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After traveling to Jamaica at the end of July and having such a good experience, I jumped at the chance to go to Cancun last week. Spoiler alert, it was quite a different experience. 

I flew from Grand Rapids to Chicago and on to Cancun. Both of my flights were full, in fact, over-sold. American Airlines was still implementing the same safety protocols — mandatory face masks, no in-flight service, and asking all passengers to remain seated during the duration of the flight. Unlike a few of the other airlines, they are not leaving the middle seat open. 

Other than the flight because being completely packed, it was fine. I wasn’t super comfortable, but I wore my mask and face shield and tried to relax. For this trip I was traveling alone, so I think that made me a bit more on edge. 

While in Jamaica, the resorts where we stayed were around 20% occupancy. There was social distancing and serious safety precautions. For this trip, because it was hosted, I was not able to select the resort for my stay. Our group of travel agents were placed at the RIU Palace Peninsula in the Hotel Zone in Cancun. 

The resort was at 60% capacity which was the government allowance at the time I traveled. This felt like a lot to me. The resort didn’t feel crowded, but felt very full.

RIU Palace Peninsula

During COVID-19, everyones comfort level is different and I understand that. Personally, I traveled within my comfort level and am pointing out the practices and protocols that bother me. In my opinion, The RIU Palace Peninsula did a lot of things “right”…

  • Hand sanitizing upon entry to the hotel.
  • Washing/wiping of your shoes upon entering the hotel. 
  • Thermal temperature taken as you enter. 
  • Social distancing markers at check-in and at the buffets. 
  • Plexiglass barriers are the front desk. 
  • Enforcing masks be worn in the lobby and when you order at bars (with one exception). 
  • Elevators were marked for 4 guests per elevator.

However there were a few things that I felt they did very wrong and these few points bothered me. A LOT.

  • Buffets were still self serve with shared serving utensils (I was told they were changed out every 30 minutes and did see them changed once).
  • Social distancing was almost never followed by guests, especially at the buffet where guests would come right up behind you. In my experience when I hung back, guests would cut right in front of me.
  • Tables were not spaced out and there were no outdoor dining options.

I had quite a few problems with my stay at the RIU Palace Peninsula, as did almost all of the agents that I traveled with, but that’s a story for another day. Don’t ever request to stay there because I won’t send you. It was that bad.

The good news is that I visited 8 other properties in Cancun and saw and learned a ton! There are many resorts where I would feel comfortable staying and booking clients during this time. I think that the biggest takeaway from this trip is that to travel during COVID-19, you need to understand the protocols of each resort and where they fall within your comfort level. This is why traveling during this time is so important for me to do for my clients.

Will this experience deter me from traveling again soon? Absolutely not!!! Having visited two different countries now within the last 90 days, I feel comfortable traveling at this time and hope to get on a plane again soon! 😉

About a month ago, my husband and I visited Jamaica. While some of you may believe it is irresponsible to travel during this time, please remember that this is part of my job. I have many clients traveling over the next few months (quite a few to Jamaica) and part of my job to advise them. There is no better way to let them know what to expect than to experience it myself. That is why when Couples Resorts in Jamaica invited us down to spend five days learning all about their resorts, we jumped at the opportunity.

I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that we had second thoughts after confirming that we would join them. It wasn’t being in Jamacia that worried me, but rather the plane ride. Flights were limited and we departed from Chicago O’Hare, connected in Charlotte, and continued on to Montego Bay, Jamaica. 

We had our masks and face shields and hoped for the best. O’Hare Airport was nearly empty, as was our plane to Charlotte. The connecting flight to Montego Bay was about 80% full but no one sat next to us, although we did have people in the rows in front of and behind us.

Overall the flights went really well. Most everyone stayed seated throughout the duration of the flights and practiced social distancing as best they could. There was no beverage service on any of the flights and instead, we were handed a bag upon entering the place with a bottle of water, biscoff cookies, and a hand wipe.

Jamaica has regulations to enter the country including an approved travel authorization, negative COVID-19 test depending on your state of residence, health screening upon arrival, and temperature checks. There are also restrictions on where you can go within the country. We were required to sign a statement agreeing that we would not leave the resort.

Traveling right now is not for everyone. There are lots of rules and if you do not yet feel comfortable doing it there is no rush. But if you are comfortable and willing to follow the strict guidelines you may find yourself in what seems like your very own paradise as crowd levels are very low. I had such a good experience that in a few weeks I’m off again, this time to Cancun!