Just Book It Travel Client, Mishael Benta, Recalls her Experience Traveling for the First Time...

...Since the Global Pandemic

"Admittedly, traveling in the midst of a global pandemic is a source of great debate and as a novice traveler, I had no clue what to expect. With so much media attention on the growing numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases coupled with the novelty of this virus, taking an international trip was the furthest thing from my mind. In fact, I planned to take this trip twice before but cancelled because I was, for lack of a better word, scared.

With that being said, I’m writing this while on the balcony of my ocean front room in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I’m currently vacationing at the Hyatt Zilara. I’m catching an ocean breeze, sipping on an ice cold Rum Punch and listening to the waves sing me the most soothing lullaby. If this isn't enough to illustrate the perfection of my trip thus far, should I mention that this resort is operating only at 30% capacity? Could this trip be ANY better?

We arrived in Jamaica on Saturday morning. Upon our arrival to the Hyatt Zilara, we were met with warm greetings of the masked front desk workers. The lobby was empty as we were promptly asked to sanitize our feet and our hands. We were then made aware of the COVID-19 guidelines in place to keep the resort goers safe. Basically, your mask can be off while you’re in your room, when you’re at the beach/pool (as you social distance) and while you eat (as you social distance). Occupying any communal space requires you to wear your mask. So walking from your room to the elevator; mask. From the hotel building to the beach or to eat; mask. If you’re in a shared place, even if no other resort goers are around, you must wear your mask. The staff is strategically scattered around the resort to offer gentle reminders if you 1. forget to put on your mask or 2. if you’re on your 17th Rum Punch and it has your inhibitions a little, (ahem) lost.

One thing that stood out to me was how beautiful the resort is. Previously a Ritz Carlton, the Hyatt Zilara’s exterior architecture is clean and luxurious. Another factor that added to the beauty of the resort was the staff. We were told “welcome home” as we entered the resort and even though we are thousands of miles from the USA, it really does feel like home. The staff gently taps their chest and gives a slight head nod/bow each time we walk past them or before any interaction. Wearing a mask and social distancing can make t