Riding out the COVID-19 Second Wave Away from Home
Options and Ideas for Families with School Age Children
For those of us who thrive on looking ahead and making plans, thanks to COVD-19 the first half of 2020 has been a master class in flexibility and patience.
And of course no one really knows what the rest of the year will bring. This global crisis is truly unprecedented and scary for everyone. As we've been hearing from around the world; we are all in this together!
For families with school age children, one of the biggest unknowns is what school will look like for the 2020/2021 academic year.
While it sounds like early fall will bring at least some in person educational instruction, increasingly we’re hearing about the idea of an extended winter break that would involve online only instruction between Thanksgiving and New Years. If we’re in the middle of a second wave of the novel coronavirus, the reasoning is that this would minimize spread following students and staff celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family.
After countless conversations with our clients across the United States who are considering the reality of this scenario it’s become clear that we have a unique opportunity to do the best we can in planning for a second wave.
Of course, as with all things related to this pandemic, there is still a lot we just don’t know. It is important to understand that the novel coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to travel globally. If you are choosing to move ahead with planning future travel, prior to all countries being reopened from their initial pandemic response, your trip may be impacted by restrictions, policies, requirements and other considerations.
At Videre Travel we are unable to predict any situation that might impact your travels and honor the fact that every family has their own risk tolerance around traveling right now.
As destinations get ready to welcome visitors again, everyone is working hard to strike a balance between allowing for economic recovery through tourism, protecting vulnerable citizens and creating an enjoyable yet safe environment for travelers.
To do so, we are all embracing responsible travel and responsible tourism in this new normal.
All travelers should be respectful of the fact that in order to keep everyone safe – fellow travelers, tourism workers, citizens of the host country – the ongoing threat of COVID-19 should not be taken lightly and will require some adjustment by all.
Below, we have compiled some of the most urgent questions we’re fielding every day in an FAQ format with actionable tips. We are working to keep this as up to date as possible as this is a fast moving story.
We would love to work with your family to make some plans for the second half of 2020, and of course into 2021 and beyond!
1. Should I book flights now or wait until we get closer to December?
Most airlines are offering maximum flexibility on flights booked before June 30th. If you’re planning to travel in the coming year, now is a good time to get some flights booked.
Prices are not rock bottom low right now (and candidly we don’t expect them to ever steeply discount as travel reopens) but they are available. And you can book with the most flexible cancellation and change terms you will likely ever see.
While canceling flights may not automatically result in a refund, if you’re ok with airline credit booking before June 30th will allow for maximum flexibility.
If you were forced to cancel travel plans due to the coronavirus and are holding credit with the airlines, this is a great opportunity to use those credits as well.
2. What destinations will be good in December? We want warm weather!
The timing of this second wave will coincide with the arrival of cold weather across most of North America. We’ve put together a list of destinations that are well-suited for a longer-stay quarantine.
These are destinations that are easily accessible with direct flights, safe for families, managed the early part of the pandemic well, have reasonable health services in place and offer plenty of villa and condo inventory with strong wi-fi connectivity.
Our top recommendations include;
Nosara Costa Rica
While Nosara is a small surf town located on the Nicoya peninsula on Costa Rica’s eastern coast, “Nosara” is generally also a catch-all term for the whole area between Playa Nosara to the north, the small inland town of Nosara, and Playa Guiones to the south.
You won’t find high-rise condos or large resorts here. The area is dotted with private homes and small boutique hotels. In fact, there is a legal requirement for any business, hotel or restaurant to be set back 250 meters from the beach, which has resulted in a spectacular wild landscape along this pristine stretch of coastline. Surfing and yoga are both popular pass times in this corner of Central America.
Placencia Belize is a charming, low-key fishing village located at the southern tip of the Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize. Bordered on one side by a lovely mangrove-lined lagoon and on the other by the Caribbean Sea, Placencia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
The Placencia Peninsula measures approximately 19 miles from north to south but is just half a mile wide. With the look and feel of an island, it’s no surprise that Placencia is often described as the “caye (island) you can drive to.”
