"The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting." ― Andy Warhol
After 16 long months, on Monday I completed a journey full of firsts: back in airports, on planes, dining indoors, staying at a hotel, and most importantly - seeing my best friends and family in Pittsburgh, PA. None of my family live in New York City, and the pandemic kept us painfully apart. I imagined all these firsts might be a little stressful initially and emotionally charged. The reality was something I could never have predicted. There in Pennsylvania, especially with newly relaxed mask mandates, it felt as though 2020 just... didn't happen, like we skipped right over it, like the last time I was back in Pittsburgh to see everyone wasn't Christmas 2019 but last Christmas. Only... last Christmas I was at home alone, calling weary COVID-19 cases and contacts as a part of the NYC Test + Trace Corps. But being in Pittsburgh with fully vaccinated people doing ordinary things like going to my cousin's high school graduation party made life seem surprisingly normal. Time had become a trickster. It was bizarre and also a relief. Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon when reuniting with loved ones? I'd love to hear about it!
So how was it to travel again? Almost as exciting as it was as a kid, marveling at being above the clouds (and not inside home), with all the expectant anticipation only a much-needed vacation brings! Practically speaking, I advise everyone to sign up for CLEAR. From curbside to gate only took about 10 minutes. If you're not familiar, CLEAR uses biometrics like eye scans. Simply go to the CLEAR security kiosk section (usually right beside TSA Pre-Check), scan your face in the screen, then go to the very front of the security line - ahead of everybody else. You don't remove your shoes or anything from your bags. You BREEZE through security in under five minutes. It's AWESOME.
I flew Delta, and the flying experience was just as before, only now with added language about keeping your mask on during flight. The cabin attendant announced it in the same breath as how to buckle your seat belt, and it's already seamlessly part of the regular thank you speech at the end. Nobody made a fuss, and everyone was even wearing them correctly. We travelers adapt. We just want to get where we're going. And remember - those overhead air vents deliver HEPA-filtered air directly to you! Also do download the Fly Delta app when you fly with them, and you stay updated throughout your journey.
For the hotel portion of my trip, I'm really fond of the Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh airport hotel because it's connected to the terminal and a five minute walk from lobby to security - perfect for my favorite 6am flight back to NYC. As a Hyatt member, I got a free upgrade to their runway view room too! Using the World of Hyatt app, I checked in online and got a notification when my room was ready, including the room number. When I arrived, I could use the app on my phone to open my door, and I checked out on the app too, dropping my key off at Reception as I left. Contactless check-in is such a time saver!
Some key takeaways:
Yes, flying can be fun again! Wear your mask, keep calm, and carry on. Wear an N-95 in the airport and on the plane if it makes you feel better. I did!
Download the apps for your airline and hotel and take full advantage of all their features. When you work with Nine Muses Travel, I send you a comprehensive list of trusted travel sites and apps too!
Travel is not as intimidating as you may have built up in your mind recently. You can do it!
You'll be so glad you booked your trip and happy to arrive, you really won't care about the masks.
Contact me before you book anything on your own! Let me help you navigate the fluidity of travel regulations as well as find you the best travel options - with promotions, perks, and amenities you couldn't arrange on your own.
Lastly, I'm asking you to trust me on what I'm about to tell you. Think of where you'd like to travel this year or next year, and book it now. Lock in your rates and get the availability you want. Secure a RISK-FREE promotion if you book your trip by June 30th, and you can cancel or change your dates OR destination for ANY REASON up to 7 days prior to departure and rebook in over 100 countries. It will be incredibly sad if you wait too long to book your trip for 2021, 2022, or even 2023 only to find the prices are exponentially higher than you expected - if you can even find the availability you want. The travel rebound is real; it's happening, and I don't want you to get left behind or have to pay far more later because you decided to wait - not when you can book risk-free now.
So many places are opening up right now! Yesterday Spain announced it's welcoming fully vaccinated Americans as well as unvaccinated children; ages 6-17 must show proof of a negative test. France is re-opening this week too! On Saturday, Cuba ended the quarantine for visitors with accredited tour operators (the kind Nine Muses Travel exclusively partner with) and present a negative PCR test less than 72 hours prior to check-in. You'll need to await results of a second PCR test on arrival while you chill in your hotel room, and the results should take less than 24 hours. What an INCREDIBLE time to visit Cuba with fewer tourists! I saw Havana this way when they emptied it out for President Obama's visit, and the city was magical then. I highly recommend!
More and more destinations are opening up all the time now. Let me help you make sense of it all because you deserve to take a break - for your heart, body, mind, and soul, for your friends, your family, and for yourself. IT'S BEEN A LONG YEAR. You owe yourself a getaway!
WHY USE A TRAVEL ADVISOR? Nine Muses Travel offers a premium experience with flights, guides, drivers, rental vehicles, and the best accommodations to maximize your time, with expert advice on how to get the most out of any destination. We INCLUDE amenities for you at the world's finest hotels, the BEST OF THE BEST!
Complimentary room upgrades at check-in, subject to availability
Complimentary daily breakfast
Early check-in / late check-out, subject to availability
Nine Muses Travel works with exceptional land operators who add unparalleled value:
RISK-FREE bookings you can change for any reason up to 7 days prior (sometimes less)
World Travel & Tourism Council "Safe Travels" stamp of approval
Arrangements for PCR testing internationally before your return to the U.S.
Expert guides: artists, historians, naturalists, unique locals with insider tips & insights
Flexibility with your touring - See and do as much, or as little, as you prefer!
24/7 real-time support
I design journeys that inspire artists, arts lovers, and intellectually curious travelers seeking authentic arts, culture, history, and cuisine for life-changing, joyful discoveries with special insider access and VIP amenities, all over the world. Let's start planning your next adventure!
Danielle Dybiec | Founder & President