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Money Update Aug 8, 2020 "Traveling during CoVid

 Traveling during CoVid?  Keep reading!~

The economies of travel

In preparation of a couple of trips I had to make this month, I did some research on what to expect. Like some things in life however, you just can’t find enough good information and actually have to undertake the endeavor yourself to find the answers, and I did.

After making two trips in a row this month, I found out a lot about traveling amidst CoVid.

My first trip took me to Newport Beach down L.A. way, which by the way, is in and surrounded by the most heavily infected counties (Worldometers.info).

What fun this would be cornered on all sides by CoVid.

Traffic to Sacramento International Airports was light. Indeed, traffic everywhere I went on this southern California trip was tolerable, especially considering L.A. traffic is usually nightmarish.

Upon arriving at our airport, we pulled right up at the drop off. No waiting whatsoever and only a handful of cars were there. Dropping the wife and kids, I headed towards the economy lots only to find both were closed. A fact that would have been nice to know ahead of time.

Had I known I would have used the many stay and fly hotels that offer free parking and a shuttle with an overnight stay.

No worries however as the day lot had plenty of space right in front of the terminal. The $29 a day fee took some of the joy out of up close and personal parking spot.

The airport as I said was empty. No one was at the ticketing booth, in fact it was difficult to find an agent. Once we did check in it was a breeze. The TSA security line was nonexistent to the point where we walked right up and got screened immediately.

Only a hundred or so travelers inhabited the entire airport where there once were thousands. Most stores and restaurants at the airport were open and masking was prevalent.  No waiting was the norm for everything.

The plane was on time and seating was prompt. About 40 people were on the plane built for over a hundred. Seating was open but spacing was more than adequate between strangers. I understand now however passenger jet seating is becoming more tightly packed as airlines want to fill the few flights they are operating. I am told to expect to sit right next to somebody but everyone is required to wear a mask on the plane. Bottled water and check-mix was all we were offered during the flight.

Upon arrival at John Wayne airport in Orange County baggage claim was a breeze. Again this usually busy airport resembled a moderately packed ghost town. The whole thing felt like something out of the Twilight Zone.

Getting the rental car was eerily interesting. Most all the counters were vacant. Even though we had reserved a car, we wandered for 15 minutes looking for a manned Budget counter. Turns out the agents weren’t in the actual airport but instead in the garage. Some companies were sort of combined so you had to wander around to find anyone who knew how to get your car.

It was even more confusing returning the car a few days later. We drove around three times being caught by one-way driveways with spikes in search of a live body to return the car to. Eventually we did find one person who was checking in cars for several companies. If you rent a car, be prepared to be diligent and don’t panic.

Newport Beach was fairly packed on the day we arrived but that slowed to a very dull roar as we entered the weekday. Many of the boardwalk shops and restaurants were closed, the employees and owners either not wanting to risk infection or taking advantage of the liberal unemployment checks and the current bonus. About half the people outside wore masks but inside buildings most did.

All in all, the trip was very odd. We got done what we had to get done and returned home. After 10 days had past none of us had contracted any illnesses. We were however very careful being in L.A.

Next week I’ll detail my trip to a destination resort in Reno I had to make. It was just as odd and gave me insight as to why, despite great prices everywhere, the amenities and reasons for going are so hampered and dampened down it might be better to set up a tent somewhere and chill by a campfire or just stay home.

It’s really not worth it.

Traveling during CoVid- An unique experience

 

Part 2:

In last week’s expose’ of my “Economies of Travel- Traveling during the CoVid shutdowns”, I detailed my trip by airplane to Newport Beach and what it was like to travel during the pandemic. My next trip took us by car to a hotel casino resort in neighboring Reno.

We left the Thursday of the Fourth of July weekend, July 2nd.

Although I expected traffic, highway 80 was as busy as I have ever seen it for a getaway holiday.

The typical tailgating at 60 mph jammed both lanes all the way to Truckee.

Half expecting many to be heading to the gambling mecca of Reno like I was, I was pleasantly relieved to see most of the traffic exit highway 267 towards Lake Tahoe. An estimated 250,000 besieged the Tahoe area that week so I hear.

Although Reno streets looked like an average day of traffic, the hotel parking lots was packed. I had been told the hotel was at 80% occupancy during my reservation phone call. The 80% figure is a familiar one as most casinos will always say they are 80% full to appear they are in demand so the reservation phone call didn’t cause me undue panic. Arriving in the parking lot however the level of concern in the car definitely increased.

Entering the casino, a heat camera had been placed over the escalator with a sign said “body temperatures scanned”.

Ok then, but since the camera was on the ceiling and I saw no attendant anywhere, I wasn’t sure if an alarm would go off or what. Apparently our temperatures were ok but at that moment I realized if a high temperature was detected, and no attendant was present, I would be well into the casino before anyone could react.

Humm…….

The lines to check-in were long and those familiar social distancing dots were on the floor. The receptionist was masked and behind Plexiglas. Most patrons we saw wore masks.

Signs were up saying masks required and elevators were limited to 4 people with distances X’s on the elevator floors.

Once checked in, we strolled the casino. This casino had installed Plexiglas panels between each machine but another casino we visited did not.

Honestly I saw a lot less hand sanitizers than I expected and throughout the 3 day visit, I saw few if any employees wiping down the machines. I couldn’t help but think all the “we’re clean” hype was beginning to bring the word “malarkey” to mind. One bar did remind me when my mask ended up around my neck but the rest of the casino locations didn’t really say anything to those that had their masks pulled down.

The hotel had reduced patronage numbers in the pool so unless you got there at 10:00 am, you were wait listed. Both days I got my call three to four hours later. Obviously hanging out at the pool was going to be a nonevent for a family that has kids that sleep in until noon.

The restaurants had reduced seating so a reservation was impossible. We ended up going off site and eating early to get a seat.

The movie theaters only had one showing with familiar but old reruns. A common theme to those of us familiar with movie-going during CoVid.

The buffets were also gone but I’m not a buffet guy anyway so no harm no foul there, at least for me.

We were charged the typical “resort fee” (don’t get me started) but were informed there would be no maid service after the first day. We could order fresh towels and such but there would be no room attention. So much for the amenities paid by the “fee”.  

All in all, the whole thing felt a little desperate. Desperate like those that were there were so determined to “get away”, they would settle for this type of “half access” to just about all the reasons for being there.

After two days we were ready to leave and determined not to come back. And like I said in the conclusion of last week’s article:

“…… despite great prices everywhere, the amenities and reasons for going are so hampered and dampened down it might be better to set up a tent somewhere and chill by a campfire or just stay home”.

Like I said last week, traveling right now is really not worth it.

 


 

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