I have gone into a hotel room just dying to shower and get into bed and found that the sheets have not been changed. If you do this when you first get into the hotel room, there is plenty of opportunity for the hotel to fix the issue before you are ready to go to bed.

2. Make sure the sheets are visibly dirty before you check out of the hotel and prevent any possible Covid spread. I think it’s just a matter of kindness to the next guest and just plain hygienic. Don’t feel bad as the hotel should automatically be doing this anyhow. I always wiped the bottom of my shoe across the sheets before I checked out.

3.Place a face towel or hand towel on the bathroom counter to place all your items on. Especially in this time of covid you do not want to transfer any germs to your face or hands. It’s also a visual reminder of anything placed on the counter and it helps in not forgetting items like jewelry in the bathroom.

4. Take an extra washcloth and wipe the toilet seats down. I think we all assume that the hotel room has been cleaned thoroughly but my experience has shown that the toilet seat is often overlooked.

5. Treat hotel room floors like airplane bathrooms and never assume it’s just water. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed through hotel corridors and seen the remains of a hotel room party gone wild. Let’s face it, the hotel does not have the manpower or capability to thoroughly clean hotel room floors, nor do they often have time between checkouts. Covid can be easily spread through bodily fluids.

I hope my tips have been helpful, check back in for more of my lived travel experience.

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?