Houstonian shares tips after traveling to, working from Jamaica amid COVID-19 pandemic

Despite increasing COVID-19 cases, people are traveling- some for work, others for an escape. One Houstonian says she feels safer working in Jamaica than here in Texas.

The work-from-home life Erika Crossley imagined included island vibes and coconut drinks, as she planned a two-month trip to Jamaica during the pandemic.

“This is probably my 20th trip, and it's all been the same, so not really knowing what to expect during a coronavirus pandemic is almost a shocker,” says Crossley. “You can consider it a wakeup call.”

She says when she landed in Montego Bay in June, she found a heavy military presence and hazmat suits all over.

“It looks like a war zone there,” she says. In a social media video, now viewed millions of times, she describes the entry process which includes signing a two-week quarantine contract with the threat of prosecution. She says it also involved repeating information to different agents with about seven hand sanitation stations while working through the system.

Eventually, she was led to an outside area to be tested for COVID-19. 

“You get to really see what it’s like outside of your little bubble,” she says, “how they view Americans right now with our coronavirus cases being amazingly high and how that intimidates them and how that might scare them. There has to be more understanding in reference to how other countries are dealing with coronavirus.”

Here & Now Travel says screening processes can vary by country, but travelers should be prepared for a strong presence at airports.

“Whether it be more agents at their gates, people wearing masks and protective eyewear and such, or someone's putting a temperature gun to your head,” says co-founder Alex Coleman. “If you are going to travel internationally just kind of mentally prepare yourself and whomever you're taking with you for that. It's gonna be pretty intense.”

When flying out he says to also expect limited options at airports and fewer open terminals which may slow down your departure.

“There's only one constant among the airlines, masks are required and at most airports as well,” says Coleman.

He says travelers should also be sure to get good travel insurance in the event COVID-19 cases spike, and they no longer feel comfortable going to their destination.

He also recommends visiting CDC.gov to find out if it's okay to travel there.

Finally, he says to check out travel influencers on social media who are giving play-by-play's about what it's like after landing.

Crossley says it’s also important for travelers to support small businesses in struggling tourism economies.
She's completed her required two-week quarantine, and masks are required in all public buildings. She says since there are no crowds, she's finding it easy to social distance, but the only issue is getting work done with the beach nearby.