In September, I committed to taking a trip with some fellow travel agents to the Dominican Republic. I was so excited to take the trip, to get away from home, and to get my medicinal dose of blue water, white sand, and palm trees. But then the pandemic numbers started to skyrocket, and I was scared. I knew that once I was at my resorts, the protocols were in place to help keep me safe. But I was afraid of the airport and the plane. I was having mini panic attacks in the wee hours of the morning, but I decided to take the trip. I tested before I left, out of respect for my travel companions, and I hit the road.
Armed with a double layer of face masks, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, plus my usual assortment of in-flight supplies, I headed to Baltimore. I was pleasantly surprised to find the airport pretty empty when I arrived, and I was able to maintain quite a bit of distance the whole time. Southwest boarded the plane ten people at a time, and the flight was not full, so I felt good. I donned my sleep mask, my noise cancelling headphones, and my travel pillow, and got some great sleep!
I was near the front of the plane, so when we arrived at the Punta Cana airport, I was one of the first off and into the first airport shuttle. I stayed near the door, and bolted out when we got to the door to the arrivals terminal. In line, I was able to maintain distance and I still felt good, but I have heard from colleagues that it's the luck of the draw how this process goes. You could have multiple planes landing at once, and there could be people who don't care about maintaining distance. But I felt good.
Overall, my travel experience was great. My return experience was even better - the airport was pretty empty, the plane was really empty, and since I use Mobile Passport, I was the first person through immigration from my plane. The hardest part was making my way to the right walkway to the parking garage with my two heavy suitcases, heavy backpack, and tote bag filled with Dominican rum!
Am I eager to travel again during the pandemic? No. But am I afraid? Also no. And I think we can all agree that this view was well worth those little pre-departure panic attacks!