HOW CORONAVIRUS CHANGED OUR TRAVEL PLANS – our experience traveling through the COVID-19 pandemic

Hey everybody, welcome back to another video.

I’m Rachel Takeman and I’m trying to bettermyself in 2020 by conquering a new goal every month and tracking it all through YouTubevideos.

Thanks for tuning into another video.

If you haven’t yet, click that subscribebutton down below! So for today I had promised a super cool travelvideo with pictures and videos of where we went and reviews of the things that we wereplanning to do.

Well, the coronavirus threw us a curveball, and I didn’t really feel like I could just ignore that.

So today’s video is going to be all aboutour process of traveling through a pandemic and how our travel plans changed daily.

I also mentioned in my last two travel videosthat I was going to give you guys a final total of how much our trip cost to give youguys an idea of how much a trip like ours would cost you.

Well, our trip ended up changing a lot dueto the coronavirus, so I don’t really think that the final total will be as helpful asI originally thought.

We did have a few unexpected costs becauseof the COVID-19 virus which I will tell you guys about.

if you’re really interested in the priceof all this, just direct message me through Facebook or Instagram and I can give you allthe details.

So this week is all about the bad parts oftraveling, or rather the unexpected parts.

But next week’s video will be more of ahighlight reel of all the amazing things we did and saw and I’ll tell you guys aboutour favorite things and our best recommendations from our experience.

I want to preface this by explaining thatwhen we left on our trip, Coronavirus precautions were very different than they are now.

When we left, we didn’t think twice aboutgoing because we weren’t going to Italy or China or anything like that.

When I say that the situation changed dailywhile we were gone, I mean it.

There were no travel bans, no school closures, no toilet paper hoarding.

The only advice we had was to wash our hands.

So we didn’t ignore the safety advice, theresimply was none.

I also want to just say that this video wasreally hard to make.

I’m super disappointed that our trip wasimpacted this way, yet I feel like by expressing my disappointment, I’m judged for not recognizingthe severity of the situation.

I understand how serious this is.

We’re in quarantine now and we’re takingevery precaution to slow the spread.

I’m not lessening the importance of this.

But I do want to say that it sucks that itimpacted our travel.

And if that offends you, I’m sorry.

But this doesn’t have to be a polarizingissue.

I can be concerned for the fate of our country, our world, and still be bummed that things are being cancelled.

People are cancelling weddings, graduations, proms.

These are not small things and people shouldfeel safe to say that they’re disappointed without being judged for not caring.

Justin and I saved a lot of money for thistrip and we planned for it for a long time.

It was literally once-in-a-lifetime and it’snot something we’ve ever done before.

So it sucks.

But life goes on.

And I want to tell you guys all about ourexperience because I hope that you never end up traveling during a pandemic and never haveto go through this.

So we started our trip in Lisbon, Portugal.

Nothing was changed in Lisbon.

Until days later, when the travel ban wasimposed on mainland European countries.

So we just went about our travel plans likewe expected to.

The next two days we spent in Dublin.

At this point, the coronavirus was not a realthreat in Ireland, so nothing was really changed there.

We still were able to use our Dublin Passand go to all of the places we wanted to, or at least, as many as we had time for.

We had a great time in Dublin.

There were signs everywhere that remindedpeople to wash their hands and assured customers that restaurants were being sanitized, butnothing was closed at this point.

The only issue we had was that we were informedthat the St.

Patrick’s Day parade on the 17th would be cancelled.

This was a bummer for sure, but we were assuredthat people would still be partying in the pubs.

Man how that changed just days later.

After Dublin, we rented a car to head up toNorthern Ireland.

The first day, we spent all our time in thecity of Belfast, which was still very much open, and the second day we drove up northto some outdoor spots we wanted to see, which also were not impacted by COVID-19.

But this was when we started to realize howserious it was getting, mainly in America.

While we were here, we heard about collegesclosing and public schools closing.

But still, we hadn’t seen too much impactin the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

After our time in Northern Ireland, we drovedown to Howth.

And this was when we started to feel the impactof coronavirus on our trip.

Sunday morning we woke up to the news thatDonald Trump’s travel ban would include Ireland and the UK, where previously it hadexcluded these two countries.

Sunday morning was the first time we talkedseriously about coming home.

We didn’t really want to, and at that pointin our travel, our trip wasn’t impacted by the virus at all.

But we discussed whether we were making theresponsible choice by staying and continuing on.

But after seeing the pictures of the massivecrowds at O’Hare Airport and the other few airports that were still open, we decidedagainst coming home at that point.

We figured we would probably be safer goingon with our trip rather than going to a crowded airport like that.

So we continued on with our trip and stillplanned to come home on Sunday the 22nd, hoping that the airports wouldn’t be so crazy busya week later.