Here there are several new condo developments, yet despite a rush of recent development Placencia has successfully managed to retain its old-world charm. Locals still head out to sea every morning in small boats to bring in the daily catch, and visitors can meander along the village’s 4,000-foot long “main street” that is a pedestrian-only sidewalk adorned with colorful murals and artwork.
And the food! Fragrant with tropical fruit trees and surrounded by sparkling waters, Placencia offers an incredible variety of food made with the freshest ingredients. Lobster, conch and lionfish are popular seafood offerings, and you’ll enjoy tamales and tacos alongside Caribbean-influenced dishes. Dozens of varieties of mangoes, fresh cashews, dragonfruit and water apples make for impressive fruit salads, while locally made chocolate, gelato and coconut pies will tempt those with a sweet tooth.
Los Cabos Mexico
Los Cabos, one destination conformed by two beautiful towns, Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, has been booming not only for tourism but as an American expat base in recent years. As such, the area offers solid infrastructure for an extended stay.
San Jose del Cabo is home to a picturesque atmosphere of a slow-paced Mexican “pueblo” complete with narrow streets and beautiful main plaza. Cabo San Lucas, on the other hand, is more modern and developed.
For foodies, Los Cabos’ farm-to-table dining scene is a main draw. Many restaurants and hotels are using fresh and local ingredients, including fresh catch, fresh veggies, seasonal cocktails, fresh baked bread, etc. Some restaurants and hotels have an onsite organic garden, which allows guests to get up close with their ingredients with cooking demonstrations.
Here we have plenty of villa and condo inventory with a strong infrastructure of wi-fi and other services.
Palm Springs California
While Palm Springs is, of course, not located on the beach, here we have access to villa and condo inventory and plenty of pools. For travelers who are hesitant to travel internationally, Palm Springs California is a great option.
Known throughout the world as the mecca of modernism, Palm Springs enthusiastically embraces and celebrates the midcentury modern design aesthetic. The city got the reputation honestly by having the world's largest concentration of midcentury modern architecture. Palm Springs is sheltered by the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the north, the Santa Rosa Mountains on the south, and the San Jacinto Mountains to the west. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking and getting outside, particularly during the mild weather in December.
Kiawah Island is a barrier island with ten miles of wide, immaculate, oceanfront beach. The beach is complemented by the island’s river, meandering lagoons, pristine marshlands and maritime forests. While the summer months are peak tourist season here, mild temperatures in December make it a great option for a warmer weather, domestic destination. The island is actually a private gated community, with plenty of home rentals suitable for longer stays.
3. Should I purchase travel insurance for this trip? What even would be covered if we cancelled super last minute?
Travel insurance protects your financial investment in upcoming travel as well as your health and safety while traveling. We suggest in the strongest of terms purchasing travel insurance for each and every family trip. The COVID pandemic crisis led to some sweeping changes in the insurance industry, underscoring the importance of clear and full understanding of coverage on the part of the traveler.
4. How is air travel looking? What changes can we expect?
Today, airports are open and for the most part everyone - both travelers and airport/ airline staff - want to be safe while traveling. You can expect to have your temperature checked at least once during transit either by thermal detector or perhaps even manually. All airlines have made mask wearing throughout your journey mandatory.
In some destinations you will be required to download a QR health questionnaire to your phone upon arriving or departing where you will answer a few questions and scan your passport as part of the security and immigration procedures.
As we move towards fall, it’s likely we’ll see additional health and safety measures put into place.
5. Will we have to quarantine if we travel in December?
It's just way too early to tell. A quarantine is certainly a possibility. Of course as we get closer to December we'll have a better understanding.
With flexible reservations in place, we can keep an eye on things and make a last minute decision to travel or not.
Taking the time now to plan for a potential long stay to ride out the 2nd wave of the coronavirus will not only guarantee the best possible trip if and when the time comes, it may give you something to look forward to in an otherwise fairly dark period of time. Schedule a call today to discuss options and get started planning.
Even if you’re not comfortable booking something for December, remember, one day this pandemic will be behind us. We strongly encourage families to book early for all 2021 travel as we expect to see massive pent up post-pandemic demand. Contact us today to get started planning!