Dec 132020

If there’s anything 2020 has taught us (besides not wasting money on planners) it was how much we want to connect with people and places.  Despite being a travel blogger and a licensed travel agent, I don’t travel as much as other people I know, and certainly not much as I would like.  There are many reasons for this, time off of work, prior obligations, the inability to pick a place and family matters.  However, I still wanted to go to the beach, go on a cruise, go to Canada and probably California.  And then, Covid-19 came and that was that.  No cruise, no train to Canada and I don’t see me going to San Diego anytime soon.  Like most of you, I don’t want to expose myself or my family members to a disease, so I planned on staying home and I did stay home for a long, long time; at least it felt like forever.  I’m sure we all have felt that way!  But, some people are traveling to places, some are being mindful and strategic about it.  So, myself, my darling husband, my sister and our Mom decided we can do that too!


The coast line of Lincoln City


The blue of the sea is mesmerizing!

My heart belongs to the sea, and luckily enough, my family loves the beach as much as I do!  The love of the ocean makes sense.  It is both forever changing and always constant, shining and golden while also dark and unfathomable, brimming with life, yet so deadly.  Quite and calm at times and other times lashing in unstoppable fury.  The ocean in a song that thrums in the veins of some of us and I feel that during trying times, it’s healing to get back to a happy place.

Safety and Lincoln City, Oregon.

While Lincoln City, Oregon is a popular tourist spot it’s also a city with many miles of beach, separated into several different beaches with wide expanses that allow visitors to enjoy the waves and surf while staying far from each other.  Check out the map below of Lincoln City. OR. for a glimpse of some great surrounding areas.

Downtown Lincoln City was bursting with tourists, even during a pandemic. Many restaurants don’t enforce social distancing while waiting for your table and beaches in the city limits are jam packed. So when planning a stay in Lincoln City think about beaches that are likely to draw large groups. D River Wayside is in the middle of town, has ample parking and is beautiful. It was also filled with tourists as was the mall and Otter Crest Loop and beaches close to Inns and hotels. But, don’t give up or think you need to ditch the beach. Places like Agate Beach, Taft Bay and Roads End have wide stretches of sand that will let you social distance.

Places That Are Bursting With People:

  1. The Mall. The Lincoln City Outlets were largely open with protocols setting limits to how many people were allowed in a store at one time and masks are required. However, walking around, you’ll come shoulder to shoulder with a number of people.
  2. Some shops and restaurants. One of my favorite shops is the Christmas Cottage, it’s brimming with everything Christmas. You can’t actually take in everything; it’s so much, but I love it! At this shop they had capacity limits and a mask mandate, the chocolate place next door had a mask mandate but no limit of how many people could come in. Some restaurants remained closed during the pandemic or only had carry out, but several were open and it was a toss up of who was limiting seating and who wasn’t. For example, we ate at Kyllo’s; a seafood restaurant in the middle of town. We had to wait outside with at least 10 other people and there were that many waiting inside. The tables in this restaurant are far apart but the place was completely full and there were several large groups.
  3. Some tourists spots. Because of some spots being closed to the public the ones that were open were flooded with people. Like myself, they wanted to see the sweeping views, interesting rock formations and striking cliffs. Otter Crest Loop, for example, is stunning and it’s a popular place for surfers. It has a majestic beach area and fantastic photo opportunities. Otter Crest Loop was not a place to escape crowds. It was people, people and more people! We kept our masks on and just enjoyed the beauty of the scenery!



Enjoy the drama of Devils Punch Bowl


If you feel comfortable with people you shouldn’t miss Depoe Bay, the worlds smallest navigable harbor. All the shops sit on one road as you drive into town, a rocky seawall is on the other side. Whales are there all year round and the coast guard ships sail in and out. It’s a wonderful experience, but since it’s always crowded simply because of the layout.

We went with an Airbnb and stayed in some condos, right on the beach with stringent cleaning processes. These extra cleaning measures definitely cost-a lot! The cost of our place went up by almost 25%. However, I feel that this is a good option as it gives you more space and the beaches tend to be less crowded. If you can find condo’s or townhomes that are out of the city limits or between Lincoln City and Depoe Bay our between Newport and Depoe Bay chances are you’ll find you naturally have less people around you. Gleneden Beach and Agate Beach are large and wide areas that you could explore and keep outside contact to a minimum. Agate Beach is one of my favorites because the beach is so wide and accessible, with clean sand and less debris than other Lincoln City beaches. It goes on forever!