We didn’t realize this, but on March 13th, the Irish government instructed tourist attractions and cultural institutions to close.

They also directed group gatherings to becancelled if they were over 500 people outdoors or 100 people indoors.

We didn’t realize this until we went tothe National Birds of Prey Center, where we were supposed to learn about falconry.

It was closed and the sign said that it wouldbe closed for the rest of the month.

This was the first real disappointment wehad on our trip, but we were still determined to make the best of it.

Instead of going to Birds of Prey, we wentright to our AirBnB and we got to spend more of the day in Cork.

But in Cork, we just found disappointmentafter disappointment.

The next few days it just felt like everythingclosed right before we arrived.

We weren’t too worried about the noticethat we saw at Birds of Prey because most of what we wanted to do in Cork and Galwaywas in nature or just walking around and touring the cities, so it wasn’t as many “touristy”things like we wanted to do in Dublin and London.

But once the tourist attractions closed, manypubs and breweries did, too.

One of the main things we wanted to do inthe city of Cork was go to a few craft breweries.

Cork is known for craft beer in Ireland.

But the ones we wanted to see were all closedand most local pubs were, too.

This was really hard because I don’t knowabout you guys, but travel to me is all about the local flavors.

And not to mention the fact that we were atAirBnBs and literally couldn’t just cook for ourselves.

But even though we weren’t able to choosebetween all the coolest places to eat in Cork, we still found a few good places with Irishfood, so it could have been worse.

It was a little strange walking around andseeing all the businesses closed, but the city was still alive and bustling.

And since it was Sunday, some of these placesmight have been closed anyway.

Another thing that happened while we werein Cork was that the host of our AirBnB in London contacted me and let me know that hewas experiencing some of the symptoms of coronavirus.

He assured us that he was self-quarantining.

And he let us know that if we cancelled wewould not be penalized and we would get a full refund, but that if we wanted to keepour reservation, he was still willing to host us and he would just keep his distance.

But this left us with a decision to make.

I started looking into some other places wecould stay in London, but just didn’t make a decision immediately.

On the morning of the 16th, we were planningto go to the Cliffs of Moher.

On our way there, we stopped in Limerick toget some food.

It was a ghost town.

We walked by dozens of empty pubs before wefinally found a corner with three open cafes.

Nothing was open in Limerick.

After the Cliffs of Moher we headed up toour AirBnB in Galway.

After chatting with our AirBnB host for awhile, we took a bus to the city center.

On our way there, I received an email fromthe Playhouse Theater in London saying that they were closing and would be cancellingall shows.

This was the only thing I didn’t tell youguys about in my travel videos.

Justin’s birthday is March 26th so I plannedan extra special birthday surprise for him.

I bought tickets for us to see Emilia Clarkeperform at a theater in London.

Literally once-in-a-lifetime.

But it was cancelled, so I broke the newsto Justin.

We were super bummed about that, but it seemedlike it was the only thing closed in London, so we were still really excited about therest of our trip.

When we got to Galway city center, it wasempty.

Just like Limerick.

It was nighttime, so we weren’t even lookingfor tourist attractions or anything like that.

I knew that all the cathedrals and castleswould be closed.

We were just looking for a pub to eat at.

There was only one place open in Galway.

A little Italian restaurant.

We walked around for a while afterwards andsaw hardly any people and hardly any businesses open.

It was so crazy! That night, I narrowed down our London AirBnBsearch to book a new one, but I fell asleep before actually booking the one we were lookingat.

The next morning, March 17th, I woke up prettyearly, and I just had a feeling.

I might have just been bummed that the paradewas cancelled and the play in London was cancelled.

But I woke up certain that we should comehome.

So I started looking into flights and lookinginto our cancellation policies for everything we had planned for London.

Then when Justin woke up, we talked aboutit, and we agreed we should probably book a flight home.

I spent that whole morning making the plans.

AirBnB was the easiest to cancel.

They gave us a full refund for our originalLondon stay and put it back on our card.

And I didn’t actually go through with bookinga new place for our London stay, thank goodness.

Aside from AirBnB, we had some touristy thingswe had scheduled.

One of these was the theater tickets in London.

I got word a few days later that they wouldbe refunding the tickets.

So they gave us a voucher in the amount wepaid to use on tickets in the future.

Another thing we paid in advance for was ourLondon Passes.

On the 17th, they had yet to close all theattractions, so I figured they wouldn’t be giving refunds.

But the London Pass is actually good for awhole year after it’s purchased, so I doubt they’ll give refunds if it’s good untilJanuary of 2021.

The last thing we paid for in advance wasthe bus tour.

Again, on the 17th, things like this werenot yet cancelled, but we got word a couple days later that it was cancelled and thatthey would be giving us a full refund in the form of a voucher for a future trip.

