Marilyn Foster: The world of travel is upside down now, but will be right side up soon |

Marilyn Foster: The world of travel is upside down now, but will be right side up soon

Marilyn Foster
The four intrepid travelers who braved the cold, snow, ice to watch their first Iditarod race in Alaska in early March. From left: Jan Doescher, Sandra Rokoskie, J.C. McKendrick and photographer Trent Pitsenbarger.

Those of us who love to travel are having a hard time coming to terms with what is going on in the world. Our suitcases will be collecting dust in our closets until this pandemic subsides and travel businesses can begin to accept visitors once again. But, you can be sure we will be perusing travel brochures and dreaming of the time when we can again pack.

I was to depart for Russia on April 1 and was so looking forward to this long-planned trip. Of course,

I will not be going and like most folks will be hunkering down in my home protecting myself from any infection. It’ll be me and Misty, my beautiful Maltese, and a variety of books to keep me entertained.

I’m not the sit at home type, but we’ll do what we have to do, though I miss interactions with my special friends at the senior center and my card playing buddies.

I so feel badly for the entire tourism industry and the disruption this has caused from which some of those business may never recover. I caution those who travel to always, always, spend the extra dollars for travel insurance. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Buying travel insurance is that ounce of prevention.

Many tour operators have had to cancel trips costing them millions of dollars. Tour operators like Collette Vacations are providing complete refunds while others will allow vouchers for trips through 2021. Either way, you are protected when using a well-known and responsible tour operator. Those who wanted to save a few dollars by using lesser known tour operators may not find themselves as fortunate. As they say, you do get what you pay for.

The Chamber has had to cancel all trips through the end of April and possibly through May. Fortunately, they were able to rebook many passengers for fall trips to the same destinations. I will be trying to enjoy Russia next year in mid-April, though I will be another year older and even more experienced. My next planned trip is to Santa Fe in mid-September. As most of you know, I always plan ahead when it comes to travel!

I applaud the airlines for trying their best in these tough times to accommodate harried passengers. While I have never personally experienced this type of health crisis, I have had delays and inconveniences due to weather issues and have watched the agents in action, seemingly unflustered. I feel for all those hospitality workers who may now be unemployed as hotels are nearly empty and the many restaurant servers who so relied on tips to pay their bills become part of the army of the newly unemployed when just a few weeks ago, this industry couldn’t find workers.

I am happy the travel club members who traveled on their fascinating trip to Alaska on March 1 to view the start of the Iditarod Race were just ahead of the crisis and made it home safely just before the major epidemic hit. The photos by Trent Pitsenbarger are incredible and the Chamber is planning another trip to this winter wonderland next March. Yes, it is cold, but very picturesque and, according to Trent, “Alaska rocks in the winter!”

The fall trips are still a go and we are hoping the June trips will be a go as well. A new posting on the Chamber’s Travel Club page will reflect the changes. Who doesn’t want to visit Peru or Russia or the Deep South?

In the interim, enjoy your home and family and get out and explore our beautiful region. Americans have always been good at social distancing as compared to other countries. We don’t like crowds much. The only new thing is that we need to expand our distance to six feet apart. Exploring the region in the comfort of your car and enjoying our outdoors will give us a new perspective as to why we live here. As I look at our mountains, I recall the many mountains I have seen the world over and am still enthralled as I look at snow-covered Job’s Peak and gaze over Lake Tahoe.

We will all travel again. Maybe it was time to stop and smell our own roses for a while.

Marilyn is 91 and enjoying her home and Misty, but looking forward to many more trips.