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When I look back on last year’s New Year’s Travel plans, I want to laugh and then cry a little. How wrong I was! After the first four trips on the list, every single thing was canceled. I was in denial at first, and then I was amazed. It is hard to believe the pandemic has lasted so long, along with everything else 2020 threw in. I found myself grateful for the time to really invest in this blog but also to be present. Normally, I am moving so fast that I don’t stop to process my feelings about what’s right in front of me. Constantly planning for the future keeps me moving. This past year has helped me slow down and be grateful. Every day that I have woken up breathing easily, I have truly been thankful. Making connections with others has become more meaningful. Even a ten-minute chat with another cocktail blogger through Instagram DM has brought me joy.

How I’ll Travel in 2021

As I look forward to the year ahead, I am trying to balance having things to look forward to, while being realistic. I can literally cancel and rebook plans for an entire trip in less than 20 minutes now. The airlines and hotels have made this possible. But mentally I have allowed myself to become more adaptable as well. While many people are waiting on the vaccine to travel, some of us have ventured out already. I definitely want to be safe but find it hard to sit still. 2020 certainly has helped me to be less judgmental about others, and focus more on myself. I have also thought a lot about the global economy, small businesses, and tourism.

A Few of My Travel Tips

I feel like these practices have worked well for me this past year. I certainly didn’t invent them, but people ask me how I have been traveling, so thought I’d share.

  • Quarantining prior to travel. I’ve worked from home for five years. Staying away from the world is easy and possible for me. I have no children and my husband has also worked from home since March 2020. So, I can make sure I am healthy before traveling.
  • Getting tested prior to travel. For my trip to Aruba in December, this was a requirement. Not only was it painless (minus the $199 cost due to needing it within a rushed timeframe), but I felt better flying knowing I was negative.
  • Staying safe out in the world. I know for some people, leaving the house is too much of a risk. For me, it’s worth it for my mental and physical well-being. I always wear a mask, and upgraded to these for flying. And I try to stay outdoors and away from others as much as possible. I also wear my mask when talking to waitstaff or on a hiking trail. It’s the least I can do.
  • Choosing places that are taking things seriously. On my drive back from visiting a distillery in Duluth this fall, I stopped for gas and lunch. When I looked inside, no one was distancing or wearing a mask, so I got back in my car.
In all, 2020 held many unexpected surprises–like this last-minute trip to Aruba in December with a friend.

Travel Plans for 2021

As you might imagine, there’s not much actually planned in 2021. I am trying to plan less as things tend to change by the minute. We were supposed to end 2020 in Palm Springs and hiking Joshua Tree, but California locked down again. Also, I usually travel a lot for work, and that is all still on hold. That said, we do have a couple of plans and ideas for 2021:

  • Costa Rica (personal): we’ll be returning to a place we’ve been twice before. It’s a small, eco-resort that offers several pools, a beach, hiking trails, and outside dining. We’ve booked for mid-January, so hoping that plan sticks.
  • Charleston, SC (blog): I had a lot of fun visiting cities in 2020 by car to check out cocktail bars. (Nashville and Oklahoma City were two of my favorites in 2020.) Due to limited capacity, outdoor seating, and extra precautions, I have found cocktail bars to be among the safest environments I’ve encountered. (Certainly not the raging bar scenes you might have imagined or seen on the news.)
  • Seaside, FL (personal): my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and nephews moved to Seaside in December. We’re planning a trip over Easter weekend to see them.
  • Scandinavia (personal): this has yet to be planned, but will hopefully happen in 2021. My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary.
  • Omaha, NE (personal & blog): my parents are moving from Montana to Omaha in February. Plus, I have yet to write a cocktail guide for Omaha, so double win!

There are so many other places that I hope to get to, like my rescheduled mezcal tour of Oaxaca. But, I am trying to be realistic, safe, and patient. Above all, I am really hoping to see more family and friends in 2021. People are the best part of my life, and 2020 had far too few of them. Cheers to a wonderful year ahead for you!

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