The Evolution of Travel in the COVID Age; A Trip Inside a Travel Agent’s Own Adventures.

I have been saying for a while that folks CAN travel during COVID, but two key words right now are Flexibility and Adaptability

I am living proof.  Here is a glimpse into the mind of someone who NEEDS to travel to survive.  I know that sounds dramatic, but I am a nomad in a first world country.  I need to move.  I need to explore.  I need to be challenged. COVID has presented a particular type of struggle for people like me.  But I persevere…..and here is what it looks like.

Plan A – An AMA Waterways river cruise on the mighty Rhine

Early this year, my hubby and I booked a FAM trip (this is travel agent speak for a FAMiliarlization trip – it is an opportunity to scope out a particular travel vendor, sometimes at a discount) with AMA Waterways – a luxury river cruising company that I have wanted to patronize for a while.  I love their itineraries and commitment to clients!  I was super excited about this opportunity. 

Our river cruise departed from Basel and ended in Amsterdam.  Since we are particularly adventurous, we booked flights to Paris three days ahead of our cruise departure, giving us a chance to hang out in Paris, go to Disneyland Paris, then drive to Basel, Switzerland to meet our cruise.

We held out hope….then on September 15th, we received confirmation that our river cruise was cancelled.  We waited another couple days then figured Europe probably would still be closed off, so we scrapped Plan A.

Plan B – Costa Rica

In September, Costa Rica opened it’s borders to select US states, and Maine was one of them, with restrictions (negative COVID test and the purchase of additional medical insurance in case of contracting COVID while in Costa Rica resulting in a prolonged stay).  We were cool with this opportunity – I mean, my brother in law and his lovely wife had agreed to come stay at our house during our absence to be with the kids and pets and hang out, so we really wanted to take this time as a couple.

I found FABULOUS airline tickets on JetBlue with direct service to Costa Rica and the plans were made.  We were going to stay in an all inclusive and I made sure I purchased the Travel Insurance PLUS option which allowed me to cancel for any reason for a full refund in the original form of payment.  I purchased our additional medical insurance and we were ready.

Just this week, I was dotting the I’s and crossing t’s (like every good travel professional should be doing) and saw on my JetBlue account that our flights had been cancelled – no communication – no nothing from JetBlue (and I am surprised about this as I really like JetBlue and expected more from them. I later found out that somehow the email linked to these particular tickets was different than the email attached to my TrueBlue account….so that explains it!).

So, to rebook on another airline would have been crazy town expensive, so I called our resort vendor and cancelled for a full refund.  I was also granted a refund for our additional medical insurance.  On to to Plan C.

Plan C – the Great American Road Trip

OK – I didn’t have to think about this Plan long…..I am in love with Charleston, South Carolina.  I have been since I taught middle school there right after I graduated college (winter of 1997).  I have only been back once in 2000 and I have been telling my hubby ever since how much I love this city and want to bring him there.  Enter Plan C!!!!!

Our plan is to road trip to Asheville, North Carolina via an overnight stop in Winchester, VA, and see American’s largest private residence, Biltmore.  We will stay there two days so I can get my “castle/mansion” fix, then we will spend four nights in Charleston at a fabulous B&B.  We have plans to visit friends and family a couple nights, do a ghost/pub crawl in Charleston, tour Magnolia Plantation and Middleton Place Rice Plantation and also drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I cannot wait!!!!  Oh, we will also have fun listening to Harry Potter books on Audible as we drive (this was a wee bit of a concession on my part since our road trip is very history heavy – my love, not as much Kelly’s, although he has grown in his appreciation of all things old as of late).

So, there you have it.  Adaptability and flexibility.  If you want to get out there….go!  Sure, some things will be different but get out there and explore!  Use this time to do things you haven’t done before.  And follow our adventure right here!!!  Don’t miss out!

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