Business Travel in a COVID-19 World

This Post Was Originally Published on the Plus Travel Group Blog on August 4, 2020 by Mark Crone

Business Travel in a COVID-19 World is different. Nothing seems normal in a pandemic and travel is no exception. As the economy reopens and we all move forward, it’s time to travel again. Business needs to travel for a variety of reasons including company growth, customer visits, internal company meetings, etc. I flew with Air Canada from Toronto to Montreal on July 16, 2020. Here is what a business trip looks like right now:

Business Travel in a COVID-19 World – Toronto Pearson Airport

Boarding the plane in a Covid -19 world

There are more people travelling than you might think. On the day I flew, there were 15,000 passengers moving through Toronto Pearson. Airport parking was busy with 2 floors full and several other floors with minimal space. As you walk into the terminal, you will need your mask on. You’ll also be stopped by security to confirm that you are a traveller (only travellers are allowed into the airport). The terminal does not look busy, but travel activity is growing week by week. Toronto Pearson has initiated a “Healthy Airport” program in response to COVID-19. This includes anti-bacterial fogging, UV cleaning technology, enhanced sanitization, and physical distancing measures. As you make your way to check-in, you will notice these measures throughout the terminal.

Check-in and Security

Air Canada Touch Free Check-In Kiosk

Advanced check-in is now more important than ever. If your flight is busy (70% or more), and you prefer to travel on a different flight, you will have an option to change to another flight operating within three days or to the next available flight without additional fees. Touch-free check-in at select airports includes seamless TouchFree Bag Check service. During mobile check-in, select the number of checked bags, print your bag tags from dedicated kiosks, and then drop off your bags at the TouchFree Bag Drop.

You’ll see physical distancing measures in place as you line up for security, with decals every two metres on the floor. As you walk up to security, your temperature will be taken by airport personnel. You now scan your own boarding pass at security and proceed through inspection. Hand sanitization stations are available at security screening and throughout the airport.

Airport Lounges and Pre-Flight

Social Distancing  seats near a gate at Toronto Pearson Airport

If you have access to an Air Canada airport lounge, you’ll be happy to know that they have re-opened. Seating has been readjusted to provide social distancing. Food comes in a snack box and drinks are handed to you by an attendant. There are also washroom attendants. As you make your way to your departure gate, some restaurants are open and seating at the gate has been adjusted with social distancing. There are more people travelling than you would expect but there is still plenty of room for physical distancing throughout the terminal.

Boarding and On the Plane

Selfie of the Author wearing a mask while flying on the plane

The number of boarding zones has increased (8 for my flight). There are fewer travellers in each zone with boarding by window then aisle and from back to front of the plane. At boarding, you’ll show your ID and boarding pass. But you’ll be asked to pull back your mask so that the agent can see your face vs. the picture on your ID. As you board the plane, you’ll be handed the Clean Care Kit (if you are flying Air Canada). The Kit includes a mask, antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves, water bottle, a headset, and a snack. Seating is spaced out as much as possible. Given current travel activity, it would be odd to have someone beside you. Announcements on board will always remind you of COVID protocols including wearing your mask over your mouth and nose (unless eating or drinking).

Air Canada Clean Care Kit

At Montreal Airport

There are 3 security entrance points at Montreal Airport. As you enter, you will be required to sanitize your hands and have your temperature taken by infrared thermometer. Virtually every airport, including Montreal, follows updated COVID specific health and safety protocols. You are encouraged to use mobile check-in; you must wear a face mask; physical distancing measures are in place; and enhanced sanitization processes are ongoing.

Business Travel in a COVID-19 World – Summary

With the many biosafety protocols and procedures in place for travel, it quite frankly feels safer to travel than to buy groceries. It felt great to travel again as it seemed to for everyone else on the plane. The travel industry has spent considerable time and effort in developing new procedures to build trust and confidence- and it works! It really is time to travel. And business travel needs to happen to facilitate economic growth. Updated travel guidelines and procedures are the new norm and we are all ready for takeoff!

Flying on an airplane

Feel free to reach out for more information and to inquire about an updated travel program with Plus Travel Group. 

Check out my previous post for more information – Is it the right time to travel again?

