February 13, 2022

By: 
Rachel Strella

Vacationing During COVID: Worth the Hassle?

Vacationing during COVID

My husband and I recently returned from our annual winter vacation: a 10-night stay in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Before we left, I questioned whether traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic would be worth it. We had to navigate a series of protocols to enter Jamaica and return to the United States. 

With both of us recovering from COVID the week before our excursion, we were unsure if we would be cleared to travel. Fortunately, we received negative COVID test results the day before we left the U.S. 

However, navigating pandemic safety measures was only the beginning of the challenges ahead!

Delays, Bad Weather, and Flight Cancellations — Oh My!

Arriving in Jamaica

We arrived in Montego Bay around lunchtime on Wednesday, January 26th. I couldn’t wait to get off the plane and enjoy the sunshine and tropical surroundings. However, they detained us after landing because someone got sick in the plane bathroom. So, we had to wait for the Health Department to permit us to exit the plane. While we didn’t have to wait long, it was a frustrating way to kick off the trip.

Wacky Weather

Typically, Jamaica’s weather is sunny, with temperatures around 82-85 degrees. Occasionally, a passing shower may happen. This year, the cold front that pounded the northeast U.S. affected Jamaica during our stay. For several days, the temperature only rose to the low 70s, and winds of 25+ miles per hour caused a two-day beach closure. 

Last Minute Snafus

A few hours before we were to leave the resort for home, I received a notice that our flight was canceled. Then began the chaos of deciding whether to find another flight or stay at the resort another day. Both options had their downsides. Flights were filling fast, and those available were a good bit out of the way. Remaining at the resort meant we would have to: 1) pack our belongings and move to another room; 2) take another COVID test (we needed to test negative 24 hours before our flight), and; 3) pay an extra $450 for another night’s stay. 

We opted to book a flight with a layover in Dallas. Unfortunately, we learned it was delayed after we arrived at the airport. That caused us to miss our connecting flight, and we had to stay overnight in Dallas and then fly to Philadelphia in the morning before finally returning to Harrisburg. 

The Silver Lining

Despite the setbacks, we made the most of our trip. Upon arrival at the resort, we had beautiful weather and spent most of the day frolicking around the property. Aside from the two days of rain and cold, the weather was perfect for the remainder of our vacation. Plus, we took the opportunity to relax with a couple’s massage and take a nap! Also, while in Dallas, we met up with another #Strella team member who lives about 40 minutes from the airport.

So, Was It Worth It?

My former neighbor used to say, “You need a vacation after your vacation!” I agree, especially when you travel for an extended period of time. Thanks to the flight cancellations, we lost our buffer day, so I definitely felt some stress this week.

However, we had an absolute blast even with COVID-19 protocols, travel issues, and a few days of less-than-ideal weather. Would we do it again? Yup! We are already booked for the winter of 2023 and 2024! My only wish is that the pandemic and Mother Nature will show us some kindness and make our future trips a little less hectic. 😉 

If you want a quick escape from your day, check out this video of our trip

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