Traveling During COVID-19
Since March I have largely been isolated from the outside world thanks to COVID-19. Being able to isolate was a blessing considering so many essential workers had to be out there during the pandemic. And of course medical personnel across the country have done amazing things as well. I want to personally send a HUGE THANKS to all of the essential workers who have been keeping things moving along.
And whether you agree with it or not, moving along is what many parts of the country are doing. Las Vegas opened last Thursday and I was there to cover it for the site. A lot of readers view our posts about Vegas, so it made sense to get back into the world. I’m not quite sure I was ready for what I saw, but I also tremendously enjoyed the experience as well. That was a theme that carried through all of my travels this weekend.
Vegas Is Being Vegas
As I documented in video, Vegas largely returned back to normal this past weekend. Yes, casinos installed sanitizing stations and they provide optional masks, but very very few people were wearing them and as the weekend went on additional videos I saw made it clear that social distancing wasn’t being practiced in the crowds.
When I was on the Strip what I saw was people trying to get back to some sort of normalcy. Vegas is about fun and largely people were doing the same things they did before COVID-19. They gathered in clumps in casinos, cheered each other on, laughed, joked, drank, smoked and used little protection from what I could see.
My Road Trip to Phoenix
I also traveled to Phoenix this weekend. I’ve been looking at buying a Tesla for a long time, but have been actively waiting to buy for a month. Seeing as I was already going to be out of the house for the Vegas reopening, I felt it made sense to time the purchase of the car to the same weekend.
So on Saturday morning I drove over to the McCarran International Airport rental car center and got a one-way rental from National. It was a small taste of my old life. The center was largely abandoned and National only had 9 or 10 vehicles available. Thankfully a free night cert from One Two Free got me a $6 rental to Phoenix. Not bad.
Picking Up the Tesla
Being out on the open road was fantastic and before long we were in Phoenix at the Tesla Service Center where I picked up my 2014 Model S social distancing style. Everything was completed ahead of time so a few signatures was all it took to get my new car and employees all wore masks. Why did I get a 2014? Well, I got a great deal and decided to save the money over going with a newer model. My car only has 30K miles and was in better condition than most 2016-2017 vehicles I was looking at. I have learned a lot about scoring a deal on a used Tesla this past month and I’ll do a write up about my experience soon.
After picking up the car we headed to a hotel for the night. It was simply too late to drive back and so we booked a Hyatt of course! 🙂 My favorite Hyatt in the area Andaz Scottsdale was very expensive, so I opted for the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch. It’s a Destination Hotels property, giving me another brand on my quest towards another Hyatt Brand Explorer free night!
Back to Hyatt Life – Similar But Different
When we arrived at the property it was like walking into the twilight zone. There were glass barriers at check-in and staff was wearing masks, but none of the guests were. We largely avoided indoor areas with other people, but in several instances I saw no one wearing masks or any other protection. There was also a lot of comingling. It’s clear a large portion of the population is beginning to travel again and many/most of them don’t feel there is a danger.
As for the hotel, it’s pretty good. Hyatt has four large resorts in this area and this one seems like the lowest tier of all of the them. With that said my room was $92+ tax for the night so I wasn’t complaining. If I’m in the area and the Andaz Scottsdale is available for a decent rate, I’ll return there, but this was solid given the price.
Traveling During COVID-19 Felt Good, But It’s Not That Simple
And now I have a confession to make. Well maybe not a confession since it’s in the title and up top, but let me just say how good it felt to be traveling. It felt satisfying to be in a hotel and to be on the open road. It was exciting to see something other than my own house for a change, but there is another side. We wore masks everywhere and socially distanced, but being around so many people indoors (especially unmasked people) caused some anxiety.
I know people who have strong political viewpoints about this are probably getting ready to chime in to either shame me for traveling or to tell me I am an idiot for being scared of people without masks. But the truth is I think many of you are probably in a similar position. I don’t quite know how anyone is so certain of anything at this point and for many of us travel is how we have chosen to spend great portions of our lives. We focus on earning rewards, planning trips and we thoroughly enjoy every moment of the experience so it’s important. Are you torn?
This Is A Huge Learning Experience
I concede that it is indeed possible the virus is weakening and everything is going to be fine, but also that the opposite could be true. Many medical professionals fear the spread will be even worse the second time around. We will have to wait and see. I am hoping for the best and taking caution in case things aren’t quite so rosey. And to be honest I don’t know what else to do. I traveled, but I don’t think I’ll be leaving again for awhile. That’s just my personal opinion for myself.
No matter what the outcome of all of this is and no matter what we ultimately learn about the dangers of COVID-19 when looking at it in the rear view mirror, I plan to look deeply and honestly at my opinions and beliefs during the pandemic and how they varied from the eventual learned truth. I hope you all do the same as well. We will be better because of it.
Have you been traveling during COVID-19? Specifically have you gotten out recently since restrictions have been eased or lifted? Share your experiences below and your opinion. I look forward to reading what everyone has to say!