Travel Jeopardy

“I’ll take 2020 Travel Potpourri for $200 Alex”

Answer: In 2020 ‘’It’ brought the travel industry to a standstill.

Question: What is COVID-19?

“2020 Travel Potpourri for $400 Alex”

Answer: The duration of the 2020 international travel lockdown.

Question: What is six months and six days?

“2020 Travel Potpourri for $600 Alex” (ding ding ding ding). It’s the daily double!

“I’ll risk it all Alex” …OK…here is the answer.

He was one of the last people on an active cruise in March and one of the first to break out of the ‘pandemic prison’ in September.

Question: Who is Porthole writer, Steve Leland ?   Correct!

With this pesky worldwide virus testing my patience, sharing nightly dinner times with Alex Trebek had become a calm in the face of a storm routine. But I’m not one to succumb to sedate conformity, so as soon as I spotted a travel lockdown loophole I plotted my escape.  While land border crossings between the US and Mexico officially remain closed, flights into the country are allowed. So, with the musical ditty of Final Jeopardy playing in the background, JetBlue and I took off for Mexico’s Riviera Maya. 

I promised in an earlier post to take you along if I succeeded in my jailbreak. I’m making good on that pledge and here is the first in a three part series on this adventure of travel so stay tuned right here. 

Taking Flight

Flying has never ranked as the most enjoyable component of travel but with current day reality things have changed and generally for the better.  Entering the Ft. Lauderdale airport presents a bizarre image of fellow masked marauders, cautiously navigating their way through new protocols. Social distancing has gained acceptance and aggressive activity of the past has been tempered. Online check-in has noticeably gained momentum resulting in a shorter, spaced out queue at the airport.

My propensity to travel light with only a carry on is even more appropriate advocating the prospect of checked bags passing through numerous hands before claiming them at the other end. Passing through newly configured plexiglassed security is essentially the same with the traditional shoes off, phone out routine but the plastic personal item trays garnered a degree of heightened awareness. Imagine how many grimy travel fingers touch these Russian Roulette bins of bacteria during a day’s journey on the conveyor belt.  Keeping that thought in mind, limited discretionary touching should be held to a minimum.Hand sanitizing dispensers were prominently placed after passing through although sadly, all three were empty.

The usual rugby scrum of boarding at the gate has been tackled by implementing the sensible process of calling the back of the plane seats first. This avoids everyone in the back passing within inches of front seated seated travelers as they make their trek down the aisle, not to mention being held up while overhead bin hogs try to stuff in their massive steamer trunks. 

Look But Don’t Touch

Some suggested flight essentials should include a small bottle of hand sanitizer that will make it through security, a small packet of disinfectant wipes and at least two masks. Once seated, a good wipe down of everything within reach should be routine and by all means avoid the back of the seat pockets, as if your life depended on it. (It might!)

Airline policies vary but JetBlue has implemented the welcomed policy of leaving the middle seat open. While in-flight service is limited, a prepackaged packet of snacks is handed out upon boarding to satisfy the munchies. Nearly every airline now requires masks to be worn during the entire duration of the flight, except when eating.


With health screening protocols in place, arrival in Cancun instills confidence that international travel can coexist with pandemic pandemonium. Prior to arrival guests must fill out a document  concerning potential COVID-19 exposure and health history. Temperature checks are conducted after passing through immigration.

While taxis are available, we opted to prearrange a private driver for our transfer needs.

The hotels of the Riviera Maya have taken serious steps to mitigate the potential health risks by implementing required protocols. Over 4700 Quintana Roo businesses have complied and received the government issued Certification in Health Protection designation.

With the proper precautions and awareness, I feel good about travel to Mexico. At least for now, the best part is that the crowds of the past are still hunkering down at home. 

With that being said I’m ready to enjoy.

“I’ll take, Tequila Potpourri for $200, Alex”.

Next chapter…..Escape From The Bummer Of A Summer.

As a former Cruise Director, Steve has been cruising the world for the past forty years. Bringing a new dimension to cruise journalism, he continues to spin the globe searching for off the grid cruise adventures and unplugged destinations to share with Porthole Cruise Magazine readers.