Tips for Staying Fit While You Travel

This Post Was Originally Published on the TuGo Travel Blog on July 9, 2019 by Mark Crone

Travelling is very much about breaking your normal routine, but it’s also important to keep up with your fitness and workouts. Whether you’re staying in hotels or higher-altitude spots like towers, leave the elevators behind and climb the stairs instead. Find restaurants within walking distance from your hotel, because a nice walk back to the hotel after a meal always feels great—especially through a park or nearby shoreline. Here are more ideas for staying fit while travelling:

1.Turn airline terminals into walking tracks

In all likelihood, you’ll do plenty of walking at the airport, from checking in, through security, then towards your gate. But rather than just sitting in front of your gate waiting to board the plane, why not explore the airport? You’ll discover shops, restaurants, artwork and more by going on a discovery walk. There’s plenty of time for sitting on the plane, and a walk around the terminal is good exercise (even more so if you’re wearing a Fit Bit!).

2. See the sights on foot

From the magnificent parks of London to the streets of Paris, there’s often no better way to take in the views, scents, and surprises of the local culture than on foot.

While you can find some great guidebooks, maps and apps to help, why not have a local take you on a tour and show you the neighbourhood favorites? On my last trip to Paris, I took a walking tour with Context Travel. Context is a network of specialists and scholars who act as private guides and lead small groups on walking tours through some of the world’s greatest cities. Tours include archaeology, art history, cuisine, history, urban planning, environmental science, and classics. The tour of Marais continued for almost 3 hours and included various stops in a market, a bakery, butcher shop, foie gras shop, cheese shop, wine and Armagnac shop and a chocolatier.

We certainly hit 10,000 steps, even though it didn’t feel like it. Organized walking tours are immersive and well worthwhile to make you feel like a local (and less like a tourist). If you can, take your tour within the first few days of your trip. You’ll get a better feel for the city, culture, local area and the places that you’ll want to return to later.

3. Plan at least one activity everyday

Is the morning full of standing in shops and art museums? After lunch, change it up with some destination-specific activities. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, your concierge will point you in the right direction and to some safe pedestrian routes. Experience what the region is known for. Wanderingthe markets of London, rock climbing in Austria or surfing in Hawaii is a lot more fun than running on a treadmill in your hotel.

You can also book unique fitness outings with Airbnb Experiences. Like walking tours, these are activities led by locals who are passionate about sports, wellness, and getting outdoors—Rappel through East Zion Canyons in Utah, or go on a bike adventure in Toronto. You can get a real taste of the destination by combining a sightseeing tour with a workout!

4. Utilize your hotel amenities

The obvious way to stay fit while travelling is to book hotels or resorts with fitness centers and/or guest passes to nearby gyms. There’s nothing like a workout first thing in the morning, within minutes of waking up. Even doing a short workout is a whole lot better than doing nothing at all. You’ll have worked fitness into each day before your vacation day has even started.

The days of dark, small and ill-equipped hotel gyms are gone. Westin and Fairmont Hotels let you rent or borrow workout gear to hit their gyms or a nearby running route plotted by RunWestin concierges. Indoor cyclists at select Westin locations can even live-stream Peloton classes in a WestinWORKOUT studio. Hilton has Five Feet to Fitness, where select room categories offer a selection of equipment and accessories to do in-room workouts. Of course, you can always book a full-on fitness vacation. Look for yoga retreats with Yogascapes, immersive outdoor getaways with GAdventures, or biking escapades with Interpid Travel.

“Go, fly, roam, travel, voyage, explore, journey, discover, adventure.”


Safe travels,
Mark

Best Places in California for a Winter Getaway

If you don’t like winter, it’s definitely a good idea to travel somewhere warm and nice. And as the rest of the country is mostly covered with snow in winter months – California seems like a perfect getaway option. Warm temperatures, empty beaches and not busy tourist spots make this place even more amazing to visit. That’s why you should pack your bags – we’re taking you to California. Here are the best places in California for a winter getaway, and you try to choose the best one for you and your family.

Winter in San Diego

When it comes to the best places in California for a winter getaway, San Diego comes as the first and one of the most popular options. Being a popular tourist spot in the spring and summer months, San Diego is a great getaway place in winter since it’s not as busy and crowded. You can visit the beaches and watch whales on a perfect sunny December day and have the time of your life. December is also the month of holidays, and in San Diego, you can experience a true Christmas spirit. Festivals, festive lighting and decoration, and many other attractions will make this winter perfect.

