So, we did it! My family took our first trip since the pandemic started. My brother got married last week and we decided to make our way across the country to see it happen. To be honest, leading up to the trip I did not want to think about it much because it caused a lot of stress. There is so much conflicting information out there. Is it really safe to travel? Is it not? I have heard planes are safer than grocery stores, but is it really true? Am I a bad mom if I drag my 11-year-old along? (The mom guilt is real!) Workwise, I had a lot going on. Realtors are busier than ever in the period between when a contract is signed and when a home closes, and I had a couple clients with homes in that category. Also, who was going to help the buyers who would need me to show properties or write a contract? (The workaholism is also real.) That brings me back to the central concern – what if I get infected from the trip? I don’t want to put my family, clients, and friends in danger… but it was such an important day for my brother and I really wanted to be there to share it with him. So, I sucked it up, committed to doing everything in my power to travel safely, and got on the plane. And it was fine. If you are planning a trip soon, here are a few things you can do to make it not so bad:
Getting a COVID test is one of the best things you can do before travel to ensure that you do not pose a risk to those you are traveling with or those you will meet at your destination. The Health Section of the Arlington County Website provides information and locations for the testing sites not just in Arlington but across the D.C. Metro area. Arlington County has also compiled a list of at-home COVID-19 test kits that allow you to collect a sample at home. Or simply call your physician for advice on what to do and where to go.
I try to take vacations at least once a year, but for some reason, I felt extra bad about leaving my clients this time around. The only difference between this and a regular vacation is that I had to make sure that the team I relied upon to support me and my clients in my absence would adhere to the same safety standards I do when showing or otherwise visiting properties. Much of my other work is, fortunately, easily done remotely. The one silver lining to COVID is that many of us can work remotely more than ever before, making travel easier. Whatever your work situation, treat your COVID travel just like any vacation. Make sure you have someone in place to cover what you cannot.
Just like remote work, remote school could actually make a vacation during the school week doable. Unfortunately for us, we were going to a time zone three hours behind. A 5:30am start time is not really doable for a sixth-grader. And even if the time zone is the same, the setting of your vacation site might not be conducive to distance learning. In our case, we let my son’s teacher know the situation and made arrangements for him to join the online class later in the day and make up work at the end of each day. With the exception of the day of the wedding, this worked perfectly for us.
If traveling within the United States, check the county website for published information about COVID. Some locations may even have required quarantines, so be sure to check this. If you are traveling abroad, please check the U.S. Department of State’s Traveler Information Website to learn all you need to know.
Another great way to know what to expect is to visit your airline’s website and whatever airport you will depart from. We flew Delta. They had excellent sanitation policies and other helpful instructions laid out on their website. Both Dulles and Reagan National have safety updates and information on their websites as well.
The most important thing I learned about myself on this trip is that I need to wear a mask that ties in the back for long periods. I have a pretty standard mask that loops behind the ears and the backs of my ears were super sore by the end of the flight! You will need to keep your mask on during the flight, although you can remove it to eat or drink. I also had a face shield, but it gave me a headache. I only wore it when we boarded and departed the plane. Clorox wipes or something similar is great for wiping down the plane seats for that extra layer of protection beyond any measures taken by the airline. Free sanitizer was everywhere we went, but I like to bring my own and I would not count on it. Gloves are also helpful if you bring multiple disposable pairs to avoid cross-contamination. Finally, Delta did provide snacks, but most airlines (Delta included) are not able to provide the same level of offerings. I brought pretzels and it got me through it.
I brought home design magazines and took advantage of the in-flight entertainment to get me through it. I barely remembered I was wearing a mask. Bring whatever you need to distract yourself!
TTR Sotheby’s International Realty is regarded as one of the highest-performing real estate firms in the United States. With nine offices and over 450 sales associates across Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, our commitment to professional service, integrity, and community leadership allowed us to capture more than $3.17 Billion in closed sales in 2018, while also serving as one of Washington D.C.’s foremost leaders in corporate philanthropy.
TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 200
Arlington, Virginia 22201