Coronavirus canceled their group travel plans. They still plan to meet up — virtually
The four friends met up for a lighthearted chat over drinks and laughs during a challenging few weeks worldwide. But they didn't meet up in person -- they weren't even on the same continent.
The cancellation of a well-planned trip might prompt a rain check on scheduling future plans for some. But for these friends, it meant rethinking what real-world connection looks like: chatting over wine in two countries and taking silly photos.
As the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 spreads globally, travelers are finding ways to stay connected with their travel buddies -- even if their trips have been postponed.
TPG Lounge member Christian, who is based in Denver (DEN), and his crew aren't letting canceled plans get in the way of fun. He and his travel partner Brenda initially planned to surprise a buddy who lives in Spain in mid-May, but the trip was canceled because of coronavirus concerns. Christian said Brenda was high-risk for coronavirus and his friends across the pond, Thomas and Sandra, are under mandatory quarantine in Spain.
"We FaceTime once a day, when the 7-hour time zone difference is comfortable for all," Christian told me through Facebook Messenger. The four friends met on a scuba driving trip in Cozumel in 2018.
Other TPG Loungers are also getting creative. Here's what they told me.
Katy in Wisconsin was scheduled to visit her mother, her mother's best friend and partner.
"The trip was supposed to be a long weekend (this upcoming weekend) to visit them at Leann's in Washington state, spend some time in Vancouver, WA, and go to Astoria WA," Katy said. "We've been texting and chatting on the phone so far. We are planning to video chat this weekend probably via [Facebook] Messenger. Maybe drinks or dinner together kind of thing."
Now that travel plans are out of the window, what's next?
"I have a [Delta] credit waiting for me when I rebook, we're hoping to make the trip happen this summer depending on how everything goes," Katy said.
Blake, a fellow TPG Lounger, was scheduled to visit Chicago with a few pals over the weekend. Chicago reported over 300 cases of coronavirus as of March 21 and the city's mayor has put a "stay at home" order in place.
With that in mind, Blake replanned a whirlwind weekend with her friends, all from her home and without seeing them.
"With the recent shelter in place order, we [can] now no longer see each other or eat [at] a restaurant or go to an escape room, so we decided to do a virtual spa party," Blake said. "We are going to put on face masks and use other beauty products and then do a Facebook video chat."
How are you keeping the spirit of travel alive during the coronavirus pandemic? Let us know in the comments below.