Our last family trip was in February of 2020 at a Club Med. We usually travel about 3-4 times a year, and as usual had a great time. Unfortunately, COVID hit across the world the next month and we were grounded indefinitely.

Even though we didn’t travel, I had clients who were. In 2020, when COVID emerged, travel was pretty much was at a standstill. After vaccinations in Canada were successfully rolled out, a lot of clients started booking in 2021. Whenever my clients would return, I would follow up on their trip to see how their experience was, and with their information at hand, I would share their tips and experiences to prepare future clients. Being able to work with local partners at destination, as well as other resources at my disposal also helps me get a full picture of the destination.

In February 2022, Omicron cases were on the decline in Ontario and I knew it was a matter of time before the government would lift more restrictions and open up further. We’ve been careful to do our part to slow down the spread of the virus, but with our two children finally fully vaccinated, it was time to take a look after two years. I wanted to find countries with a comprehensive COVID plan, as the last thing we wanted to happen was being stuck in a foreign country.

Even though I received first hand experience with my clients and resources, with the ever-changing landscape of COVID travel, I had to consider additional questions to suit my own travel decision.

  1. If we were to take a last minute vacation, approximately how many people are travelling right now, relative to busy times?
  2. We were a bit flexible in timing, so I was wondering if travelling on certain days would be better than others.
  3. How full are the flights?
  4. Where should we go? I need to select a country with strict entry requirements that helps keep the country and travellers safe.  
  5. How busy is the airport at the destination?
  6. What type of accommodation should I consider? A hotel? An all inclusive resort? Or a villa?

In the end, we settled on Turks and Caicos for a last minute trip. 

After my research and answering the question I had above, I knew it was the best time to travel if we were going to. The airport foot traffic reports showed that travel was at 25% of February 2020, before the pandemic started and things were “normal”. Because we were flexible, we settled on travelling on a Wednesday since airport traffic is less during that day than other days of the week. Knowing that the airport (aside from the flight) was where we would be most exposed to potential COVID due to the amount of people and being in close quarters with others at Turks and Caicos, I checked the number of flight arrivals between 1-2PM. There were about 6 flights arriving that day from the US and Canada vs 10 flights on other days.

With so many great Caribbean islands to choose from, we settled on Turks and Caicos for the following reasons:

  • Turks and Caicos only allowed fully vaccinated travellers to enter. Visitors also need to complete an antigen test prior to arrival in order to enter. This helps makes sure the people entering the country are not carrying COVID to the best of their knowledge.
  • Low COVID case counts. There were less than 30 cases a day for 7 days during the timeframe we selected. This helped us understand the current COVID state of the country.
  • High vaccination rates. Turks and Caicos had over 80% of their population fully vaccinated, which shows that they took the virus seriously, were protecting their own people, and wanted to minimize local spread.

I have a lot of partners in Turks & Caicos but I selected Beaches Resort for the following reasons:

  • To enter Turks and Caicos, you require medical insurance, and it’s included in the package. This was one less thing for us to worry about.
  • Beaches Turks & Caicos is a large property. With the additional space, it’s much easier to social distance and not feel cramped.
  • Lots of outdoor dining options. They have 21 restaurants and the majority of them have outdoor patio dining. They had so many restaurants that we could dine at a different one every night.
  • But most of all, the Beaches Resort’s COVID Assurance can’t be beat.
    • Beaches has the best COVID assurance policy that I’ve seen… you’re even allowed to cancel the night beforehand and get a future credit!
    • They also include a PCR / antigen test for free and on-site which would make it easy for us to return to Canada and not have to find a place to get PCR tested. PCR testing can get expensive as well for an entire family, with destinations charging up to $150USD per test.
    • In the case you do contract COVID (knock on wood!), you are able to quarantine at Beaches for the 14 days at no additional cost. However, be aware that the room may not be the same as your existing one.
    • Lastly, as part of their vacation interruption policy, they’ll give you the full value of what you paid for future travel credit so you can come back again! 

I booked our flights on Westjet for Wednesday February 9th, returning the next Wednesday. At time of booking, the flights were about 25% full. Not everyone would pay for seat selection but I didn’t expect it to be a full plane.

So, to sum things up, this is the thought process I had when choosing the best travel destination after two years for our family. COVID travel is daunting, but with all of these protections in place, we felt it was safe to travel and experience it first hand.

For details on the trip to Beaches Turks & Caicos and the vacation itself, I have a full post on it here

About Author

Bonnie Ta has been a Travel Advisor since 2015 and chose to move into the travel industry instead of returning to corporate life because travel has always been her passion. An avid traveller herself, having travelled to 5 continents and 30 countries, Bonnie devotes the same amount of care and attention to helping her clients as she would, if she were planning her own trip.

She is very detailed oriented (PMP certified professionally) and takes the time to understand her clients “travel wish list” and takes that into consideration along with their travel style, interests, age group of travellers and of course, budget to curate memorable travel plans. Bonnie has developed deep relationships with world-class travel partners and that helps ensure her clients have the best travel experience each time.

She has experience planning intimate getaways to big group excursions and have taken her clients all around the world seeing the northern lights in Iceland, tulip fields in Amsterdam, countryside of Tuscany, beaches of Maldives to the safaris in Africa, just to name a few. In her own words, “My husband and I want to see the world with our kids and it makes me happy when I can help other families do the same because the memories we have from travelling together will bring us a lifetime of happiness.”

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  1. Wow! That is very thorough research. Good questions to ask and prepare. Thank you for sharing and taking the time to detail your thought process. Great share!

  2. Thanks for sharing your insights and your process of determining where to go for a vacation! Much to consider to ensure a safe and pleasant trip 🙂

    Turks and Caicos looks gorgeous!

    1. Travel definitely is much more complicated now so definitely let me know if you have any questions. Turks and Caicos is absolutely gorgeous. You should go!

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