Traveling Before and During the Pandemic

Now it’s time to lock down


Traveling right when the pandemic was spreading rapidly was an enjoyable yet frightening experience. On March 9, 2020, I flew to London, England, and was deeply scared as the countries started to undergo lockdown. Before traveling, I had many thoughts to cancel our travel plans since we felt that we would run into lockdown or trouble.

I have heard of Swine Flu and MERS before, so I thought that the virus would last only a couple of months and was limited to a certain geographical location. During February and March, there was a big scare among Asians living in Europe because there were some cases where people were saying that the flu was an Asian virus.

There were some viral videos that were floating around the internet, such as a New Yorker spraying Lysol on an Asian man in the subway, and an Asian couple being beaten on the streets of Paris. My boyfriend’s cousin who lived in China was blocked from entering the United States for a vacation, and his other cousin who went to Paris felt threatened by some people there.

These incidences made us more hesitant to travel to London. We were contemplating whether or not we should wear masks, because we did not want to seem out of place yet we wanted to stay safe from the early outbreaks of the virus.

When we arrived, Los Angeles Airport was completely empty with only a few travelers in line for their passes. It was a very new experience for me because LAX was always packed with people with huge lines. People were not really wearing masks in the airport, yet the person sitting next to me on the airplane made sure to wear a mask and wiped down all the areas in his vicinity.

When we were in London, we were extremely cautious and constantly checked the news for new travel information. We were supposed to meet my boyfriend’s best friend upon arrival, but he decided not to meet us for safety reasons. We were supposed to take a train to Paris, but we had to cancel because we did not want to risk not being able to go home.

The hotel did clean the rooms twice a day, and Notting Hill was very empty, but nothing felt out of place. We went to all the landmarks, amusement parks, and restaurants with no problems.

People walked around the streets with no masks, people socialized everywhere, and hundreds of tourists were still walking around the streets of Westminster Abbey.


However, two days before we were supposed to go to Los Angeles, President Trump announced that he would ban European countries from entering the United States. However, because of Brexit, London was exempt from this ban. We thought that we would not be able to go back home, but we soon found out it was only travelers and not residents. The flight receptionist did ask us some questions if we traveled anywhere outside of London, but nothing more serious.

After many months of lockdown and quarantine at home from the effects of the pandemic, my friend Junghee and I finally decided to go on a trip to Las Vegas on August 28. We knew about the risks and that many places were closed, but we still decided to travel and brought many essential items with us.

When checking in, the streets of Vegas were empty. The crowds also looked very different inside the hotels. There was no valet parking available at The Bellagio, and only self-parking. The parking fees were also waived, and not many people were working at the front desk. Everyone around us was thankfully wearing masks, and there were hand sanitizing stations all around the hotel. There was even a hand washing station near the ATMs.


The hotel room was supplied with two masks, hand sanitizers, and two no-touch metal door openers. Many bars inside the hotel were by reservation only and so were the restaurants. The restaurants were overbooked and some steakhouses such as Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen were booked a month in advance. Many bars and restaurants had a curfew and closed as early as 10 p.m.


The slot machines had six feet distancing between each other, the tables all had plexiglass to protect the dealers and players, and workers were passing out free masks to everyone who did not have one. The swimming pools were still open, and people were still enjoying their time as if the pandemic never happened.

The pandemic looked a lot different in March and in August. More people were scared to travel and were taking more precautions in terms of the virus. They were staying at home without meeting people, not traveling, not going to restaurants, making sure to wear masks, and staying safe, whereas in August, many people did not care as much and were traveling to many places.

They were going outside, socializing, eating in restaurants and bars, and more carefree than the previous months. Traveling during the pandemic changed a lot, as many businesses and hotels were reconfiguring their rules and company structure to stay safe and open.

We can stay safe and beat this pandemic if we follow the CDC’s rules and guidelines. Coronavirus is still continuing to spread rapidly and over 63 million people have had Coronavirus, with over 1 million people dead from the virus.

There are vaccines ready, and everyone is working hard to fight this disease. By practicing safety guidelines and always wearing masks, we can defeat this disease and be able to travel like we did before the pandemic happened.