San Diego as one of the best places in California for a winter getaway

Lake Tahoe

Even though it’s a very different location from the previous one, Lake Tahoe is also one of the best places in California for a winter getaway. This time, we’re talking about some of the best ski spots in the area – luxurious resorts for both beginners and experienced skiers. So, if you’re looking for an idyllic, snowy winter experience, Lake Tahoe can offer everything you need.

a woman standing close to Lake Tahoe

Bonus tip: If you are not looking for a place to do winter sports, check out all the places you can visit in Lake Tahoe if you’re not skiing – and there are many of them.

Death Valley

A complete opposite to Lake Tahoe – Death Valley is a hot place most of the people won’t visit during summer. But in winter, this can be an amazing winter getaway, with temperatures finally dropping at around 73° F. However, don’t forget to plan this trip in advance, since it can be pretty busy during winter months.

Disneyland

Yes, the most popular place in California can be truly enjoyed during winter months. The reason why it’s one of the best places in California for a winter getaway is that you can finally enjoy it without having to wait hours in line. The crowds are much smaller after the holidays, so you can really have fun and plan your Disneyland day just the way you want it.

Pasadena

New Year’s Day in Pasadena can be truly something spectacular. You can watch the Pasadena Rose Parade which is a true spectacle but also join some other activities related to the event. Again, be sure to book your trip months/weeks in advance, since this is a very popular event and many people rush to Pasadena for the New Year holiday.

Mammoth Mountain and Yosemite

Another amazing place to spend a true winter day skiing and enjoying the sun. What’s also great about it is the proximity to the Yosemite National park. You can make a trip and visit both of the locations when coming here. You can easily reach it by Mammoth Yosemite airport, which is great if you don’t live in California.

Yosemite in winter as one of the best places in California for a winter getaway

Christmas in Orange County is the best

Winter is all about the holidays, and one of the best places in California for a winter getaway and also a perfect Christmas location is definitely Orange County and Newport Beach. Here you can see an amazing Christmas Parade, decorated yachts and houses, etc. Sink into the festive spirit and enjoy your amazing winter getaway!

Palm Springs

Running away from any sign of winter and cold can really happen in Palm Springs. Here, December is the coldest month with over 68°F – can you imagine spending your winter holiday in a t-shirt? In Palm Springs, there’s a lot to do, even in winter – visit the zoo, go hiking, ride a bike, go around the city to see local arts and architecture, etc. Palm Springs is one of the best places to visit in California during winter for a good reason!

General California getaway tips

Whatever the location(s) you choose, you need to get ready for your trip. If you’re well-prepared, you will enjoy California even more. Don’t be surprised if you fall in love with some of the places from the list and decide to move here. Many people experience the same thing. In that case, relocation will not be a problem – you can move to any part of California with ease. Choosing a local moving company will make everything smooth and fast.

And now, let’s go back to the getaway preparations. Depending on where you’re coming from, and who you’re traveling with, your preparations will be more or less complicated. However, make sure you don’t forget these things:

  • do some research on the place you’re visiting –  check all the attractions and places you want to see and get the tickets in advance.
  • book accommodation beforehand – check the hotels or other accommodations you want to stay in and book your rooms in advance. Even though you’re visiting in winter, some California locations can be very busy.
  • check the weather forecast and pack accordingly – since you’ll be traveling in winter, make sure you check the weather forecast a couple of days in advance. This will help you pack properly and be ready for your trip.
  • check your cellphone plan or put your phone on airplane mode
  • book a day or two more – you’ll probably want to stay longer.

It can be very difficult to choose only one out of the many best places in California for a winter getaway. That’s why you should definitely expect coming back again since California gives the best winter holidays! Enjoy!

A little snow in the California desert

Author’s bio:

Jeffrey Wilson is a book lover who really enjoys traveling. That’s why he uses his experience to write blog posts related to travel organization and destinations. His big passion is nature photography.

Photos used:

https://pixabay.com/photos/san-diego-skyline-night-evening-4353504/

https://pixabay.com/photos/yosemite-national-park-california-1936632/

https://pixabay.com/photos/tahoe-lake-winter-girl-sport-2110056/

https://pixabay.com/photos/landscape-scenic-winter-snow-1902042/