Travel is possible these days, it just takes a bit more planning and some extra steps but is so worth it!!!
I traveled to Sandals Montego Bay 11/6-11/13/20, I thought it would be helpful if I shared the steps along with my experience since I was very apprehensive before I traveled for the first time in 11 months (which is a crazy thought for a travel agent).
Since my travel date was Friday, 11/6/20 and I went to Jamaica, the current protocols are you need to have a negative PCR Nasal test with results within 9 days of travel. I scheduled my appointment at our local Rite Aid which does drive thru testing on Sunday, 10/25 for a test on Wednesday, 10/28. The test is very easy, you go thru the drive thru and the technician walks you thru the steps but you do everything yourself. Believe me, the first time, I had myself so worked up due to horror stories I had read online but it was a piece of cake!!! Test results came to our emails on Thursday afternoon, of course my husband’s results came at 4 pm and mine at 9:30 pm so I had a bit of a stress attack but all was fine. We printed our test results to take with us on the trip. Five days prior to the trip date, you apply for your Travel Authorization at www.visitjamaica.com, we did this on Sunday, November 1st. We were emailed almost immediately with our authorization and printed this to take with us on the trip.
At the airport on day of travel, the airline representative looked at our Covid test results and Travel Authorizations and checked to be sure our dates of birth and passport numbers matched and also the date of our test to be sure we had not tested too early. She gave us our boarding passes (we flew American from PHL) and we proceeded as normal thru security. At the gate, they again asked to see our test results and travel authorizations, I think they are just being sure they perform this new task correctly as it is an extra step for the airline. All in all, the airport was as normal with the added protocol of everyone wearing masks and adhering to social distancing. On the plane, only business class was offered food and drinks and also had the benefit of the extra roomy seating and disembarking first, definitely a plus. There is no alcohol allowed in coach but they do give you a bottle of water, snack and hand sanitizing wipes in a small bag when you board, you could take your own food and drinks on the plane, just no alcohol at this time as allowed in the past.
When we arrived in Jamaica, I had arranged and purchased Club Mobay which was always a great benefit but even more so now. They met us when we came off the plane and escorted us thru the process of temperature check, the health questionnaire, Customs and helped us with our luggage. We then went to the Sandals Lounge where they tagged our bags, offered us a cool drink and took us to our private transfer. Private transfers are complimentary with Club Elite and Butler room categories for Sandals Montego Bay, otherwise your included transfer is shared. The ride to the resort took all of 10 minutes so we were at the resort very quickly. You can always upgrade to private transfers if they are not included complimentary in your package.
We were checked in at the Club Sandals Lounge and taken to our room after being offered a Welcome Drink. The door to our room was sealed showing that no one had been in after it had been cleaned from the last guests. The rooms are spotless with hand sanitizer available and housekeeping does a great job every day of doing a thorough cleaning as they would when you checked out, this is done every day so they are working so much harder and are so happy to see guests. Everyone had a smile on their face, you could tell even with the mask on and had something pleasant to say to us every time we passed someone, whether it was a butler, the gardener, housekeeper or pool/beach attendant.
We spent 7 glorious nights at Sandals Montego Bay and I felt “normal” for the first time in a long time! The entertainment, food and drinks were over the top and the week went by way too quickly!!
On the Wednesday before we were leaving, we scheduled another test for Saturday morning (the day after we returned), this was purely for our peace of mind and again, the test was easy and results came thru Monday night. Again, this was our choice and not mandatory.
During this time, I feel everyone has the choice to do what they feel comfortable with and if the time is right for you to travel now, Bethany Travel will be by your side every step of the way. If the time is not right now, do yourself a favor and start planning for 2021 or 2022, you will feel so much better and plans can be changed if needed. This crazy time will come to an end at some point and the desire to travel will be stronger than ever making availability much less that it is now.
Feel free to contact me with any questions and remember “The Internet is for Looking, Bethany Travel is for Booking”!!