I cancelled both our flight from Dublin toLondon for the 18th and our flight from London to JFK for the 22nd.

Both airlines gave us travel vouchers to useon a future trip, but it didn’t process until a week later.

So another thing that we could use for a futuretrip, but it didn’t help us for this trip.

I definitely would have rather had a cashrefund for these expenses, because our plane tickets were much more expensive than expected.

I know people were making jokes about findingcheap flights because of coronavirus, but I don’t know where they were finding them.

We found the cheapest flight possible andit was $500 each.

Which, if you saw my first video, $1000 totalis more than we spent on all of our flights combined when we originally booked them.

Our intended flight home for the 22nd wasonly about $450 for both of us.

So, needless to say, $1000 was a tough pillto swallow.

But I felt so sure that this was the rightmove, rather than to go to London and just be disappointed at every turn and struggleto find restaurants to eat at.

And sure enough, later that day, our originalflight home was cancelled, a couple days later everything in London was closed, and a fewdays later, the travel ban got even more strict and we would have been stranded in Europeif we had stayed.

It was definitely the right move to make.

Just a painful price tag.

But we had saved enough for the worst casescenario, in case of an emergency just like this, so we booked the $1000 flight.

It left about the same time as our intendedflight from Dublin to London, so we still continued on to Dublin for St.

Patrick’sDay.

I knew that Dublin was going to be a ghosttown like the other cities and that it would just be super disappointing.

But Justin wanted to go out and have one lastGuinness and make the most of our trip.

When we got off the bus, we were in an areaI didn’t really recognize right away.

But when we walked around the block I realizedwe were right in the center of the city.

A place that was bustling just a few daysearlier.

I can’t even explain how devastating itwas to see Dublin so empty on St.

Patrick’s Day.

And I’m not exaggerating when I say thatnot a single pub was open.

We walked around for a long time before finallyfinding one place that was serving food.

Another Italian place.

It was good food.

Not Irish food though.

And we did have our last Guinness.

But it was poured from a can.

And it wasn’t even poured right.

It was so disappointing.

On the 18th, we got up bright and early tostart our long travel day.

We flew Aer Lingus from Dublin to GatwickAirport in London, and then waited for a few hours.

Our flight from Gatwick to JFK was delayed, which was fine by me, as long as it didn’t get cancelled.

And thankfully it didn’t.

Our flights were actually really nice.

Most of the normal hassles of airplane travelwere gone because there was hardly anyone on the plane.

We didn’t have to wait to board becausethe planes were only like 10% full.

Literally, on our flight from Dublin to Gatwickthere were only 25 passengers.

Gatwick to JFK had more passengers, but westill had a whole row to ourselves.

Which also meant that there was plenty ofroom for overhead luggage, which is usually a hassle.

We also got extra snacks and drinks becausethey had extra.

And when it was time to exit the plane, everyonegot off so quickly and easily, compared to the usual, where people are standing up andfighting to get their luggage down just to stand and wait for 20 minutes.

Other than flight cancellations, my othermain concern was that it would be crazy busy at JFK and would take forever to get throughcustoms.

To my surprise, it was the exact opposite.

We filled out a paper before exiting the planethat asked us where we had been and if we were experiencing any symptoms.

When we were getting off the plane, therewere a few medical professionals waiting at the door of the plane who took our temperature, asked if we were experiencing any symptoms, and then took that paper.

They gave us a letter from the CDC instructingus to self-quarantine for 14 days.

After that, it took about 10 minutes to getthrough customs and about 10 more minutes to find our luggage and leave.

This was really nice because it was prettylate at night and since we were used to a different time zone, it felt even later.

So we have been in self-quarantine since the18th and we’ve not left the house for anything, except to pick up our cat.

It’s crazy looking back and seeing how muchchanged in just ten days.

Like I said, we’re really bummed that ourtrip was cut short, but honestly we got to do so much considering the circumstances.

If we were traveling just a few days later, we wouldn’t have been able to do anything in Dublin and our whole trip might have beencancelled.

Overall, we had a great time just being togetherand being in a new place.

We fell in love with Ireland and we can’twait to go back.

Thank you guys so much for tuning in again.

I hope this video and the other two travelvideos have been super informative and helpful.

If you like this video, click the thumbs upbutton down below.

And make sure you tune in next week for thefinal part in my travel series so that you can hear about the highlights of our trip! And next week I’ll be telling you guys aboutwhat my April goal is! If you haven’t yet, click the subscribebutton down below and ring the notification bell so that you don’t miss a video.

And comment down below how you guys are doingwith all the coronavirus craziness! I hope you guys have an awesome week and I'llsee you next week!.

Leave a Comment