It’s important to keep up with the most current info for where you’re traveling
Given the ever-changing state of the world right now, planning a wedding and a honeymoon could get overwhelming. We talked to travel industry experts to see how different locations and resorts are preparing. This way, you can travel safely and enjoy special trips given these new times. Use these tips and the info we’ve gathered for insight into the travel industry’s current best practices. Just keep in mind, things are always changing. So, it’s important to keep up with the most current info for where you’re traveling.
TOP CONSIDERATIONS FOR TRAVELERS
Yes, most travelers are concerned with what safety measures are in place in the locations they are considering. Megan Yeats, Social Sales Manager at Chase on the Lake Resort and Spa, has some great insight. She tells us guests want to know what safety measures are in place and what amenities are still available. Her facility has everything from cleaning plans to dining options and spa services explained here.
But safety isn’t the only concern. As Jacqueline Bobick Director of Sales for HP Hospitality tells us, “Pricing is a big concern since so many people were affected by pay decreases during the COVID shutdowns.” She says that people feel safer in smaller environments, which might affect where they choose to travel. “[Couples] are also looking at the size of the resort and how many people are going to be on property during their dates that they booked. Our boutique resorts that require a full buyout are quite popular in comparison with our other resorts since it will just be the couple and their guests on the property and that is it. It makes them feel a little bit more in control of an uncontrollable situation.” (HP Hospitality includes the following resorts: Largo Resort, Dolphin Point Villas, La Jolla Resort, Drift Hotel, and Amoray Resorts.)
SO WHAT ARE PLACES DOING TO COMPLY?
HP Hospitality resorts are doing a lot to comply with best practices in order to keep guests safe. “All of our resorts require that only one guest can be in the lobby area at a time. All guests must have a mask on if they are within six feet of any other guests.” Bobick notes that guests are asked to keep a safe distance from other groups at the pool and communal areas.
They also note changes in housekeeping, “No housekeepers are allowed into the rooms for daily servicing. We are dealing with towel exchange requests and requests for additional amenities through a request list. Guests fill out their list and place the items they want to be exchanged in a closeable bin and place it outside of the rooms. Housekeeping comes and picks it up daily and makes exchanges in order to limit the contact between staff and guests.”
Kim Riddle is the Business Development Manager for the Aruba Tourism Authority. She says Aruba automatically complies with COVID best practices, “We were built for social distancing and smaller weddings. Aruba has always been ideal for proposals so we will be a great elopement destination as well. We have good WiFi and drone service allowing for virtual ceremonies.”
Linda Snyder, Vice President Travel & Retail Services, AAA Minneapolis explains that their diamond rating system has a “best of housekeeping” designation. “Hotel inspectors are now looking at the cleanliness and best practices as it relates to COVID-19. It is important to feel comfortable that a hotel is taking care to clean not only guest rooms thoroughly but public areas as well and are encouraging the social distancing protocols.” Along with several National Parks that are popular for vacations right now such as Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Glacier, or even Grand Canyon, “other places to consider are Colorado, Sedona, AZ, Hilton Head SC, Virginia Beach, Cape Cod or Maine on the East Coast. AAA has a great tool, the COVID map, that will show current restrictions by state or county so you can plan accordingly. You can find that here.
Along with best practices for safely hosting guests, many resorts are also getting creative with food options. For example, in addition to outdoor seating at restaurants, Chase on the Lake Resort and Spa is offering “dockside pick-up of any of our meals but our best seller is the Adult Happy Meal!” It comes with a burger, Von Hansen’s Pretzels, a cookie, a cold beer, and a Chase souvenir.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
There are lots of things you can do to stay safe and still travel during this pandemic. When it comes to airport travel, Ketti Menne of Paradise Weddings and Travel has some sage advice. “Wear a mask, bring a water bottle to fill with water, pack non-perishable snacks.” And Snyder says, “You can also take hand sanitizer through TSA and a larger bottle than the regular 3 oz you are used to – up to 12 ounces. Travel with wipes to wipe down your seat, tray table, and armrests on the planes. You won’t know what is open in the airports you are traveling to or from so best to be prepared.”
Another way to travel safely is to know the entry requirements at the destinations you are considering. Each one might differ, depending on where you’re traveling and what the current COVID-19 numbers are in that region. For traveling within the US, AAA has a “COVID map” showing current restrictions by area so you can plan accordingly. You can find that here.
“Where one place might require no testing, another might see cases spike and then implement more rules,” explained Riddle. But, she indicates that strict rules help everyone, not just the traveler, “Aruba has always had some of the tightest requirements. This is to protect those traveling to the destination as well as our locals. We have not had any locally transmitted cases in over 3 months. 100% of our visitors must be tested in order to visit Aruba.” She noted she knows in some places it isn’t easy to get tests and to get results in a timely manner. But, the authorities in Aruba are constantly working with guests to re-test them upon arrival if necessary. “What our visitors are enjoying is knowing while they are in Aruba, they know everyone is COVID-free. When they return home, they will still be COVID-free!”
In addition to staying up-to-date on requirements for your destination, you should also take these final tips from Snyder, “Be flexible. You may want to plan a fun trip in the US for now and then save up for a fun one or five-year anniversary trip to somewhere like Europe once borders open up.” There are plenty of fun trips to be had in the US right now! Consider using a travel agent to help you sort out your options. “AAA Travel Advisors can put together a fabulous trip with as many fun activities as you wish. Lobster boil in Maine, white water rafting in CO. The ideas are endless!”
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