The No Traveling Blues

As published in The Florida Villager.

Summer is half way over and still you haven’t traveled and you are feeling the No Traveling Blues.  I get it, trust me. I am used to being somewhere new once a month and this is getting old fast.   Here’s the thing, there is not much we can do to change the current travel situation so we have to work with it instead of fighting against it.  Part of that is being smart about your travel plans.

I have heard many people complain they need to get away only to do so and come back unhappy and frustrated.  The reason?  Unrealistic expectations and lack of due diligence.  There are definitely places you can go but understand that things will not be the same as they were last year.

Here are some tips for that Covid getaway:

Ask all the right questions.  Don’t just ask if the spa is open.  Ask the hours and services offered.  What activities are going on?  Just because the website lists the Covid changes, doesn’t mean that there haven’t been more.

Some places offer restaurant service and some only offer room service.  If sitting at a hotel bar is something you enjoy, make sure it’s open.  Things we took for granted pre-Covid, we can’t now.

I’ve heard people lament that the hotel was fully operational but the town in which it was located was pretty much shut down or there was a curfew in place.   Don’t take the concierge’s word when she tells you things are open, check yourself.  Also, most places close earlier now, so bring some fun things you can do in your room.

Be patient with airports, hotel staff and waiters.  Every place is working on a small staff and doing the best they can.  If you have to wait longer than usual at a restaurant, be pleasant and enjoy the company you are with.  Go with the expectation that things might change while you are there and you will have to roll with the punches.  Having discussed a back-up plan for last minute cancellations ahead of time will lessen the blow of disappointment.

If you are averse to wearing a mask, plan a getaway that is outdoor focused or if you are worried about being around people in a lobby, choose a cabin in the woods or a destination that has separate cottages.  The planning needs to focus on the details now more than ever.

When booking anything, check their cancellation policy.  Some places will allow cancellations at the last minute and some won’t do refunds unless there is a mandatory shutdown.  In addition, check quarantine rules entering a different state and returning to your home state.  Someone I know checked the incoming state but neglected to check her reentering from that state and needed to quarantine, which completely threw her next two weeks into a tailspin.

Finally, don’t let the desire to breakout cloud your judgement on whether the trip will be worth the expense.  Numerous people have said that it just wasn’t worth it and they wished they had stayed home and saved the money.  Taking care of your mental health, especially now, is so important but nothing is worse than returning from a trip and regretting it.  Again, if you have the right expectations going into it, you might not regret the money spent.

The key take away is that if you need a change of venue, take it but do your due diligence and keep your expectations in line with the times.