I don’t know about you, but being “safe at home” has got me pretty stir crazy! At least it was until about a month ago when Jason and I left for our two week honeymoon. You may be thinking, “why would they do that–that’s just asking for it!” As a nurse, I am aware of and appreciate the very real threat of COVID-19. However, after waiting 34 years to get married, there was no way I was going to let a pandemic get in the way of my honeymoon!
That being said, we did have to replan our trip multiple times. Our first plan was to go to St. Lucia. That was obviously out. While some countries are reopening for travel, we did not feel safe going somewhere where we could possibly wind up unable to fly home. Our next plan was to fly into San Diego, buy a car, road trip home through the west coast and northern part of the States, then sell the car. We quickly realized that we wouldn’t have near enough time to do everything we wanted to do along that route. We bookmarked it for future travel and went back to the drawing board.
The plan we ultimately decided on was to fly into San Diego, then rent a car (we went with Fox Rent-a-Car, get one here: http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=AP3ZaW8Y2kw&offerid=618318&type=3&subid=0&LSNSUBSITE=LSNSUBSITE“) and road trip to Las Vegas, where we would fly home from there. Here are some things we did on our trip to ensure our safety:
Generally speaking, we felt very safe on our flights. Masks were required both in the airport and on all of the flights. Because of the pandemic, airports were very empty, which made it easy to put six feet of space between ourselves and other travelers. On the planes, they were not assigning the middle seats to leave a little extra space. That turned out not to be necessary on our flights out to San Diego. They were so empty that there was no one in front or back of us for three rows! Upon boarding, we were offered cleaning wipes to wipe down our seating area. We made sure we did a good cleaning of the arm rests, lights, air flow and tray table. Be sure to clean your tray table, as it is the dirtiest part of the plane. They were also disinfecting the planes in between flights.
The snack service was changed slightly. The usual snack and a bottle of water were handed out in bags, along with a packet of hand sanitizer. There was no food or beverage service, at least not in coach seating, during any of our flights.
Prior to our travels, I did a little research on plane safety during COVID-19. I learned that the filtration in airplanes is similar to that of negative pressure rooms in hospitals–where patient who have contagious diseases such as TB are roomed. These rooms have a minimum of 12 air changes an hour. To take full advantage of the new air, be sure to fully open the air vent above your seat. Note: bring a sweater because the air will likely be cold!
Try to sit near the front of the plane if possible, as the air flow on a plane runs from front to back.
On the flight home, there was a man sitting a row in front of us who kept removing his mask. I told the Delta flight attendant about my concerns with this, which he took very seriously. He first reminded the man to put on his mask–which he removed shortly after. He then reminded him again and offered us seats further back which were more isolated. We happily accepted and were very pleased with how the situation was handled.
ENTERTAINMENT & DINING
The majority of the activities we did were outside. We planned it this way in order to reduce our risk. In San Diego, we went biking on the boardwalk and at in restaurants with outdoor seating. In California, restaurants and bars were only allowed to provide service if they offered outdoor seating. Most did a good job of spreading out the patrons so there was at least six feet in between. We scoped out the restaurants ahead of time to see if there was adequate space in between tables, and also that the staff was wearing their masks correctly. Overall, we felt pretty safe while dining out.
Our other activities in the San Diego area included the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park. Both were taking COVID-19 precautions very seriously. There were well marked areas for waiting in line, and signs placed all over reminding visitors to put space between themselves and others. Masks were required for all employees and patrons. The staff did a great job of enforcing this rule. While it wasn’t fun wearing masks in the heat, we stayed fairly comfortable and felt good knowing that precautions were being taken. We also visited Lions, Tigers, and Bears were similar precautions were in place.
After San Diego, we went to Temecula to explore wine country. The staff at every winery we visited were wearing masks and had adequately spaced outdoor seating. No loitering at the bar was allowed–you simply got your drink then left for your outdoor seating. Many of the places offered flights if you did not want to be going back and forth to the bar.
One thing we did a lot of on our trip was visit national parks and national monuments. On one of our first days we purchased an “America the Beautiful” National Parks pass, which gave us access to unlimited national parks and monuments for one year. We visited seven places and received six new stamps in our passport books! This allowed us to keep our distance from people and take in some amazing sights, including Cabrillo National Monument, Joshua Tree National Park, Walnut Canyon National Monument, Sunset Crater National Monument, Wupatki National Monument (these three were some of our favorites), the Grand Canyon, and Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The National Parks pass is a great way to see America while limiting exposure to the cornonaviurs!
The last stop on our trip was Las Vegas. The casinos were pretty dead, so it wasn’t difficult to put space between us and others. The staff were wearing masks at every casino and restaurant we went into. Our favorite thing in Las Vegas was the Mob Museum. Get your tickets through the Best of Vegas website link below to save $3 per person! We spent 7 hours there! Their COVID-19 precautions were great. Upon entering, we had to go through a screening process that included a symptom screening and having our temperature taken. We received a sticker signaling that we passed the screening. There were reminders that “Wise Guys leave six feet of space between themselves and others”, as well as signs limiting capacity in smaller spaces. We felt extremely safe in the museum.
Two weeks after our return, we were still healthy! We were diligent about using sanitizer after touching common surfaces and wiped down our rental car with alcohol wipes every so often. We wore N95 masks whenever we were within six feet of others. N95 masks work better to protect you than cloth masks since they prevent particle penetration by 95%. Be sure to get the kind without an exhalation valve, so you are protecting those around you as well. As long as you are not high-risk, there are still safe adventure out there to be had!
Need a rental car for your trip? Check out Fox, Dollar, and Thrifty car rental for a great deal.
How have you been keeping safe during travel in the pandemic?