Traveling during COVID
Updated: Mar 3, 2022
That one time we went to Vegas during COVID 19 and the California Fires
As a flight attendant, it’s hard to watch airplanes and airports go EMPTY. It’s unnerving to have a clear view of the terminals – not many passengers in site. Just as the empty airports weighed heavy on me, isolation started to wear thin on my little family. It was September, six-months into the shutdown. My oldest daughter was one of many parents who became a school teacher overnight. Her mental health was suffering. She needed to do something to bring her spirits up to continue her good parenting to the kids we’ve pen-named The Ky’s.
I talked it over with my son about a way to surprise his sister with an extended day trip. He knew she’d never been on a plane before and deserved a quick get-away, so the planning began. He agreed to care for his niece and nephew while we traveled - Click here if you’d like to see the video of how that all went down – give my son a subscribe if you enjoyed his content – he’d be thrilled.
Ok, now where was I? . . .
We thought up a way to trick her to pack clothes – something about her grandmother needing help overnight. It worked. She packed her bag and made her way to our house as planned. It wasn’t until the next morning she started asking questions. It was time to reveal the SURPRISE.
AND – TAKE – OFF – Wheels – Up!
Just like that, my daughter was on her first plane ride to the city of Las Vegas during the height of a pandemic. I’m cringing as I type that. It was risky, I know. But since, I too, was a front line worker flying on planes for work; we focused our attention on safety instead.
Here’s the Part You’ve Been Waiting For – THE REVIEW
First, hotels were extremely economical all across Las Vegas. They still are. We paid $26.10 + Resort Fees & Taxes for one night at the STRAT Hotel. I wasn’t happy with my room view that overlooked the air-conditioning system but we sucked it up. It was $26.00 and one night. What was there to complain about?
The room was clean, spacious, and the beds were pretty comfortable. Our hotel floor wasn’t noisy and we were able to rest unlike other times I’ve visited Vegas where the partying never stopped. Every knob, handle and remote in the room got a thorough wipe down for extra precaution. We placed our bags on the table – NEVER PUT YOUR LUGGAGE ON THE BEDS – and grabbed our first outfit. This was a very short stay so we figured it’d be best to map out a plan. We rented a car to cover more distance – and it came in handy – keep reading to find out why. Parking wasn’t a problem because the pandemic was still raging. Vegas did not look like the Vegas you may all know and love. You could cross the streets without a mob. You could stand in one place and collect your thoughts without the familiar “excuse me” every two seconds. There was a Raiders game that night. Fans adorning Raiders gear popped up in groups every block or so. I was excited. Crowds are not my thing. I think my daughter was bummed. She craved the real Vegas feel. Many eateries were still closed or limited. The ones that were open had patio seating for take-out orders only. Of course the shows weren’t happening. We quickly realized that this Vegas trip was going to take a lot of creativity to make the best of it. We decided to park the car and site-see inside the hotels. That proved to be a hit for me but a bust for her. Sightseeing was my thing – she craved more of the party scene which was pretty much nonexistent. Our age differences crept in swiftly – lol. I told her we could visit the Grand Canyon. She laughed at me. “Not interested in seeing old rocks Mama!” We set out to gamble a little before deciding to hop in the car to Freemont Street in Old Vegas.
Freemont Street, as usual, was sprawling with people. Though they were all wearing masks, everyone seemed to be having a good time. Ziplining was open to the public, the street performers were dancing. Funny thing, we both experienced a bit of anxiety in the crowd. We had not forgotten about the dreaded COVID disease. We felt it would be safer in the hotel. We left.
The next day we decided on a breakfast spot, planned the remainder of our day and started to look for our flights home. WE COULDN’T FIND ANY. Due to the fires raging in California and COVID reducing airline routes, we found ourselves stranded in Vegas UNLESS we drove to Phoenix to catch a flight out.
I had done that route before so I knew what to expect but she had not. It is beautiful. The scenery along the route is amazing. Note to all fellow travelers who decide to do this. The GPS gives you the shortest route. The shortest route takes you through the Mojave Desert, home to Lake Mead, which is absolutely stunning might I add. Lake Mead is coined America’s First Playground which consists of remarkable landscapes and piercing blue waters. However, there is a $25.00 entry fee just to pass through. Keep this in mind. I would pay $25.00 again and again because of the calmness and beauty alone. But I can only speak for me. This was the best picture we got because we didn't have time to get out an explore without the risk of missing our flight.
We caught our flight and made it home just before midnight.
Recommendations for traveling to Vegas during the COVID 19 Pandemic:
· Check for activities prior to leaving
· Please respect and be kind to the front-line workers. Tip them. They matter! We matter!
· Rent a car to provide for more social distancing
· If you have more days to spare than we did, fly into one state but depart from another. You can visit Grand Canyon, take the scenic route through Lake Mead, wonder around the Mojave Desert and visit a whole other state all in one trip. I promise you it’s worth it. Sight-seeing is free.
My TOTAL Cost:
Car Rental $28.00 + Tax
One tank of gas $35.00 Lake Mead $25.00
for 2 days, one night, and two states. Not bad eh… for a quick mental health reward during one of the most difficult times in our history.
At SOLELY, we don’t consider luxury a price – IT’S an EXPERIENCE