Aside from a few trips here and there, 2020 was just as slow of a travel year for me as it was for most people. However, my travel mode has been turned back on for 2021, and I’ve been busy experiencing various destinations so I can report back to other travelers.
Like most people, I have some hesitation prior to travel due to the current climate and risks involved, but traveling has always come with some sort of risk. Since it’s is a huge aspect of my job, I felt the need to get back out there in full force.
My latest trip was to the Dominican Republic, and I have to say I was extremely impressed with the safety protocols in this Caribbean destination.
After a trip in the fall, I said the flying experience has never been better, and this still holds true. Flights are slowly filling back up, but airlines continue to have travelers’ best interests in mind, and the health and safety protocols remain in place.
I almost always fly with Delta Air Lines, and it is currently the only U.S. carrier blocking middle seats through March. In addition to spacing out passengers, the airline boards starting with the back of the plane to avoid unnecessary interaction. Passengers are handed a disinfectant wipe when they enter the aircraft, and each plane is sanitized between flights.
Upon arrival in the Dominican Republic, there was plenty of room to spread out in the airport. Everyone was wearing a mask, and there are space markers placed to let people know where to stand while waiting in line.
I stayed at the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana, which is located only about 20 minutes away from the airport. When I arrived, my luggage, shoes and hands were sanitized, and all employees were wearing masks.
The enhanced hygiene procedures were noticeable not only at arrival but throughout the entire stay. The door of my room had a safety seal on it; masks were mandatory indoors and during staff and guest interaction, and hand sanitizer was strategically placed throughout the resort.
Many of the resorts in the Dominican Republic are spaced out, providing guests with a natural way to social distance. It never felt too crowded, and guests can still participate in all the activities they are hoping for. From lounging near the beach and pool to dining in the various restaurants and using the gyms and spas, everything is still available for guests to enjoy.
I landed back on U.S. soil prior to the CDC’s new requirement of all air travelers entering the U.S. to have a negative COVID-19 test.
However, it didn’t take long for the Dominican Republic to announce that they are offering free COVID-19 antigen testing for all international visitors staying in a hotel. The tests are administered by health personnel on-site at no cost. PCR tests are also available at an additional cost.
Many of the hotels and resorts, including the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana where I stayed, are also offering free or discounted extended stays for visitors if they happen to test positive. Otherwise, there are several insurance plans that offer this assistance as well, and your travel advisor can make sure this is included in your vacation package.
I know travel restrictions vary from state to state, but the safety protocols in place where I live are nothing compared to what I experienced in the Dominican Republic. The destination is doing everything in its power to keep people safe in order to continue providing a safe retreat for international visitors.
If you’re going to walk into a public place back home anyway, you might as well have it be an airline that takes you to that much-needed vacation you’ve been waiting for.
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