Bella View Beach is a great vacation spot.





Bella View Townhomes are fantastic beachside places to stay

Bandon: Small and Great

A few months later we traveled to Bandon, which is pretty far south. The town of Bandon is actually really small, but the setup is smart. Historic Bandon is a small section that’s easily walkable, parking isn’t hard and all the shops are quaint and concentrated in one area, so there’s no way to keep 6ft distance from everyone all the time; especially the restaurants. Downtown Bandon has a small harbor and the little shack restaurants are sooo good, but small and people don’t social distance in a tiny restaurant. People were sitting outside on the patio in spots that were supposed to be closed off, and along the marina no one donned a mask. However, along the boardwalk area that’s alongside the marina there were plenty of benches that were very far from one another. Another wonderful thing about Bandon it’s is beaches. Not only are they breathtaking, they’re huge! So wide and ridiculously long, Bandon’s beaches are worthy of an all day stay! We drove to Beach Loop Road and followed it to the scenic lookout spot and the beach there is also a State natural area. It’s a steep walk down and back up, but it’s so worth it! Such beautiful rock formations, haystacks, a cave with a little key hole and many days you’ll spot seals sunbathing or swimming close by. I must’ve taken over 100 photos. It’s not as windy as some other spots, as it’s deep down and has sea cliffs all along the beach. Fog rolls in and out quickly, but on clear days you can see for miles.




Bandon also has a State Park Beach, Bullard State Park Beach and the Coquille River Lighthouse, it’s less than 3miles from town. It’s another impressive, clean, wide beach that you could wander up down for hours.

One thing to remember about Oregon Beaches is that the waves will break far out and be soft but randomly and out nowhere a strong wave will rush upon the land and pull itself back out quickly. We call them sneaker waves, people get pulled out on these waves every year and some die from it. Respect the ocean, don’t turn your back on the water, even in lowtide sneaker waves can pull you out to sea in the blink of an eye. Bandon and Lincoln City are incredibly wet and windy during fall and winter. I lived at the Oregon Coast for 10 years and sideways rain is real thing.

I recommend the beach for vacationing because you can social distance, spend time outside, connect with nature and just decompress. Camping and RVing are also great ways to travel to the beach. While most places are open for RVing and camping many of the facilities and common areas are staying closed. So, research these areas to make sure they have what you need.


Oregon Beaches have great rock formations


At the end of the day, you need to evaluate your priorities, maybe make a list.

  • Do you want a place close to town and the attractions or do you need more space and ways to isolate? Ask the hotel if they have touchless check in and payment procedures.
  • Do you feel comfortable going to restaurants and shopping centers?
  • Are you good with a hotel or do you want to opt for a home or less populated area to rent something.
  • If you camp, do you need one with community areas or do want a large space with no neighbors.


Dogs love the beach too!


The later months bring less crowds and give you more favorable rates. Likewise for weekday visits. Also, make yourself a travel bag that has all the cleaning supplies you need. We brought our own pillows, hand sanitizer and extra masks. Make sure you have packed any supplies you need to feel safe and protected. I use the soap at the places I stay because they’re always new and I don’t bring cleaning wipes, but some people do.

At the end of the day you need to find that happy place where you can be out and have fun without comprising your health. I wore my mask, washed my hands, stayed in a condo out of town by a wonderful beach and went to a little French type cafe and had a marvelous time. We even saw someone get married on the beach.

Try Cafe C’est in Bella View Beach

If you feel the need for a getaway, the beach is great, because you have so many options at Oregon Beaches. It’s a stellar option for those who need to get away but don’t want to be in a high risk environment.

Please feel free to reach out to me for questions. These cities have advisories where you can see what’s open and what protocols are in place.

May 082020

It seemed very recently that everyone wanted to travel. Whether by plane, ship, train or car the common thread of thought was “I need to go THERE!”


Missing The Road.


