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Expert advice

If You Think Travel in the Time of Coronavirus is a No Go, Think Again

Travel advice from one Hilton Grand Vacations Owner on how he's resuming his travels — carefully

Derek R
Flat lay shot of COVID-19 travel essentials — face mask, hand sanitizer, camera, and sunglasses.

As the world stood still for a few months and took stock of the pandemic, everyone's travel plans went awry. My wife and I had planned an extended Las Vegas weekend in May for her birthday at the Elara, our ownership property. Additionally, we cancelled a trip to England with friends in June.

 

With the United States phasing out travel restrictions and Hilton Grand Vacations beginning to re-open select properties and implementing the Hilton CleanStay™ standards, we started re-planning some travel with cabin-fever-driven enthusiasm. 

Travel Planning Tips for Today's World

Historically, we pick a spot and go. Now, we're evaluating our destination when we initially plan and, again, as we get closer to our travel dates. 

We ask ourselves two questions.

  1. Is the resort open? 
  2. Is the resort located in a COVID-19 "hot spot?"

First up, that Elara reservation. We pushed it out to October, so we are more confident the trip will be a success. Closer in, we also made reservations for a first-time visit to Sunrise Lodge in Park City, Utah. 

Outside of the Sunrise Lodge trip, we were planning a Disney vacation in Orlando, Florida, to cap off the summer with our grandkids. However, as we get closer to August and Florida remains a Coronavirus hot spot, we've postponed. 

We'll reassess the safety of the Disney trip closer to November. 

Packing for the New Normal

Typically, for a long weekend trip, my wife and I pack lightly — taking only carry-on bags. That way, we don't have to stop the fun to visit the baggage carousel. However, for this trip, we'll bring more supplies than usual, and we are going to check one bag for both of us and take smaller carry-ons for the plane.

First, coffee. We love our morning coffee, and with familiar hotel mainstays like buffets and coffee stations no longer available in many locations, we wanted to prepare ourselves. There are a variety of different coffee makers in the rooms at Hilton Grand Vacations resorts, and we packed both cone and basket type filters, coffee pods, and some one-pot sized coffee sachets.

This way, no matter what, we can start our morning just the way we like. 

A mature couple wear face masks at the air-port on their way to vacation at Sunrise Lodge a Hilton Grand Vacations Club in Park City, Utah.

Second, safety measures. We packed a box of disposable face masks, some homemade cloth face masks and a few larger-than-three-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer. Our carry-on bags will also have smaller containers of hand sanitizer and a bunch of large individually wrapped sanitary wipes to clean hard surfaces as we make our way through security, on the flights and the rental car location.

New Travel Goals

The goal is to come prepared and be safe along the way while enjoying our Hilton Grand Vacations travels. It's also important that wherever our adventure takes us, we're able to comply with local mandates. 

Since this is our first big trip since the implementation of all the new protocols, I'm sure we'll have lessons to share when we return. In the meantime, we look forward to speaking with fellow travelers and hearing their COVID-19 travel tips. 

Read When a Pandemic Interrupts Life's Celebrations: 4 Missed Milestone Trips to Plan Now to start reimaging your traditions with Hilton Grand Vacations. 

Derek R

Ask Derek what his favorite vacation destination is and he’ll tell you it’s the next one. When he travels, he’s always on the go: sightseeing, taking walking tours, trying out all the best local restaurants. Somehow, he still finds the time to share his travel insights with friends, family and millions of people around the world. In fact, he’s a level 7 Local Google Guide in Northern Virginia, where he hails from, and his photos have exceeded 3 million views to date! Derek is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, so he knows a thing or two about seeing the world from different perspectives. While he and his family were stationed in the U.K. and Germany, they caught the travel bug and haven’t looked back since. He and his wife, Linda, are now Members at Elara, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club in Las Vegas. Derek is approaching retirement and planning to spend more time traveling the globe with Linda.

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