All the places TPG staffers will go after coronavirus ends
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Our lives, like yours, have been completely flipped upside down during the recent coronavirus outbreak. At times, it can feel like we are living in an alternate reality, surrounded by events that just days ago might have seemed improbable or even impossible.
As we adjust to our new normal and spend time at home in an effort to “flatten the curve,” many of us are looking forward to our next trip to get our mind off the pandemic. We fully support the travel industry and want to encourage people to travel — but only when the time is right. For now, health officials say the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming into contact with others. So, until it’s safe to travel again, we’ll be daydreaming about our next getaway.
Put on your favorite travel-planning sweatpants, get comfortable and join us as we imagine what our first trips after the coronavirus outbreak might look like. We can’t wait for the day we’re officially plotting our next adventures. We hope you will, too.
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Samantha Rosen, Lifestyle Editor
“Back in February, I booked a trip to Greece in May with some of my best friends from high school. I’m cautiously optimistic that it works out, but if it doesn’t, I’ll either postpone to another date or end up somewhere else in Europe a few months later. I’ve never been to the Amalfi Coast or southern France, so those are two destinations I’m considering instead. I’ve also heard fantastic things about Mexico City, so that’s another idea I’m floating if I have to really switch gears.
My family was also planning on going to California this summer, so I’m hoping that works out, as well. We had previously booked three nights at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills for 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night, so we’re going to keep that reservation for now. I’m also keeping an eye on ExpertFlyer so I can burn American Airlines miles to upgrade us to business class. Fingers crossed!”
Nick Ellis, Reviews Editor
“I’m planning to go back to Buenos Aires for red meat, red wine and the best Italian food outside of Italy. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Next, I’ll probably head to the Hyatt Ziva in Punta Cana for all the rum-based drinks. It’s only 25,000 Hyatt points a night, and an easy 1 to 1 transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards to the World of Hyatt program.
I very much want to go on a trip to Africa I was in the middle of planning before the pandemic broke out. I plan to travel to Ethiopia — visiting both the capital of Addis Ababa as well as a town in the north of the country called Lalibela, famous for the 12th- and 13th-century churches carved out of rock in the ground. Then, I’ll head to Tanzania to relax for a few days on the island of Zanzibar.”
Scott Mayerowitz, Executive Editorial Director
“We were planning to go to Portugal on May 1. That now doesn’t look like a reality. So, my first goal will be to reschedule that trip. I grew up spending my summers hiking in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Depending how long we have to shelter at home, I might be desperate for wide open spaces and will take the family up north.
A beach vacation at an island resort also sounds nice. I’ve been eyeing some of the Hyatt properties in the Caribbean since I’ve got Globalist elite status there, and will want to apply suite night upgrades after living in my Manhattan apartment for weeks on end.”
Benet Wilson, Credit Cards Editor
“My best friend from college lives in Mexico City, so I want to see her before she moves to India in July. Her husband is career foreign service and he’s going to be No. 2 in command there.
So, if I miss Mexico City, I’ll be jetting off to Delhi in August. And because I’m a TPG team player, I’ll even fly Air India — in economy — to do an updated flight review as there hasn’t been one in that class since Lori Zaino’s disastrous 2018 honeymoon flight.”
Melanie Lieberman, Senior Travel Editor
“I was originally planning to travel to Japan with a friend for my birthday in April. That clearly won’t happen. But I still hope that’s my first big trip when the world stops falling apart. I’m dreaming of onsens and sashimi and a stay at the Tokyo Edition, if it’s still on track to open. I’ve been stockpiling Chase Ultimate Rewards points (I know, I know) so I can fly in United’s Polaris business class for the first time from Newark (EWR) to Tokyo Narita (NRT).
After eating my way through Tokyo, I’d love to track on a few side trips to Kyoto and, perhaps, Osaka and Sapporo. I’d love to spend about two weeks properly exploring, especially since my more recent travels have been limited to those between my sofa and the refrigerator.”
Katherine Fan, Senior Travel Features Reporter
“This is the year I want to check Antarctica off of my bucket list — it’s my seventh and final continent!
Seven years ago, I had only been to three continents and honestly thought that might be it for me. Then, thanks to discovering TPG, I found a cheap way to get to Australia and New Zealand — and figured out another way to check South America off of my bucket list. At that point, I figured I just had two more to go, so I hit Africa in 2019 and would love to get Antarctica in 2020 or early 2021.”
Laura Motta, Editorial Director
“I’m heading to Minneapolis to see my sister’s new baby! I’m so bummed that I had to cancel my trip because of coronavirus concerns. So that’s definitely a priority.
I’ve also been trying to get to Sri Lanka for a few years now, and I’m hoping that this is the year that it finally happens.”
