Hi everyone! It’s Shannon. I am happy to report that I just returned from my first trip to Mexico. I can’t believe it took me this long to visit our neighboring country, but I am so glad that I had the chance to experience travel during the height of the pandemic. This trip was a great learning experience, and I am here to share some details with you.
Here are the top 5 things to keep in mind when traveling during a pandemic:
1. Do your homework.
Make sure you understand all of the airline and country requirements for traveling. Mexico doesn’t require a negative COVID test prior to or upon arrival, but they do require an immigration declaration card and customs document. I recommend completing the immigration declaration online prior to travel and carrying a hard copy with you. You will then complete a customs document before proceeding through customs. Many countries have requirements such as negative COVID tests, health declarations, visas, and more. Make sure you understand those requirements and come prepared with both electronic and hard copies. The airlines must abide by the arriving country requirements, which could mean denied boarding without the appropriate documentation.
2. Not all airlines and resorts follow the same safety protocols.
My flight was fully booked, and I was a bit surprised when the airline boarded in regular groups (rather than from the back to the front of the plane). As there will be varying procedures, check with your travel designer so you are familiar with the expectations. Your safety and comfort level is important to us, and we want to ensure your preferences align with your trip arrangements.
3. Many places are relatively empty, making now a great time to travel.
When we arrived at the hotel, there were perhaps 20-30 other people staying there. As we were traveling during the holidays, the guest count at the resort did increase as it got closer to Christmas. We stayed at the Westin in Cozumel, and the staff did a phenomenal job. Our stay included: social distancing, constant cleaning, and masking. Masks were required indoors, and all guests and staff abided by this requirement.
4. The hotel and tour capacities are often mandated by the local government.
Some companies follow these mandates while others are opting to take additional precautions to protect both you, the traveler and their staff. During this time, I recommend getting a room with a balcony or outdoor area to ensure your comfort, and personal space is always an option. Private tours are a great way to ensure your safety. Alternatively, check with your travel designer regarding small group tour protocols and numbers.
5. Operational days and hours may have changed.
Many restaurants and touring companies are running a reduced schedule to abide by curfew or cater to a new number of clients. For example, some touring companies will only run twice a week rather than five days per week. I recommend booking ahead to ensure these special experiences on your trip. And, of course, it is important to be flexible. Your safety is important, and if the restaurant or company has to close for a day or two, it is likely in your best interest. Remember, travel is always an adventure and a learning experience.
Like all of our vacations, my trip felt too short. I was gone for five days, and when I arrived home, I arranged for a COVID-19 test which was administered three days later. I am happy to report that I am feeling well and have received a negative result.
Mexico is one of our newest destinations, and due to the numerous connections from the US and the easy requirements of travel to the country, it is a great choice for a quick getaway. I would love to chat with you further about travel during a pandemic and what Mexico has to offer. After all, travel is always what you make of it! Let’s be safe and have fun!