Traveling Amidst The Pandemic

Shortly after my parents received their second dose of COVID vaccines, they became overly excited about going out, especially my mom, who has been stuck working at home since March 2020. After a few weeks, my mom approached me and said that her friend was taking her, me, and my dad to Las Vegas. I wasn’t sure if that was a great idea, given that we were in the midst of a pandemic, but I didn’t have a choice so I went with them. Luckily, we still took lots of precautions as we traveled.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, people who have been fully vaccinated with a Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccine or a World Health Organization-approved vaccine for emergency use can travel freely within the United States. Masks must be worn at all times while traveling, especially in public places and on transportation. Staying 6 feet away from people you are not traveling with, as well as washing your hands and using hand sanitizer, are also essential. 

Before you travel, make sure to check to see if your accommodation(s) follows health guidelines and can provide adequate air circulation, such as a room with plenty of windows and a terrace. Bring sufficient personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers or alcohol.  

How was the airport, you ask? Just the thought of going to the airport was already terrifying since it is usually very crowded pre-pandemic. But it was surprisingly not that crammed when we got there. Most stores were closed, and everyone was wearing masks and social distancing, which lessened a burden on my shoulders because people were being safe. Upon arrival at my destination’s airport, it was, you guessed it, crowded. But not as crowded compared to situations before the pandemic. Everyone was trying their best to comply with health guidelines and were being mindful. 

During travel, avoid taking public transportation and instead walk if possible. We walked down the Las Vegas strip, which was very walkable and convenient. We saw more sights and shops while walking than we would have if riding in a car. The only drawback was that there were a lot of people walking around, so I recommend avoiding crowds as much as possible and wearing your masks above your nose all the time. 

Most of the places we visited were not overcrowded, but I heard that a lot of places were crammed as if there was no pandemic going on. People were trying to be mindful as much as possible while still having fun, and I didn’t see any anti-maskers. Oh wait, I actually did see a couple who weren’t wearing masks. I assumed they were eating and that’s why they didn’t have any on, but they were not. What shocked me the most is there were people bringing their babies to public places; some even looked like newborns. Poor kids.

Was my travel during the pandemic worth it? I’d say it’s split 50/50. I still went to school every morning until noon, so I only had a few hours to explore since almost all restaurants, stores, and malls closed at 9 p.m, which I also think is great since discouraging nightlife would aid in stopping the spread of the virus. My parents and I frequently forgot that restaurants close at 9 p.m. when we first arrived, so we usually panicked when trying to find a place to eat. If you enjoy gambling, are of legal gambling age, or prefer to spend the night in your hotel room, you will undoubtedly enjoy the nightlife in Las Vegas. But if you’re a teenager and are underage, just stay at home.

View from a hotel room terrace overlooking the beautiful scenery of the Las Vegas strip. Photo by Ayanna Villanueva.

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