Students vacation during pandemic

Senior+Christa+Coffman+waits+in+line+at+Universal+Studios+theme+park.

Photos taken by senior Raquel Bosley

Senior Christa Coffman waits in line at Universal Studios theme park.

Senior Christa Coffman was traveling to Orlando, Florida to go to Universal Studios when she saw the usually lively, crowded George Bush Intercontinental Airport was practically empty.

“There weren’t a lot of people in the airport, and most of the restaurants and stores were closed,” Coffman said.

Coffman had never seen the airport so seemingly abandoned and eerily quiet. Coffman, her mom and her friend that she was traveling with were all very surprised. 

Coffman’s three-day trip to Universal Studios was not what it had been like on her last visit. 

“Before and after going into the park and rides, they took your temperature and gave you hand sanitizer,” Coffman said. “They also sanitized the rides after people went on. You also had to wear a mask at all times and stay 6 feet apart from everyone.”

Coffman felt safer having seen many precautions taken, but was taken aback by what life was like now. She never would have expected that the next time she would be traveling would be during an international pandemic. She also was shocked to see such a popular theme park so sparse of people. 

Senior Xander Fell did not notice as many changes in his trip when he traveled to Vail, Colorado. Like Coffman, he traveled by plane with his family and family friends. He stayed in the mountains for four days.

“The limited restaurant seating was the only real difference I noticed,” Fell said. “The airport itself was very similar, but the plane was much less crowded. All passengers were also required to wear masks for the duration of the flight.” 

Unlike Coffman and Fell, senior Miranda Chodzko drove to her destination instead of flying. She traveled to Monterrey, Mexico as she does every year with her family. Chodzko was very surprised to see how different her trip was in comparison to her trips to Monterrey before COVID-19. She stayed for five days in her family’s house on the outskirts of the city.

“The first thing I noticed was how empty the border was,” Chodzko said. “Before COVID, it would usually take us a couple of hours to cross because it’s so crowded. I also noticed that there were fewer tourists because most of the sightseeing locations were closed.” 

As opposed to the U.S., Chodzko noticed everyone taking precautions. 

“I never saw anyone without a mask,” Chodzko said. “Some places even had mats at their doorway with disinfectant on them so that you could clean your shoes before entering. You were even required to wear a mask in your car or else you would get pulled over.”