“Don’t Do It Girl” was literally me all last year as I watched my friends and family move about the country towards the end of the summer and into the holidays. Today, though, I am sitting on an airplane clearly “having done it” completing my first pandemic travel adventure.
Trese, you said you would NEVER!
I know what the hell I said but as you are well aware, I reserve to change my mind at any time. A fact that I own proudly. I never pretend like I didn’t say what I said. I meant it when I said it but well… I changed my mind or should I say my kids changed it for me. Them, and the walls at home closing in on me.
Let me be clear…
While my house may not be in any issue of Better Homes & Gardens; it’s a place that I not only own but I love. There is, fortunately, enough space where no body is sharing a room and everyone has a place to retreat to get away from each other. We are blessed to have a home where everyone can have their own identity. Nonetheless, we are a family who likes to travel. We like to experience life, take road trips, get away when the normal becomes too mundane. And so… after many prayers, a chat with my best friend, a lot of weed (I had to calm my anxiety) and planning out the best way to safely travel (as safe as we could); we took a family trip to Washington D.C. (I won't travel outside of the country without my husband with all these quarantine protocols, just in case)
The What, How & Why….
We chose Washington D.C. for a few of reasons. My oldest daughter, Zee, will be attending a HBCU - THE Howard University in the fall so we wanted her to come up and see the campus
and city; even though their campus is still shut down due to COVID. Our middle daughter, Tori, really wants to attend John Hopkin’s University which is located in Baltimore (a fact I didn’t realize until I was talking to my friends in the DMV area trying to plan the trip…LOL). Anywho, I have a good girlfriend, Victoria Martin, who was able to give us a tour of that campus as well. Supporting our daughters and their hopes and dreams will always be a priority to us. We also believe in killing two birds with one stone, so family vacation it was!
An added bonus, DC did not play when it came to COVID protocols. Every restaurant we went too had strict guidelines on masks, temperature checks and even when we went to the spy museum the guard was like “keep your masks on at all times, you get one warning and then you will be removed from the property”. DC DID NOT PLAY!
Here are things I recommend when traveling with the family during a pandemic:
1. Fly Delta. As far as I know, Delta is the only airline still keeping first class to 1 customer per side and keeping the middle seat open in coach. That was very important to us because we didn’t want our daughters (or us for that matter) sitting right next to someone who will undoubtedly take their mask off for the bagged snacks or salami and cheese sandwich that they MUST eat during the flight. Limit close exposure as much as possible. They also have a “Comfort” section that gives us all the extra space and comfort we need to ease our minds.
2. Get Masks Inserts & Masks with Adjustable Ear Loops. These will save your life for extended periods of time wearing a mask when you also have to do a lot of talking. They are basically nose guards, if you will, that provides a gap between you and the mask and prevents that sucking in issue that happens when you breathe. You can find them on Amazon. Masks for the kiddos that have adjustable ear loops is a WIN. This comes in handy for toddlers, especially, because you want the max amount of comfort for those long stretches of being confined to a mask. We got ours from Gap Factory. I then lined them with these.
3. Avoid Hotels. I know a lot of people are hotel fans. I get that. For me and my family, being a family of 5, we prefer space (multiple bathrooms) and limited interactions with rogue (anti-makers) guests. Air Bnb or a similar company is the way to go. There is ZERO interaction with anyone outside of your family/party and you have the comfort of being able to disinfect properly. Prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner without having to risk repeatedly exposure to non-compliant people. (I realize some people’s ideas of a vacation is eating out. We definitely ate out but we did breakfast and sometimes lunch at our home away from home.)
4. Choose Outdoor Activities or Places That Have Limited Capacity – We did a lot of walking around the city or choose sites that had limited indoor capacity. I did not want to be crammed in any space with a large amount of people. That annoyed me pre-pandemic but now it’s a total no. There is so much to do that you don’t need to be confined. Create an itinerary that is fun and COVID friendly.
5. Follow the guidelines – Listen, on my IG stories I gave people to ask me questions (all of which I answered in this blog). One of them was “Would you regret this decision if one or more of your family members developed COVID”. That question caught me off guard but I had to think about it honestly. Of course, this is a fear of mine but I can honestly can say we followed every possible guideline imaginable. We wore our masks, we washed our hands (duh), we wiped down the airplane seats, seat belts, TV, arm rest, trays (yes, we were that family and I didn’t care). I got tested before I came (I did not test the kids because we are together at home, I figured if I had it, they had it and vice versa). We did everything humanly possible to be safe so IF (and I have been prayerful and remain optimistic that we don’t) IF we get it from this trip it was meant to be and we would have gotten it at the grocery store locally. We did everything humanly possible to be safe. I had to reconcile my fears with the reality that this virus may not ever go away so we have to find a way to live with it. (trust me... I’m still scared of getting it and definitely don’t want my kids to get it.)
This was a trip that my family will never forget and one that we needed. J & I even got in a date night!
My advice, if the walls are closing in on you and you feel like you and your family need to get away; plan and do it sis!
Be safe, take your vitamins, and stay prayed up!
Love & Light,