Enjoy this post written by Heather Christopher - my colleague, friend, and agency owner of the agency I work as a part of, Heather Christopher Travel Consulting. We just returned home from visiting St. Lucia in the Southern Caribbean and I loved how she outlined the important details and everything that was involved in making this trip happen right now!
P.S. Head to the end of the post for our BONUS Black Friday / Small Business promotion for your $100 resort credit to Sugar Beach resort in St. Lucia, valid on your trip booked through HCTC by December 15, 2020, for travel through end of 2021.
We did it!
We ventured out into the great unknown ...the world in 2020. Was it more labor intensive? A little! Was it worth it? HECK YES!
We’ll take you through our prep step by step so you know what to anticipate when traveling to St. Lucia in the time of Covid (how are we saying this?)
One Week + Prior to Travel:
We both completed the online travel registration form, required for travel to St. Lucia. It must be completed 7 days or more before your departure. You must get initial approval of your plans. You must then print the approval email
Increased my wellness supplements and water in take! I’m not even close to being a doctor so I won’t link the ones I take (I also work with Dr. Russell to keep me in fighting condition ;) That said, I’m a big believer, even pre-Covid, that focusing on your wellness prior to travel is essential to not picking up even a cold!
Six Days Prior to Travel:
Meg and I started the process of traveling to St. Lucia by getting a PCR Covid test. For entry into St. Lucia a rapid test isn’t acceptable. To our best current knowledge, you are unable to get a test for travel via a doctor's order (by all means, you might have a relationship that allows you to do so). I live in a more rural area than Meg so I traveled 40 minutes to get a test that I knew would come back in under 24 hours. This gave me time to make other testing appointments at CVS Minute Clinic in order to ensure I had one done.
Both of our tests came back negative within 48 hours - we then emailed those (email addresses given on all paperwork) and printed!
Two Days Prior to Travel:
Printed the health form out, completed it and put the health form, the email + negative test into a manila envelope - man, was that a throwback to paper travel docs! (and honestly extremely frustrating that it’s not paperless. A lot of countries are using an app that would then give you a QR code. But alas, time, money + man power are still a struggle for tiny islands!)
Packed! Nothing out of the ordinary packed. We both kept wet ones/antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer in our carry-on bags normally. The only additional item was a ten pack of disposable masks - the only ones I can personally tolerate when flying since they aren’t so thick. We saw a variety of homemade masks, disposables, masks + visors - did not see one soul not adhering to it.
Departure Day - Let’s get to the islands!
An early start at our respective airports (DCA/Reagan and ORF/Norfolk), I’m a CLEAR member and they have a nifty app called Home to Gate to determine what time you should leave your house! Check-in was swift, because we were traveling internationally we had to have all of our documents checked - including the required forms by St. Lucia!
T.S.A. was quick and had maybe three people in line with me - I was super aware that my Global Entry + TSA Pre-check expired during quarantine and I had flip flops on...whoops.
While I had looked up what restaurants/shops were open and their operating hours, it wasn’t accurate. Nothing was open in my terminal until 6:15 AM when Hudson News opened and I was able to snag a water!
American Airlines is not blocking middle seats and will notify you prior to flying if your flight is full. If it is, they will offer you a chance to change (no change fee) or receive a voucher for your flight. My flight to Miami was 100% full and our flight from MIA - UVF was about 85%. To make you feel better, nothing has changed - everyone still lines up for boarding, sooner than necessary ;) You’ll be given a bag with a snack, a wet wipe and a small bottle of water. I am SO bummed in the amount of unnecessary waste Covid has brought about, after all the progress we’ve made, especially in tourism sustainability. You could of course, choose to not take it :)
My seatmates were so lovely and I was grateful that humans still wanted to chat with humans - meeting new people and hearing their story is my favorite part of flying and traveling! Folks were still willing to change seats around, babies still cried so besides no beverage cart (this is specific to AA) and wearing a mask, all felt the same to me. At the Miami airport, I wouldn’t have known anything changed other than fliers wearing masks.
Twelve hours after I woke up, we touched down in the closest thing we can get to Hawaii in the Caribbean, St. Lucia! As we stepped off the plane and realized that the British Airways double decker had landed before us, we knew a wait was ahead of us.
The line moved as quickly as it could, but after an initial temperature screening, showing our approved email + negative test results, hand sanitizer we were into another line for the formal health screening. We waited outside to get into the health screen building for about an hour + then stood in line for an hour + 15 minutes. You are seated at a makeshift table, where the health official views all of your paperwork. Once you’re cleared, they put a specific color wristband on you, from there you go to customs and immigration (yep, you’re not done yet ;)
We gathered our luggage, grabbed our ride and three hours from landing to arrival we were at Sugar Beach.
I won’t bore you with our hour by hour activities because as moms (7 between us) and entrepreneurs, we spent a lot of time working (without distraction!) and spent about 4 hours sitting at the beach reading where we felt almost hungover when we stood up...like our bodies had no clue that they could still relax, we then proceeded to get massages at the spa, it was a solid day.
We also spent a few hours one morning taking a formal site inspection - these are one of the key things that set travel professionals apart from your crowdsourced friends answers on the w-w-w. On a site inspection, we get to meet our partners on property (GM/Director of Sales/Sales Team/Concierge,etc), we get the whole story of the property, learn what’s coming up next for a hotel and the area, along with seeing as many room types of possible to help determine what’s best for you, where the best room is at (because the person who stayed in room 302 swears it's the best, doesn’t know if they haven’t actually seen all of them OR have an actual partner on property to tell them) and introduces us to amazing things like expedited airport arrival service and access to the jet lounge for your departure!
So after we ate, drank, read, said aloud how surreal it felt to be out in the world, praised God for amazing weather for a few days, we headed home - ready to share with you that St. Lucia is open and Sugar Beach continues to prove why it’s on every award list year after year!
Let us know if we can help get you there - start here by answering our questionnaire
1. Price point?
Entry level room category in low season (May - November) starts at $450/night/our client average spend is $6000/week for lodging + car service to/from the resort.
2. Benefits of working with HCTC?
Our partnership gives us access to additional amenities for you! - Daily breakfast for two - Upgrade - $100 resort credit - Early check in/late check out, based on availability
3. How long does it take to get to St. Lucia?
Depending on what your starting airport is, it could take up to 12 hours. As a reference, from Miami - St. Lucia is just over three hours.
4. Is Sugar Beach an all inclusive resort?
Not entirely, but they do offer a variety of meal plans. You can add a plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. You can add a dinner only plan along with a lunch and dinner plan. You can also add it on for half of your stay or all of your stay! How accommodating, is that?
We would love nothing more than to help you get to St. Lucia or another destination!
We specialize in helping overwhelmed, time starved couples and families plan seamless trips - with over 3000 trips planned between the three of us, we’re prepared to help you!
How to work with us
Answer these questions
We’ll reach out to schedule a phone call consultation
We plan, you say yes and the countdown begins!
Travel documents, answering questions, dinner reservations - we’re handling it all!
If you are planning to stay at Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort between now and 12/31/2021 - we’re offering an additional $100 resort credit for vacations booked by December 15, 2020. Other benefits of booking with us include: - $100 resort credit - Daily breakfast for two - Guaranteed upgrade - Early check-in/late check-out, based on availability
Check out all the reasons we love St. Lucia so much in this article highlighting when to go, where to stay, and things to do on this incredible island!
Please stay up to date with St. Lucia’s travel requirements by visiting their website here.
You can also see a list of places you can travel here - while this has stayed relatively up to date, as travel professionals we have access to a subscription based program that helps ensure we have the most current and accurate data for each destination.
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