Carol Kendrick is the wellbeing director at Insight Vacations. We talk to her about life as a tour guide in the Covid era.
Click here to download the PDF and save it as a pdf
A. I am a retired school principal. However, travel is a passion of my and I do it because it's what I love, not because it's necessary. This is my tenth year of travel. Just finished two trips. One was as the wellbeing director and the other was as the travel director. People are eager to travel again, as we have discovered.
Q. Wellbeing directors are a new addition to Insight vacations tours. What is the job?
A. A. Every state in the US does their own thing. Every city and every county in a state can do their thing. It can be confusing to try to learn the rules and understand them all six times.
The wellbeing director and travel director meet guests and go through a questionnaire. We used to accept double vaccinations or negative PCR tests. However, we will now require that everyone traveling with us has been double-jabbed. The second dose must be given at least 15 calendar days prior to departure. We will continue to monitor local requirements, but we expect this policy to be in effect until December 31st to make sure the experience is seamless.
Everyone has their temperature taken, and everyone uses hand sanitizer as they board the coach. The wellbeing director also wipes the handrails and over the overhead bins. You now have someone who is dedicated to helping guests if they do experience symptoms.
A. Training is ongoing. While there are many things that must be done, such as administering the thermometer and testing the results, it is more about creating a partnership with your driver and travel director. Once we arrive on site, it is important that we spend some time as a group dividing the tasks.
We have also been trained by the Travel Corporation (Insight Vacations parent firm).
One couple stood at Grand Canyon's edge, where they had planned to go on their honeymoon years ago.
Q. Q. Did you have to cut out certain activities or attractions in order to comply with Covid safety guidelines?
A. A. We replaced a trip on rafting that could not guarantee social distance. We had a Navajo visit Monument Valley to talk to us about the valley.
The grill was open-flamed and they cooked steaks and tacos. It was amazing. It was amazing.
Q. Q. Do you have a favorite tour memory?
A. I have two. One was of a couple in their 60s and 70s standing at the Grand Canyon's edge, having a moment. They had planned to go to the Grand Canyon as their honeymoon when they got engaged. But it never happened. It was amazing to witness them share that moment after all these years.
One guest shared with me that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend and asked for my help in finding the perfect location. We discovered that Bryce Canyon was the ideal place. It's just you and the entire amphitheatre. I grabbed his camera and turned it into video. Then he fell on one knee.
Top tip for Carols
Zion National Park is my favorite place. It is a beautiful place to be at the bottom looking up. There is a quiet that you can't describe. Anyone who hasn't tried it would be a great recommendation.
PICTURES: Shutterstock/Johnny Adolphson.
Continue reading: Q&A: Wellness holidays at Alicante, Spain
Eight of the most memorable rail vacations in the US
Six of the top attractions in Illinois, USA