What it’s like traveling during Coronageddon

We were THOSE people this Thanksgiving.

You know the ones – the people who travel even though our country is in the worst stage of the pandemic. The ones who ignore the CDC’s recommendations to stay home. The ones who take unnecessary risks even though the rest of the country is staying home and zooming with family.

Yes, I know how it looks.

I know friends are low-key judging us because I’ve been low-key judging people who traveled all year. And right now, things are even worse than they were in spring and summer! We literally picked the WORST possible time to take this trip. I’m aware of all this.

Yet, we still felt like we needed to go. My mother-in-law passed away in March after a long battle with cancer and multiple other illnesses. We were supposed to go to Florida to visit them at the end of March for spring break, but we cancelled due to COVID concerns, despite being worried about E’s dad being alone and grieving.

Then, we almost drove down over the summer, thinking that would be safer than flying, but we ended up cancelling because Florida was considered a “hot spot” for COVID and we didn’t want to catch anything in a rest stop and bring it home to Z’s Grandpa. So again, we didn’t visit him even though he was still alone and grieving.

Then the holidays loomed: both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although we were very conflicted, we knew we HAD to go visit E’s dad. He’s been alone all year after losing the love of his life; his wife of 61 years. We couldn’t bear to think of him alone during the holidays.

We knew there were risks involved, just as there are risks involved in doing ANYTHING outside of our homes right now. We minimized risk by wearing double masks during travel, washing and sanitizing hands constantly, and traveling through smaller, non-commercial airports and on smaller flights.

Then, once in Florida, we avoided all crowds. We only stayed home or went to outdoor places like parks and uncrowded springs or beaches. We avoided tourist attractions and popular spots, opting for lesser-known outdoor destinations.

Now that we’re safely back home, I can say that all our worries paid off and that, for us, it was worth the risk.

We had an amazing visit with E’s dad. He was so happy to have us there – especially his littlest granddaughter, Z! Z and her Grandpa scootered together on his ’59 Cushman and went out cruising in his ’57 Chevy. It was a truly great week and heartwarming to see E’s dad doing so well despite very difficult circumstances.

We all felt very close to E’s Mom, as well. I was worried it might be sad or hard for Z to be there without Grandma, her favorite artist and muse, but Z still did all the things she would have normally done with her Grandma: drawing, crafting and painting.

I felt Grandma smiling down every time Z took out the art supplies to make another masterpiece and use all the skills Grandma taught her!

So, what was the travel part like?

I’ll admit, traveling during Coronageddon was weird. At the airport, we tried to social distance but it was almost impossible to keep a six-foot bubble around us. We did our best but in the seating areas near the gates, it got pretty crowded.

Ditto for the airplane itself – there were people in every seat. We were all packed in together. While people wear masks in the airport and airplane, they take the masks off to eat and drink. It seemed like everyone had to have a drink or snack. We kept our masks (two each!) firmly on for the entire flight and during our time in the airports.

I developed a bad case of maskne – my first time experiencing it – undoubtedly due to doubling up our masks (which makes them fit tighter). I’ll be glad when it goes away during my two weeks of self-imposed quarantine at home!

We also missed our pets terribly. Think about it: we’ve all been together at home, bonding and becoming even closer than we were before, for 9 months of COVID. It was hard leaving the dogs and Galaxy, and even harder not seeing them for almost a week!

Bottom line, we were super glad to see Grandpa and have a great visit with him, but we were also VERY glad to get home.

It has always been true that travel makes us appreciate home more, but during these crazy Coronavirus times, it’s doubly so. There truly is no place like home – for the holidays or anytime.

Have you traveled this year despite the Coronavirus risks, and if so did you take other precautions or use other tips? I’d love to hear in the comments below or over on Facebook.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.

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