Hello from Rochester, MN –

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This is about as exotic as it gets for my travel this year. I have several meetings here, so I decided to drive the six hours rather than jump into an airplane. I think a lot of people have decided to drive to meetings that are in the 400-500 mile range that last year they probably would have flown to. Driving works well when it is not snowy and icy, but if weather comes into play, a flight is much safer. My 400 drive to Minnesota took almost the same time as flying here would take. If I figure it takes an hour to drive to the airport to arrive one hour before the flight to clear security. Taking a connecting flight adds about 4 hours for a total of six hours. This means it takes about the same time to drive as to fly.  I must admit I kind of liked driving as the weather was perfect and sunny. I also enjoyed linking my Bluetooth to Pandora and rocking to the songs of the ’70s.

Two of my COVID travel predictions made 7 months ago have come true – The first was that some airlines would offer buy-one-get-one-free promotions. Sure enough, several airlines have tried the BOGO idea to try any way possible to fill seats. Most of the major airlines have simply just cut their prices. My second COVID prediction was that this would be the year of driving vs. flying. There is something magical about heading out for an adventure on the road. On my drive this week came the great song “Born to Wild” by Steppenwolf. If you crank that song up on your Bose car stereo, you will soon find yourself driving about 80 MPH and singing at the top of your lungs. CLICK HERE to listen and tell me you are not ready to “Head out on the highway”?
If your hotel tells you that because of COVID, they aren’t cleaning your room, you need to tell them that is bologna – I’m staying at a hotel that has a posting in the elevator because of COVID they are not planning to make my bed and provide clean sheeting. They might provide clean towels, but only if you leave them on the floor. This is bologna! I expect a complete room cleaning of my room. I understand that hotels are hurting financially, but they should’ve provided substandard service. When I came back to my room tonight, and the bed was not made, I felt that I did not get my money’s worth. Tomorrow, I plan to ask the hotel that I would like them to clean my room nightly otherwise, I will check out each day and check back in the same day to enjoy the feeling of a cleanroom. I have added this issue to my annual list of hotel pet peeves. CLICK HERE to read my annual hotel pet peeves.
Europe putting out the “Closed” sign for travelers for the rest of this year – The second wave of COVID is hitting Europe hard. They are basically shutting down most travel for the next 30 days and probably through the end of the year. I sure hope that strong pre and post-flight testing will allow Europe to be a little more flexible to allow some international travelers. Once again, this all points to a vaccine as the key to opening up international travel. I continue to keep my fingers crossed that a vaccine becomes my Christmas present this year.
I found one big positive of wearing a mask during my travel this week – Almost every establishment when you travel asks you to wear a mask when you enter. My office at work is isolated at the back of the building with very little interaction with the public, thus allowing me the liberty of not having to wear a mask in my office on most days. During my travel this week to the cold tundra of Minnesota, I came to appreciate the value of wearing a mask. It really keeps you warm from a freezing north wind. I think wearing a mask will continue to be a standard requirement for years to come when you travel. Those who don’t want to wear a mask will drive, and those willing to wear a mask will fly. It might be as simple as that.