January 24, 2021

Rachel Strella

Vacation Is On, Despite the Pandemic


The Realities of Traveling Now

Prior to COVID-19, preparing for our annual winter vacation in Jamaica was relatively uncomplicated. We only had to worry about remembering to pack our passports, making sure I planned ahead so that my business affairs were in order for my 10 days away, and possibly encountering adverse weather. Thanks to the pandemic, there’s a lot more preparation involved this year.

Below are just a few of the new requirements:

  • Present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result to check in for a flight This test must be taken within 10 days of travel. (We were tested on Tuesday and they came back negative).
  • Submit a Travel Authorization document to check in and board the airlines. This must be completed within five days of travel.
  • **New, effective Jan 26** The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that effective January 26, 2021, all international travelers (including U.S. citizens) will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of their departure back to the United States. Fortunately, our resort will offer complimentary tests to meet this requirement.
  • Wear masks – It is mandatory at the departure airport check-in area (no online check-in available), the security checkpoints, the gates, and while boarding the plane and during flight. Masks are also required upon arrival at the Montego Bay Airport and our resort. Once we’re checked into our room, our masks can come off, but they still must be worn at the gift shop, photo shop, and restaurants until seated.

Will It Be Worth the Hassle?

I’ve been following the resort’s Facebook group conversations, and many people have questioned if they should keep their bookings for 2021 or re-schedule for next year. I see a lot of folks have decided to change their plans to 2022 in hopes of getting the vaccination before heading abroad. We decided a long time ago that we were going to go on vacation no matter what—barring anything beyond our control, such as travel restrictions, weather delays, or illness.

Here’s why

I’m Tired of Living in Fear.

I’m more fearful of my parents or stepchildren getting COVID than myself. I feel I am well enough to survive it, should it happen to me. For nearly a year now, we’ve played by the rules. I just can’t keep wondering, what if? anymore. I will stay as safe as possible, but I am weary of being scared and putting everything on hold.

We Need a Vacation Now More Than Ever.

My husband Nathan told me,We worked all damn year for this! He’s right. Like most people, we’ve experienced a lot of change and anxiety due to the pandemic. I respect those who have chosen to remain at home, but I believe that we can safely make this happen. We need it now more than ever before.

I’ve read the reviews of people who refuse to wear masks in large group settings in Jamaica or party like no pandemic exists. Please know that won’t be me! We’ve worked too hard to recklessly put ourselves at risk now. But we need this vacation, and we saved money all year for it. It’s the one thing we do for ourselves each year. After toiling away for 51 weeks, I’d say we’ve earned this one week to do nothing but relax and enjoy ourselves guilt-free.

Until We Meet Again

While on vacation, I will be taking a break from all things #Strella, but you’ll be able to catch my shenanigans on Instagram and read the wonderful columns we have lined up while I am gone. When I return, I’ll share my experience about traveling during the pandemic—including if it was, in fact, worth it! Ya mon! 🌴

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