Summer Road Trip 2020

Ah! The first day of summer is here. The long daylight hours of travel and adventure beckons! Except this is the year 2020. When we see the familiar summer storefront signs that state “No Shirts, No Shoes, No Service”, this summer we need to add “No Mask, No Service”.

People are hesitant to travel and some may choose staycation over facing the uncertainty of airplane travel, but nonprofit travel and tourism grants are still plentiful. GrantWatch currently has over 200 travel and tourism grants listed. Now is an excellent time to start applying for these grants. The competition for travel grants has decreased as a result of the pandemic.

I make it a point to wear a face mask when I am in public or when a visitor enters my house. I have concluded that wearing a mask is the right thing for me to do, and I know that others have concluded not to don the mask. Of course, cloth face masks do not block particles anywhere as close as the N-95 masks, which stops 95% of the virus. 


In fact, an infectious disease research study conducted a randomized trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks worn by healthcare workers. The results showed that infection penetration of cloth masks was a whopping 97% and medical masks were 44%.  I believe any improvement is important and worthwhile.

 As I continue to struggle with the idea of boarding an airplane this summer, the more the possibility of getting sick, concerns me. All major US airlines have recognized this concern and have instituted a protocol that requires passengers and staff to wear a face covering. 

If I choose to fly again, I will only fly on an airline that blocks the middle seat (Delta, JetBlue, Hawaiian, and Southwest), bring onboard disinfectant wipes, and wear latex gloves. 

If I fly to New York, I would likely be quarantined for 14 days, because I live in Florida, the newest hot spot.

United Airlines ‘face-covering policy’, became effective June 18, 2020. Those with a medical condition that may prevent them from wearing a mask and young children are exempt. The problem is how to enforce this internal order. In the past United Airlines has been sued for involving police and physically removing passengers from an aircraft. I am sure they will never forcefully and physically remove a passenger for not wearing a mask.

They plan to have the flight attendant explain in a friendly manner the rationale for the face-covering policy, and then give a second warning if there is non-compliance. After that, the discussion will be documented, and the passenger will lose their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive review.

FAA Neutral on Face Covering

The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has decided not to make it mandatory for passengers to cover their mouth and nose while flying in a commercial aircraft. 

FAA administrator Stephen M. Dickson addressed the Senate Committee on Commerce on June 17, 2020. He remarked.

Secretary Chao and the Department of Transportation have been clear that passengers should wear face coverings while traveling by air, for their own protection and the protection of those around them”

When asked by US Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) if the FAA will be requiring face coverings, Mr. Dickson stated. “We do not plan to provide an enforcement, specifically on that issue. We are reviewing their voluntary safety programs to ensure they are following through.”

So, it seems that each airline will develop their own policy, with no teeth from the FAA.

“Travel is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Its been over 100 days since I was on a plane.  I cannot remember 30 days passing without boarding an airplane.  Flying was an integral part of my life. I am now incredulously too anxious to fly. Certainly not ready to fly internationally.

Travel Grants

Explore America

With all the hassle and health risks of flying, it would probably be better to see the USA via an old-fashioned American road trip?

The states are reopening, and a shorter road trip may be the best option. As a frequent flyer, I willingly, temporarily gave my health and safety choices over to the pilot and crew of the aircraft to get me from point A to point B.

During the COVID 19 pandemic I chose not to be in that position. The freedom of the open road sounds like a better choice.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), has recently warned that if travel does not open this summer, 200 million travel industry jobs are at risk.  The federal government has been made aware of this challenge and is planning to offer solutions. There is a plan being considered that would introduce the “Explore America” tax credit, as part of the next “Stimulus Package.”

Under consideration is a tax plan that may be modeled after the first-time homebuyer’s tax credit that Congress passed after the housing crisis during the 2007 to 2009 years. The “Explore America” tax credit would be used for domestic travel including visits to restaurants.

This credit would be capped at $4,000 per household and would only apply to travel expenses through the end of 2021. The Orlando Sentinel has reported that early drafts of the plan could allow for a tax credit of up to 50% of a household’s expenses for airfare, rental cars, hotel rooms tickets to attractions and restaurants that are at least 50 miles from the family’s residence.

It sounds as if a family would spend $8,000 per household on travel related expenses, that family unit taxpayer might receive a $4,000 tax credit.

Media outlets wrongly reported “The Japanese government is considering a campaign to help foreign tourists visiting Japan by offering support for half of their travel expenses.” U.S. travelers got excited about a subsidized flight to Japan. The reality is that Japan instituted an initiative aimed at people living in Japan only, and not for overseas visitors. The “Go to Travel” is the Japanese version of the U.S. “Explore America” campaign.

Adding to the woes of the airlines, is the realization that business travel may never come back.

After doing business remotely for over 100 days, many industry leaders have concluded that business trips are not necessary. They have discovered that a video conference works as well as a personal meeting.

Wynne Nowland, CEO of Bradley & Parker, a Long Island based insurance company brokerage firm, recently explained in a Wall Street Journal article, that their company shifted to Zoom for sales presentation, and they inked more new business. In face-to-face pitches, the prospective clients would flip through the pamphlet and go straight to the page with the price quote. On Zoom, they listen to the entire pitch.

  “The ability we have to control the flow of that presentation – it’s making it easier for us to make that connection with them”, Ms. Nowland explained. “At the end of the day, if the customer says they need to see us, we’re going to go…But we’re finding operating this way is considerably more efficient.”

Here is link to the Travel Grants category: