If I'm honest, I was scared and not because I was concerned if the airports and airlines would follow protocol because I knew they would. After all, it is mandatory, and they need to make money. At least I was confident that they would do all they could without physically enforcing the rules. I was more concerned about the people. You've watched the news channels CNN, CBS, and Roland Martin, so you've heard about the debates "to masks or not to mask," and again, to be honest, this is a ludicrous debate. Hi, my name is Toni Reid, and I love the beauty, culture, and adventure that comes from traveling across the U.S. and abroad; and I want to inspire others to do the same. This is a blog about what I've learned during my recent travels during the 2020 pandemic. I think of wearing the mask if it keeps me and those around me safe and healthy. It's a little sacrifice for a finite period because the empirical evidence shows that wearing a mask saves lives. Aside from disabilities or medical conditions, in my opinion, it should be illegal not to wear a mask.
Under the U.S. Constitution's 10th Amendment and U.S. Supreme Court decisions over nearly 200 years, state governments have the primary authority to control the spread of dangerous diseases within their jurisdictions. The 10th Amendment gives states all powers not explicitly given to the federal government, allows them the authority to take public health emergency actions, such as setting quarantines and business restrictions. This is why we don't have a uniform policy on wearing masks despite the thousands of deaths the U.S. It all boils down to our fellow citizens not wanting to sacrifice a little now to gain a lot later.
I traveled through four airports for this trip. The airports, or at least most of them, did a fantastic job of reminding travelers of the safety precautions. However, some airports did a better job than others, and in these instances, I was nervous. It was easier to count the number of people with a mask at one of the airports than those without a mask. The airport staff would walk past these individuals as if it was a regular day. These travelers ignored the overhead announcements repeatedly.
Through the airport, I noticed more than I wished of people not following the rules. Some of my experiences were of people removing their mask to sneeze, talking, and not putting it back after eating or drinking. I notice travelers walking around with their masks under their chin and masks that are not snug around their nose and chin.
I was lucky enough to have an entire row to myself on the plane, or the middle seat was empty on the airlines. So, for the most part, I was more comfortable, and they were consistent about reminding travelers to keep their masks on. However, passengers were allowed to remove their masks and eat. I kept my mask on and did not eat and resisted removing my mask as long as I could, but flying dehydrates you, so I moved my mask up and took a few sips of my water.
My hotel's lobby was a bit empty, but the service was pleasant. The remote was in a sealed plastic bag; almost everything was touchless. You would use your phone to scan a QR code and manage the TV from your phone.
The attitudes of the travelers, for the most part, were typical. I didn't experience any extreme negative attitudes; however, I did come across a few rude and impatient travelers. I traveled a bit pre-pandemic, so I was used to the occasional rough traveler. In these instances, I just brushed them off, which is better than engaging them.
Overall, once I arrived at my destination I thoroughly enjoyed myself while staying safe and I was happy about the adventure. Most establishments had contactless stations for ordering food and entry to activities. They also was strict about the number of people they'd allow in. Would I travel again, and would I travel internationally? Yes, I will travel domestically again despite my occasional nervousness. I kept myself safe by wearing a double mask, goggles, gloves, and a hood or scarf (check out my youtube video). I avoided crowds and kept my movement to a minimum by not visiting the airports' restrooms, stores or restaurants. Pre-pandemic I enjoyed the airport experience because it gave me a sense of the locals, and I met new people. Will I travel internationally? The answer is maybe only because of the political climate and international prohibition. So I've put a pause on my international plans for now. Besides, I don't want to spend my money to fly to a beautiful destination only to be restricted on what I can experience.
Check out my Instagram stories for more details about this 12-day trip from D.C. to Florida to California and return to get tips and hacks for your next trip.