According to all experts and industry insiders, we were in a new golden age of travel; as a travel agent, I would agree. Tourism was one of the top 3 growing industries for the last few years-in 2018 tourism outpaced every other sector for overall growth; accounting for a total of accounting for 3.9% of global GPD. The WTO (World Tourism Organisation) predicted 1.6 billion tourist arrivals for 2020 and a projected $2.0 trillion spent on travel globally. Growth was increasing at 4% percent or better and people I spoke with were planning on exploring the world! I was no different. I have an ever-growing list of places I REALLY want to see! Ireland, Chile, Curacao, Argentina, America Samoa. With the ability to feel connected with places virtually and through an unprecedented portal of information and experiences instantly available the mood of many people was the desire to physically connect with these places, people and experiences. Today’s travels were known as “Collectors”. People valued experiences and adventures more than things or objects. A second “Golden Age” of travel had arrived! I was excited; as a travel writer and agent I saw a path before me of experiences; albeit, not always my own, but I would be part of it. I would help plan, execute and research the hell out of any place people I knew and loved would want to go! From the wonderful San Juan Islands of my home state, Washington to far off Norway. I had a part-time job I loved and enjoyed enough free time to dive in deeper to my first love of travel planning and writing. And then, Covid-19 happened. And that, as they say, was that.

The U.S. Travel Association put out a post that highlighted the impact of Coronavirus. Travel spending has been falling for 8 consecutive weeks-down 89% from last year, new bookings down 87% from the previous year. Concern about contracting the virus is slowly decreasing-down to just over 70% as of this writing. People are more willing to visit parks (31%) or stay in a hotel (17%). These numbers are still very low and many people have true economic concerns, but the desire to go forth and see what is out there is still part of people’s DNA. So what is next for travel in the age of COVID? Will it ever be like it was? How long will that recovery take? As a traveler, will there be deep cost advantages to traveling now? What are tourism destinations doing to keep visitors safe?


Can’t wait to get back out to sea.

Travel Going Forward

In the short term, and I am hoping the long term, travelers will explore close to home. National Parks, campgrounds, close outdoor areas and outdoor venues that are less likely to be crowded will see huge growth. Road trips will see a spike in numbers, Air BnB’s will continue to stay on the uprise. That being said, roughly 60% of people will only travel to hotels or house rentals if there’s a sound cleaning and sanitation plan, a plan for keeping employees healthy and limiting crowd size. Digital and no contact check-in will be the norm; even after the Pandemic.  The concern of overcrowding will stay at the forefront of people’s minds for a while. Thereby, once well-traveled cities like New York City, Venice and Shangai will continue to see soft numbers and have a very slow recovery. As will international travel, cruises and any venue that would normally draw a large number of people. Think the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan or Mardi Gras. According to my research airline tickets will continue to stay low through 2021 and the check-in process will be smoother and streamlined (Hallejuah). Ticket changes and cancellations will be more flexible and people will want newer and less crowded planes. However, experts say that in the long run ticket prices could go way up as airlines try to recoup losses or one airline buys out another and owns a larger share of the market. Two things travelers are definitely looking for is good insurance and a flexible cancellation policy. Honestly, I agree with them. These things for too long have not favored the traveler. Travel insurance is not usually very expensive and has great value. As a travel agent, I have seen way too many people lose out on thousands of dollars due to strict cancellation policies, lack of insurance or not having a good understanding of what their insurance covers. If you cancel your cruise because you couldn’t get the time off of work or your dog got sick your insurance won’t cover that! Take the time to really look at travel insurance, if you can get a good travel card with optimum insurance and protection I would highly recommend it.

For airlines, cruises or tourist destinations to draw people they will need to focus on peace of mind for their guests, more support for travel disruption, offer technologies that at touchless and more hands-off, be heavily focused on hygiene and safety, add on perks and offer better fare. Many experts feel that business travel will be the slowest and least likely to recover. Also, that as flights are less frequent direct flights will not be as easy to come by. Prices are great for travel now and may continue to go down, especially on cruises, tours and international flights. Before you book be aware of some things.

