Twice a month travel news from Charting Memories Travel
I just read that according to a recent survey conducted by Boston Consulting, more than 60% of consumers are anxious to travel again. Frankly, I'm surprised that it is that low. While many people are not ready or able to travel at the moment, I don't know many who would not be happy to get away for a little while. I was fortunate to be able to take two trips in the last couple of weeks. The first was a quick getaway to Universal Studios Florida for Mom's birthday celebration and the second was a combination business/pleasure trip to Cancun Mexico. If you don't want to read on, them let me just say that both trips were wonderful and it is possible to travel and have fun while feeling safe.
To give a little personal perspective on the pandemic. I avoided nearly all public places for about 6 months. I actually did not step foot in a grocery store between mid-February and the end of September. It was nearly the same length of time between sitdown restaurant visits. The virus does not scare me, but I respect it and the uncertainty surrounding it. I am careful, but I still am out and about multiple times a week. Hopefully, knowing my comfort level will help you make your own judgment based on your level of comfort.
The resorts at Universal Studios and the ones in Cancun all have health safety protocols in place. Every property was a little different, but from what I could see, similar procedures were being followed all over. The most noticeable were the wearing of masks, social distancing, and lots of extra cleaning and hand sanitizer.
Universal was more restrictive than most of Cancun but the restrictions did little to take away from the enjoyment of the parks. We went through daily temperature checks and had to wear masks when we were not in our room, sitting by the pool or when eating. I truly thought that it would be more uncomfortable than it actually was. The reduced capacity of the parks and the social distancing markers actually made the trip more enjoyable than normal. Normally I feel a little cramped when standing in the ride lines. Getting bumped into by kids and adults with backpacks is not very enjoyable. People were actually following the distancing guidelines so we always had space around us and never had to hear about filling in all available space. Most shows and restaurants were open, but a few were closed or running a limited schedule so if there is something that is a "can't miss" then be sure to check in advance.
The resorts in Cancun were following similar protocols as Universal. All employees had masks on at all times. Guests were only required to wear them in certain areas. We were required to wear a mask when going to dinner, on any transportation and when we could not social distance. Nearly everyone would cover up when walking the halls or even when just sitting in the lobby. Many places outside the resort had social distancing markers on the floor. They were a little closer together in Mexico than the US, but somehow I don't think the 12-inch difference matters much.
The resorts were being limited to about 60% occupancy or less. I visited 8 different places and some were as low as 20% full.
Flying into Mexico was easy. Delta is currently keeping the center row of seats empty. While you are still very close to the next person, it is very nice to have the extra room. The limited seating also made it easy to get space in the overhead bins and boarding and deboarding were much quicker than normal. They filled the plane from the back and emptied from the front. Snacks and a bottle of water were delivered in individual plastic bags. Everyone was reminded to wear a mask except when eating or drinking. To be honest the plane ride has the hardest part of the trip for me. On the ground the plane was warm and the vents were not blowing air so I did get a little hot, but once moving, the air flowed better and the plane cooled off. I consider myself very fortunate that the worst part of the trip was a short time of minor discomfort.
From my point of view, travel can still be extremely enjoyable and feel safe. You will see differences compared to a year ago, but they should not discourage you from getting out and about. We do need to remain cautious but from my perspective, we do not need to be locked inside. Reach out to me if you want to know more about what I experienced or if you are ready to start planning your own trip. The low occupancy and discounted rates make this a perfect time to explore someplace new.
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