Madison Blancafor, Writer
“My best friend was supposed to get married back home in Arkansas in early May, but that’s getting postponed until fall. So, rebooking that trip will be a priority.
I currently have a group trip to London scheduled for August, and I’m praying this mess is at least mostly behind us by then so I can still go on that!”
Summer Hull, Mommy Points
“There are competing travel priorities at my house for when we’re all set free into the world. I’m very much looking forward to a planned summer trip to Banff, Lake Louise and the great Canadian outdoors. We’ve got flights to Calgary, a cabin booked near Jasper and stays at iconic Fairmont properties in that area all lined up (with Amex Fine Hotel and Resort perks). I’m going to be ready for some wilderness that isn’t just my own backyard when this all over. Currently, that trip is booked for June, but I’m mentally prepared to shift it to late summer, if that helps make it a reality.
My kids, however, have other plans. They want to go to Disney when it reopens. (They may still be a bit jealous that I went without them for the opening of the new Mickey and Minnie-themed ride just a few weeks ago.) For now, we have a trip to Disneyland in California penciled in for early fall, which is actually a great time of year to visit to enjoy all the Halloween decor and the Oogie Boogie Bash party.
Award availability into the local Orange County Airport (SNA) is looking pretty good for fall at the moment, and there are plenty of points-friendly hotels within walking distance to the parks in Anaheim, such as the 35,000-points-per-night Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort. But, I’ve promised them a stay (at least for a night) at the iconic Disneyland Hotel. We’ll have all earned it by the time this is done.”
Jill Bressler, Director of Digital Design
“I have two trips that were in the works. First off, my husband and I would love to see more of Spain. We fell hard for Barcelona back in January and were planning on taking two weeks off to explore later this year.
I’d also love to go to Morocco, and am planning a visit with one of my good friends. We’re both more adventurous than our husbands and have both dreamed of visiting. We were inspired first by Paul Bowles novels, and then by other travelers. I love deserts and I’ve never seen the Sahara before, so this is really something I’m hoping pans out.”
Alberto Riva, Senior Editor, Special Projects and Flight Reviews
“My wife and I were going to go to Italy in late March for my dad’s 80th birthday in Milan. We had tacked on a week of exploring around Sicily. Now, my parents will have a birthday party for two under quarantine, and my wife and I aren’t going anywhere — but we want to use the miles refunded from our canceled trip to go as soon as possible when this is over.”
Andrew Kunesh, Senior Reporter
“I’m really looking forward to going back to Hong Kong. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet, in large part because of the city’s super diverse cityscape (and yes, the food, too!). I love being able to go from the intense city life of Kowloon to the solitude of Peng Chau island in 45 minutes by ferry. It’s a pretty incredible experience.
My plan is to finally fly Cathay Pacific first class direct from New York-JFK to Hong Kong (HKG) for 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles each way. As far as hotels go, I have my sights set on using IHG Rewards Club points to stay at the InterContinental Hong Kong for 70,000 points per night.”
Becca Manheimer, Director of Marketing and Events
“I’m going back to Nihi Sumba in Indonesia! My husband and I went on our honeymoon and absolutely loved it. I won a recent photo contest for a free trip back! We can’t wait.”
Andrea Rotondo, Senior Travel Editor
“As soon as we can, my husband and I will go to Sanibel Island. It’s on Florida’s Gulf Coast and it’s the place we return to again and again. We’d live there if we could. It’s Old Florida at its best with incredible wildlife, beachfront cottages and mom-and-pop restaurants. We spend several weeks a year there but didn’t make it once yet in 2020 — and now that’s not going to happen any time soon.
In the meantime, we will dream of sitting on Doc Ford’s patio feasting on the restaurant’s signature Yucatan shrimp, walking along Turner Beach to do some shelling and watching the sun sink into the ocean as dolphins frolic right off shore. We’ll see you soon, Sanibel!”
Gene Sloan, Senior Cruise and Travel Reporter
“I’m still booked on a Douro River cruise in July with a group of 12 friends (as it’s a small, 98-passenger vessel, we’ll be an eighth of the passenger count). It’s unclear if it’s going to happen at this point, but I’m hoping it does.
The Douro is in Portugal, flowing to Porto, and is the port wine capital of the world. It cuts through all the vineyards. The point of these cruises is to visit vineyards, drink a ton of wine and maybe see a cute village or two. We are not giving this up unless the zombies appear (or our leaders still are telling us not to travel; I’m a good rule follower).
Other than that, I have some crazy country-count trips on my to-do list. I’m hoping we’ll see some great business-class deals to Zurich once this thing ends so I can make a weekend dash to Liechtenstein to knock that one off. Also, I was thinking Belarus and Moldova. I did Ukraine last year and loved it. I try to hit three to five new countries a year; I’m at 87 now.”
Featured image courtesy of FG Trade/Getty Images.
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