  1. Is there a quarantine period? Some countries, territories and states are mandating a quarantine time for passengers that fly in.
  2. What is your exposure risk? Does the place you plan on visiting have a large outbreak? Are the restaurants and hotels taking extra precautions? If you get sick are the hospitals overrun?
  3. What are your options if your flight is canceled or the hotel closes down? Cruises, for example, are offering cancellation for up to 48 hours before departure date-but you don’t get your money back, you get a future cruise credit.
  4. Is your destination still in lockdown? Not every place is opening up at the same time or at the same pace. Likewise, how that destination is functioning varies from country to country, even state to state. If you want to go on a beach vacation, make sure your beach is open and if they are limiting visitors to small numbers. Make sure you take a mask in case it is required by the place you are visiting. Find out if there is mandatory testing.

Are there things that might never come back? Maybe. A breakfast buffet? Cramming people into tight airplane and concert seats? Some people say yes; I am conflicted. If overcrowding and jamming as many people as possible into a space never comes back I am great with that. I kind of like buffets; so do many parents who travel with kids and teenagers! However, I don’t suspect I will see a buffet for a long time.


What Will Happen to the Cruise Industry?

Perhaps there was no bigger growth in the travel industry that the cruise industry. The number of ships being built was staggering; with some ships adding 2 to 3 new builds a year for the next 5-7 years! Thirty million cruised last year and before the Pandemic that number was easily going to be passed in 2020. But with these giant ships housing thousands of people in a contained space, all the news coverage of the cases of COVID-19 that swept the Diamond Princess and the ships that floated aimlessly at sea for weeks; the cruise has suffered a huge blow! Most major cruise lines won’t be sailing at all until summertime. But, like every other aspect of travel, cruising is by no means dead! I have not canceled my cruise to Alaska. Even before the Coronavirus, I could see a split in ocean-faring travelers. A boutique, or small cruise experience, is preferred by many people; and for good reason. A more intimate experience, more things are included, you feel you have more room to move around and are not running into walls of people on the Lido deck. A smaller ship invites a more personal experience and people feel more involved and part of the whole experience. What cruisers enjoy is more peace and quiet, access to more remote and exotic places, a more luxurious experience, bigger cabins and these ships focus more on the destination and the experience of those places than on broadway shows and 7 waterslides. I believe that these smaller ships will see a speedier recovery than the 5000 passenger mega-ships. I am curious if these companies will lower their fare to attract a more mainstream traveler or attach more perks. Most of these boutique vessels have decided to keep no sail orders in place through the end of June, such as Viking; while AmaWaterways will cease operations until the end of July. These smaller ships will clearly be able to recover revenue before the mega-companies like Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corp. But, as a whole, no one really knows what will happen next in this industry as whole countries look to stay closed and there doesn’t seem to be long term or cohesive plans on reopening to tourists.


Travel By Train.

I love traveling by train! It’ easy, relaxing, comfortable and inexpensive. In the face of this epidemic, Amtrak announced requirements of masks for all passengers on trains, in the stations and public areas, the reduction of staff and reduced availability, they are also cashless now. On their website they posted a whole video about how diligently they clean and aim to keep passengers safe.

As far as I can tell, every company is adhering to CDC guidelines and even implementing stricter ones themselves, but I don’t know if there are universal enhanced or newer standards in place. Also, remember, the CDC is a U.S. Government entity and their standards only apply only to U.S. based companies.

What I see happening is virtual experiences and tours (already being offered), people traveling locally, to see family or close friends, and road trips. Our family has had some great road trips: To the coast, Leavenworth, Olympia, going on hikes and zip lining. Take the time to explore what is in your own back yard. I have found local publications in the library that has a whole calendar of events and festivals I didn’t even know about! The time will come for us to roam blissfully, a little more carefully, throughout this amazing planet; and I can’t wait! Until then, try things such as making beachy cocktails, learn some customs of a place you have always wanted to see, keep an eye out for great deals, if you feel safe enough to do so, and think about a great space nearby to visit.

For a list of places that offer virtual reality tours of museums, theme parks and zoos check out this link.



Enjoying close to home walks with family.


For the full article, that I referred to earlier in this post, from The U.S Travel Association click on the below link, I found it insightful.

Please feel free to share any concerns or ask questions. I always love to engage; I usually learn a thing or two.



Visit local museums virtually if you can.