By Allergy Mom Diva
Making the decision on whether or not to travel right now is very challenging for many people. It is important to evaluate not only your risks, but also the risks of your family, your co-workers, and others you may encounter both during and after your trip.
After having two Disney trips canceled due to park closures and basically not leaving the house for four months, I was eager for a Disney trip. I had a (rescheduled) trip to Walt Disney World planned for July. However, I’m also very cautious and protective about the health of my family and my community.
This is why I watched the news and social media coverage of the reopening of Walt Disney World before making my final decision. We also basically stayed home for the entire two weeks leading up to our planned trip (which wasn’t much different from what we had been doing over the previous four months – we work from home right now and the kids didn’t have school). After much debate and almost canceling 525 times, I decided to go forward with plans to visit both family and Walt Disney World. Very low crowds, high mask enforcement, and impressive cleaning practices at Walt Disney World helped me make my decision.
With the decision made, we made it a priority to always wear masks, wash our hands endlessly, use hand sanitizer constantly, and maintain social distance. We had also decided that if we felt unsafe or uncomfortable at any time, we would immediately leave, whether it was at Walt Disney World or the neighborhood pool. This obviously didn’t work as easily on an airplane, but I made a plan for flying that I will share with you.
Flying was probably the most stressful part of our trip, but fortunately, most of it went smoothly.
The airports were fairly empty, so it was easy to social distance. Security wasn’t great at my home airport. It’s a small airport, and the TSA pre-check lines were closed, so there was quite a few people in line. I also wasn’t prepared to take everything out of my bags (and I’m a notorious over-packer!). But, we made it work! TSA pre-check was open at the Orlando airport, and that security process was a breeze!
We flew on Southwest, and the flights were about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Southwest is keeping the middle row open until October 31st. Most people seemed to follow the social distancing and mask rules. I was pretty anxious when someone sat in the aisle seat next to us, and she took off her mask seemingly forever while she snacked. I think I shamed her with my glare long enough that she eventually put her mask back on!
Here are some tips that helped me while I was traveling:
- Pay for EarlyBird Check-In to get on the plane before everyone else.
- Find seats in the back of the airplane. The the front of the plane usually fills in first, making it more crowded. I also liked that we wouldn’t have every person boarding the plane walking past us.
- Bring Clorox wipes to wipe down everything (if you can find them…they are worth more than gold right now!).
- Bring your own food and drinks. Southwest is offering water and a snack bag, but that is only on longer flights. We also wanted to avoid buying food at the airport restaurants (both because of COVID & allergies), so I brought an entire bag filled with lunches, snacks, and waters. Many airport restaurants were closed or had very limited menus anyway.
- Wait to get off the plane until everyone else leaves. Almost everyone towards the front of the plane stood up as soon as we arrived at the gate, making it impossible to social distance.
- And, of course, wear your mask!
We took every precaution possible, but with all of that said and done, it was definitely a risk to travel. I also never fully relaxed, which is usually the point of vacation! We do have another trip planned later this year, but everything is fully refundable, so we will make a final travel decision right before that trip.
If you do decide to plan a vacation, either now or in the distant future, I suggest contacting Patricia from All for Dreams travel! She can help you navigate the constantly changing travel environment.