Quarantine Diaries: Traveling Home Part 2

I’ve already done some traveling during covid, but I had to go back east again for my cousin’s wedding. If I’m gonna fly all the way home, I usually make a whole trip out of it, since I don’t go home super often. After the wedding (which was SO fun), I spent some time with friends down the shore and in Philly, and also spent plenty of time with my family.

Here’s some pics from the trips:

15I mentioned before that I’ve flown both American Airlines and Delta, and that Delta was far superior during times of covid. That statement still stands, as they are still doing their best to social distance the plane and boarding procedures. American Airlines is still operating as normal, which is why I feel much safer flying Delta these days. Not sure that I’ll be flying again until the holidays, but happy to answer any questions on this that anyone might have in order to stay safe.

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Quarantine Diaries: Traveling Home

So originally, my cousin was supposed to get married at the end of June. My girlfriend and I had planned a nice mini “East Coast tour” centered around the fact that I had to go home anyway for this wedding. Our plans included seeing my hometown as well as the city of Philadelphia, New York City, and the Jersey shore. Unfortunately, COVID had forced my cousin to push back the date of his wedding. What’s more, there was many places we wanted to go that were now not open for business. So, we had to rearrange our plans.

We certainly thought about not going at all, but instead shortened our trip and were still able to see a modified version of our original list. NYC was definitely out, but we did get a very quick driving tour of old city Philly in. We also got to spend some time with my friends in Philly, which included going to Morgan’s Pier and hanging out at my friend’s apartment with a great cheese plate. We also spent time in my hometown and with my family, and went down to Wildwood Crest for the weekend. Vanessa (who grew up in the desert) was obsessed with all the trees, greenery and landscaping, which really cracked my family up. We stopped to, quite literally, smell the flowers, and to take pictures with trees.  The beach was also awesome, of course, and we were able to do some kayaking and paddle boarding while we were down as well. We did a lot, but also did a lot less than we were going to pre-COVID. But truly, we had a great time! It was nice to spend some time at home, of course, but was also nice to plan a vacation centered around my hometown. I really enjoyed it. 

Traveling during COVID was obviously a little daunting and worrisome, but it wasn’t too bad. Here’s what I’ll say – this is a time where the airline you choose really matters. We flew American Airlines, where travel was pretty much business as normal. Our flights were 80% full or higher, with some even being completely full. Masks were required, of course, unless you were eating. The flight attendants gave you a little goodie bag when you got on the plane, and then didn’t really walk up and down the isles except to collect trash at the end. But again, otherwise it was just like any other American flight I’ve been on. I traveled home again about a month later, where I flew Delta. This was an entirely different experience. First off, they were not booking any middle row seats, so the plane was much more spread out. This already really eased a lot of anxiety. On several flights, I even had an entire row to myself. They also boarded the plane from back to front, where as American boarded front to back – which doesn’t make a lot of sense, since you’re forcing everyone to pass each other. The attendants still gave you a goodie bag, as well as wipes. They definitely walked up and down the isles a bit more than on American, but perhaps that was because of how spread out everyone was. After those two experiences, I would definitely recommend to fly Delta during COVID if you are traveling. Now, I’ll be traveling home AGAIN next month, where I’m flying American one direction and Delta the other, so I can give an update then on if this was a one-off experience or if you really should stick to Delta. 

I really didn’t take as many pictures as I could have, but here’s a collection of some of the good ones I found:

 

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Greece!

My family has always been big vacationers, and we’ve been taking big trips every few years since I was little. From Disney World, to the Grand Canyon, to Italy and Spain, my family really knows how to travel right. We’re used to doing vacations with a big group since my family is huge, but this trip to Greece was just my parents, my sister and me.

IMG-6035Our trip started in Athens, which took us almost a whole day of travel time to get to. We were able to explore the city plaza the first day and have a welcome dinner that included all the classic tourist events. We 
yelled “Opah!”, danced in a circle, and even got to break some plates – bucket list items checked off! The second day was also in Athens, where we got to tour the historical sites of the city. First stop was the site of the first Olympic games, and we also saw the Palace of Zeus.IMG-6070 Acropolis and the Parthenon were absolutely incredible and full of so much history. We did some shopping as well, of course, and had some drinks and snacks in different places around the plaza. To continue our deep dive into the amazing Greek cuisine, we went out to dinner with my mom’s coworker and friend whose family lives in Athens. Greek food is full of meat, pastries and pies, and of course, feta cheese. I truthfully don’t remember the names of over half of what I ate – but it was all SO GOOD.

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Following Athens, we took a ferry to spend a few days in the island of Mykonos. (For anyone who is curious, Lindsey Lohan’s beach club was unfortunately already IMG-6251closed when we were there.) The first day included a walking tour of Mykonos, which is full of small white alleys of shopping and restaurants. Everywhere on the island was absolutely beautiful, and I really couldn’t get over the view of the sea. We had more tour dinners in town, some time by the pool, and A LOT of shopping in town while in Mykonos. One day included a boat tour, where we were able to snorkel in the water and explore the island of Delos as well, which is full of history and the Place of Athena. We also spent a night out in a discoteca, which was a great IMG-6371time. My family had dinner on the water one night, where my sister and I both ordered “fish with a face on a plate.” Mykonos was probably my favorite part of the trip, just because it was so pretty and so much fun. 

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Santorini was even more beautiful and breathtaking than you could ever imagine. We took another quick ferry to get there, and also had to hike ourselves up quite a hill to the hotel. Since the whole island is basically built on the side of a volcano, everything is either up- or down-hill. The shopping was also awesome in Santorini, and the views were just as good if not better. Oia is the famous location of the view from which you can see all the white buildings with the blue dome tops – and it certainly did not disappoint. We went to a couple different locations on a bus tour of Santorini that provided amazing views of what the island IMG-6484has to offer. The sunsets in Santorini were unlike anything I’ve seen before, and none of our pictures do it justice. The colors that were created behind the ocean horizon blended into the mountains were one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen in my life, IMG-8123truly. Our last day in Santorini was a free day that we spent on the black sand beach. The sand comes from the rubble of the volcano, which is the reason for the dark color (it also made for an incredible exfoliate). After so much running around and exploring, it was so nice to have the time to just relax on the beautiful beach and enjoy the island for our last day.

The trip home was rough, if I’m going to be totally honest. We already had a full day of travel planned to get back, and the delays out of the Athens airport definitely did not help. It was, of course, still worth it, and made getting home feel that much better. I had to get myself back to Arizona once we were back in the states as well, where there was an amazing welcome waiting for me.

I am always so grateful and appreciative of the amazing experiences that have been provided to me. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to explore countries and cultures that are different than my own, and to have the ability to travel. I’m so thankful that my family is happy, healthy, and fortunate enough to take trips like this. I hope we are able to plan many more!

Thanks for reading!