COVID-19 Impacts Holiday Travel

Monica Cunningham, Rampage Staff Reporter

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started back in early 2020, “normal” took on a different form. Mandated masks in stores and many other establishments, limited social gatherings, and even traveling were placed on halt or never happened at all.

Many families are now seeing the issues with changing or canceling travel plans due to the risk of catching the virus or spreading it to other loved ones. With now the holidays approaching, no one can say for sure if plans will remain the same or be altered. 

For SEP staff and students, holiday plans may change quite a bit. Global Studies teacher Layne Sullivan shares his account of his travel plan changes because of this pandemic.

“I usually attempt to travel somewhere in the U.S. at least once a year, if possible,” Sullivan said. “But this year, I’m not traveling at all.”

Sullivan would normally travel down to Miami, Florida, and would’ve spent Thanksgiving with family. Due to the virus, he couldn’t make it down and ended up spending the holiday in Des Moines. Quite a bit of planning for traveling like to Minneapolis this past March for a Lakers’ game but it was canceled. But Sullivan does have some fond memories of travel before the entire world fell into COVID-19’s clutches.

“Before the pandemic hit, I went to Turks and Caicos and had such a wonderful time,” Sullivan said. “The Caribbean is beautiful and I love a tropical setting for vacation.”

Since he isn’t really traveling much or at all this year, Sullivan expresses his miss for traveling.

“I miss the experiences that come from traveling to a new destination for the first time,” Sullivan said.

Once the virus is under wraps/gone, Sullivan plans to travel up to New York City when it becomes safe to do so. As for the upcoming holidays, he plans on staying in Des Moines.

Of course, it’s not just the staff’s travel plans that were impacted by this global pandemic; the entire world has suffered from this year. That goes the same for the students and their families. Senior Ella Lanning is one of the many students whose travel plans were changed this year.

“We travel during winter, spring, and summer break,” Lanning said. “But we aren’t traveling much since COVID happened because we’re trying to be safe.”

Lanning and her family usually travel to Mexico, the Ozarks, and Florida for their vacations. One of her favorite memories from traveling was when she went with her family to Mexico for the first time. The family did have some plans that are either on hiatus or may happen depending on the course of the pandemic into the coming year.

“We might go to Florida for spring break, but it depends on what happens to COVID,” Lanning said. “We were gonna go somewhere this winter break, but we aren’t able to.” 

Lanning does miss traveling a lot with her family but hopes next year, she can make it up. Her family plans to travel as soon as possible next year since they didn’t do much this year. 

“Just have fun and make memories,” Lanning said. “It’s so much fun to experience new places.”