My Post-COVID Travel to Mexico Experience
Have you been wondering what it’s like to travel internationally in the post-COVID era?
People are starting to travel again, and as a professional travel advisor, I feel it’s important for me to experience the latest travel protocols first-hand so I can share what it’s like to travel in the “new normal” with my clients, like you.
So, that’s what I did!
I just recently returned from a trip to Mexico where I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta resort in Puerto Vallarta and here is a detailed summary of my trip!
USA residents are not currently required to submit a COVID-19 test prior to traveling to Mexico.
Each traveler needs to complete a health questionnaire for Mexico which can be completed online ahead of time.
Everything went smoothly at the Minneapolis (MSP) airport - a little busier than it has been recently because of holiday travel over Thanksgiving but still quieter than usual this time of year. I had checked in online ahead of time so I just had to print my bag tag at the kiosks and then drop it off at the counter.
There was social distancing in line for security and then the actual security process itself was pretty normal.
I flew Delta for this trip who is still blocking middle seats (through at least March 2021). We boarded the plane back to front and the flight attendants gave us individual hand wipes as we entered.
Delta is using a high-grade disinfectant electrostatic spraying process between flights, and the cabin air is recirculating every 2-6 minutes (either with fresh outside air or with HEPA filters that perform similar to hospital operating rooms).
After everyone was seated, the flight attendants distributed plastic bags with snacks and a small water bottle to anyone who wanted one - they are not currently doing the regular snack and beverage cart service during the flight.
They passed out the immigration and customs forms along with a health questionnaire. I had previously completed the immigration form and the health questionnaire online and printed a copy to bring with me, so I only needed to complete the customs form.
Everyone is required to wear a face covering in the airport and throughout the duration of the flight (except when you’re actively eating/drinking), and everyone I saw was fully complying with this.
After I got off the plane at the Puerto Vallarta (PVR) airport, I passed by a thermo scanner that took my temperature as I walked by.
Then I headed to immigration which was a quick/easy process before collecting my suitcase for customs - everything with this part was business as usual except for wearing a face covering and social distancing in line.
Met the rep for my transfer to the resort (reminder to make sure you head all the way outside to meet your transfer). They sanitized my bags and then I was off to the resort; the driver and I were both wearing a face covering.
When I got to the resort, I was greeted by a friendly staff person who took my temperature (aimed thermometer at my inner elbow) and gave me some hand sanitizer.
After standing in front of a full body temperature scanner briefly, I was given a delicious mojito welcome drink and escorted to the front desk for check-in.
The check-in process was the same as usual with social distancing and face coverings.
At the Resort
Resort staff were wearing face coverings at all times.
Guests were asked to wear face covering in designated indoor spaces like: the lobby, the gift shops, elevators, walking into restaurants, etc. Guests were not required to wear face coverings at the beach, the pool, or in restaurants when actively eating and/or drinking.
Rooms are being sanitized and sealed between guest stays.
There were QR code’s posted at each restaurant (and on the tv in your room) for the restaurant menus. Laminated copies were also available for those that don’t have a smart phone.
The buffet was an a la carte restaurant with full wait service at your table instead.
Reservations were required for dinner; rotating three open per night based on occupancy.
Tables at the restaurants were spaced to allow for social distancing.
Room service was still available 24 hours, and staff would hand you the tray at the door versus bringing it into your room.
Water sports like kayaking, paddle boarding, and boogie boarding were still included.
The entertainment staff was still offering activities at the main pool from 11-4 pm like: water aerobics, pool volleyball, aqua Zumba, etc.
Lounge chairs around the pool and at the beach were spaced for social distancing.
The swim up bar was closed but the resort has increased wait staff and the service at the pool and beach was PHENOMENAL!!
There were nightly shows in the open air theatre, and the live band was performing outside instead of inside at the Sun Bar.
The spa and beauty salon were open, and the gym was also open with reduced hours and capacity limitations.
Maid service was available every other day, if you wanted it, and you could call to request items for your minibar at any time - delivery was very fast each time I called.
There was hand sanitizer available everywhere throughout all areas of the resort.
Resort occupancy was at 50% during my stay now and the max that’s currently allowed is 60%.
My experience traveling back home was uneventful – in a good way. The process was very smooth and easy.
I was asked to show the QR code for the health questionnaire I had completed online, and otherwise, everything at both the Puerto Vallarta (PVR) airport and the Minneapolis (MSP) airport was business as usual again; except for wearing a face covering and social distancing in line, of course.
UPDATED 1/12/21: The CDC announced that all air passengers entering the United States (including returning residents) will be required to take a COVID-19 testing within 3 days prior to their flight to the USA effective 1/26/21. Click here to learn more.
NOTE: Protocols vary by destination/resort and are subject to change.
Whew, that was a lot - thanks for sticking with it all the way to the end!
From start to finish, I was very impressed with the protocols in place throughout my trip, and all of the resort staff were so friendly and provided such excellent service which made for a fantastic experience!!
When you're ready to travel again, I'll be here to help : )
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