Marvelous Mouse agent Lindsay Smith gives us a great perspective on traveling during this unusual time!
When travel resumed in June, travel agents everywhere jumped in the first available plane, train or
automobile that would take them to their favorite vacation destinations. When the CDC lifted the No Sail Order last month, Royal Caribbean announced that in just 24 hours, more than 20,000 people had signed up for their mock sailings – many of whom were travel agents.
Travel agents were sure that clients would feel the same about travel resuming and would be thrilled to pack their bags and finally take their long-awaited vacations. However, the growing sentiment is not fear of Coronavirus, but rather, “I don’t want to wear a mask on my vacation. I don’t want to be reminded of this virus during my personal time.”
I get it. I will follow all rules and regulations and wear my mask when required, but it’s not my idea of a good time. However, I wanted to travel. My family wanted to travel. My friends wanted to travel. Even more so – we NEEDED to travel.
According to a report from the CDC on August 14, 2020, symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably during April-June 2020. Our vacations were cancelled. Our family gatherings were cancelled. Our daily way of life was cancelled. We remained indoors to protect ourselves and others. For the foreseeable future, our holiday traditions will most likely be altered because of limits on social gatherings.
A study conducted by Nature Neuroscience in early 2020 tracked 132 people prior to the Coronavirus pandemic. Baseline assessments measured depression and anxiety and geolocation tracking apps tracked their activity, along with text messages asking about their current mood at random times during the study. At the end of the study, participants repeated the same initial depression and anxiety assessment as well as MRI scans. The results were a strong correlation between positive emotions and diverse activity, and participants responded with emotions such as “happy”, “relaxed” and “excited” when the tracker showed the respondent visiting different locations throughout the day.
A quick Google search will return numerous studies with the same outcome. In this alternate universe we are living in, traveling, even in a mask, is one of the most normal things you can do and could be beneficial in elevating your mood and overall outlook. Traveling in a mask doesn’t remind you of your current situation; it helps you escape it – safely.
I will never forget the first trip my family took in June to a beach house in Oak Island, NC. After 3 nights, we began the drive home and my 7 year old started to cry. He didn’t want to go back home. He didn’t want to go back to an environment where he stared at the same walls every day and was reminded of everything he was missing. The vacation was the most normal he had felt in months – even while wearing a mask!
We visited Walt Disney World in August with the same result. Face coverings are
required in the parks and all public areas but my children didn’t complain once. Sure, the experience was a little different but the outcome was the same. Smiles. Excitement. Fresh air. Escape.
Thinking of cancelling your next trip because of mask requirements? This is where your travel agent can be a huge asset! Express your concerns. Work with your agent to come up with a travel solution that works best for you! There are many destinations, such as all-inclusive resorts, that do not require a mask while on site because of pre-testing requirements! Still want to travel to Walt Disney World but worried about a mask? Your travel agent can help you plan activities and “mask-breaks” that will make your trip more enjoyable!
I encourage you to take the trip. Travel out of the box you’ve been living in since early 2020. By waiting for mask requirements to be lifted, you may be missing out on exactly what you didn’t know you needed! Take advantage of these opportunities to escape your “new normal” and find the joy in traveling again!