Our conversations at home have shifted from when will we travel again… to how will we start traveling again. March was the last time we officially packed our suitcases and went on a road trip. For a couple who travels often, it has been a huge change of pace for us.
Over the last month, we have started to take day trips under thirty miles from our home. We have traveled to small towns such as Calvert, Navasota and Washington to support local businesses and we have met so many wonderful people on our mini road trips. While these have been great trips and it gave us an excuse to get outside of the house and explore the communities around us, we were ready to take the next steps and travel a little farther from home.
We decided to take the leap and travel to San Antonio, Texas. This is a three-hour drive from our home and the farthest we have traveled in nearly six months! Leading up to our trip, I had so many questions about traveling again. I honestly had anxiety and safety concerns leading up to our departure for San Antonio. So you might be asking yourself, why would you travel if you feel this way or why not just stay home?
With any travel, during a pandemic or not, it’s important to prepare and do your homework on your destination. We researched hotels that were taking extra safety measures and following the CDC guidelines and protocols for social distancing. We also looked for outdoor activities that provided plenty of distance between us and other tourists. Ultimately we felt comfortable with traveling farther from home and we made the decision to stay at The Westin Riverwalk, San Antonio.
Surrounded in rich history and culture, the Riverwalk has always been one of my favorite destinations and one of the biggest selling points to Texas (in my unbiased opinion). Choosing a hotel along the Riverwalk was a must and the Westin provided the access we were looking for to the river and walkable tourist destinations such as the Alamo, shopping, and dining.
In addition to the convenient access to the river, the Westin is located in a low pedestrian traffic area, providing guests with a tranquil and peaceful stay in San Antonio. Our suite overlooked the tree lined riverwalk and each room was beautifully decorated, which was a great change of scenerary and retreat from our day to day live/work space in our home.
Although the hotel restaurants were closed and in-room dining was not available during our stay, we were able to easly drive to the Pearly Brewery, La Panaderia and Restaurant Gwendolyn from The Westin Riverwalk hotel.
With safety top of mind for Mike and I, it was important that we really understood what to expect upon our arrival. From the moment we drove onto the property and entered the hotel lobby, the Westin staff and hotel guests were wearing face masks. After touring the property and arriving in our cozy suite, here are a few other safety measures we noticed during our stay that impressed us.
- Did you forget your mask? Don’t worry the hotel conveniently has extra masks at the front desk for easy grab and go safety.
- Clear signage made it easy for guests to follow social distance guidelines of 6 feet apart.
- Public access door handles and push bars are equipped with NanoSeptic Continously Self-Cleaning Surfaces.
- Elevators were limited to two guests at a time and the elevator buttons were also sealed with the NanoSeptic Continously Self-Cleaning Surface.
- Schedule your visit to the pool. Westin has taken extra precautions to keep guests safe by limiting the number of guests visiting the pool at the same time. But don’t worry, simply call ahead and make your pool reservation during your stay.
- Currently, The Westin Riverwalk is allowing 48-hours between guest check-ins and check-outs before the room is occupied by new guests.
- After guest rooms are cleaned, the door is sealed from the outside with a special door sticker to notifying guests that the room has been cleaned. Refrigerators are also cleaned, sanitized, and sealed with a similar label.
- TV remote controls are sanitized and sealed in a disposable cloth pouch.
- Travel size hand sanitizing wipes are located in the room. I loved these because I could just throw them into my purse and go.
You might feel a little uneasy planning your next road trip, but keep in mind we are all adapting and learning new ways to improve travel health and safety standards. As you start to plan you next vacation, here are a few travel tips that might help you:
- Be flexible, courteous and kind to front line hospitality professionals.
- Plan ahead and allow extra time between activities to accommodate social distancing guidelines.
- Understand the hotels policies and wear your mask.
- Call ahead and make reservations for resturants you would like to visit. Many resturants have curbside dining available and limited seating for in-room dining.