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Traveling During a Pandemic

Disclaimer; you obviously don’t want to put yourself at risk or your family so I recommend not traveling until you at least have the vaccine.  Having said that, I just returned from a two-week vacation in Brazil and wanted to give some tips on how I was able to enjoy the trip but stay safe as well.  As always, we will translate how this experience can help you travel to San Diego for your benefit.

First and foremost, go out and get Global Entry / Trusted Traveler with TSA Precheck  if you are a citizen and if you are not a US citizen, find your Embassy website to see if you have something similar.  The flow through customs and just general boarding, security check points can be different depending on how the country or state is dealing with the pandemic so it’s best to have that upfront.  For US citizens you can fill out the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program information on step.state.gov so if you have an issue, your embassy knows where you are on your trip.

For PPE, I purchased a box of 50 of the 3 ply masks off Amazon and had them packed in a zip lock bag in my carry on.  I would also recommend a face shield if possible or glasses as well as a bottle of hand sanitizer to have with you at all time.  This is helpful when exchanging money, public space usage like railings and benches, changing flights, ect…  I purchased a few rapid tests as well and brought them with me in case I was not feeling well, I could have piece of mind.

At the time of my flight, there was a requirement to produce a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the trip.  I would recommend doing one even if it is not required…  I used www.global7dx.com mail in test.  This worked out perfectly and I printed the results the morning of my flight.

I know there are some people out there that do not plan ahead for their vacations but I have a feeling that those people probably aren’t reading this…  Book all of your hotels in advance, and I mean hotels, as these places will have cleaning protocols in place as well as common area guidelines for safety.  I booked some boutiques that were amazing, less crowded and safe as can be.  I would not trust an Airbnb or VRBO with the same processes and cleanliness at this time, which is my honest opinion.  A few San Diego boutique hotels along the ocean that I would recommend that won’t be crowded and have great cleaning protocol would be La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, L’Auberge in Del Mar and The Lodge at Torrey Pines.

In Brazil, I rented a car from Localiza, which is a Hertz company and I did not regret a moment of it.  The car came clean and sanitized and I didn’t have to use public transportation the entire trip which was satisfying and felt much more safe.  In San Diego, I recommend renting from the airport with any of the main companies. I have used Enterprise here before and it went really well.  You will want the freedom to see the numerous hiking trails and beautiful coastal landscape that San Diego has to offer.  One of my favorite hikes here is Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve (https://elfinforest.olivenhain.com/) as it offers views of the ocean at the very top as well as an elevated reservoir that is unlike anything that I have seen in San Diego County.

When I returned from my trip, I took another PCR test (which came back negative) as well as quarantined until the results came back.  I think it is important to be safe not only for you but for others.  You can follow these helpful tips and still enjoy your life as well is this beautiful, vast world around us.

Above all, be safe, be smart and utilize this time to explore the outdoors as well as places that are not where people congregate.  Return home happy and healthy, do not miss the sunsets and soon, we should be able to enjoy travel with less restrictions.  “Travel is the only thing that you buy that makes you richer.”

-Brett Murphy