Hello, friends! Today we’re talking about post-vaccinated travel, and how you can plan for your trip to Vegas for RVR 2021.
As a reminder, you can purchase tickets starting June 26, 2021 at 12:00 PM PT on our Eventbrite page. You can reserve your room onsite at the MGM Grand right now using our Passkey portal: https://book.passkey.com/go/sroy1121mg. Using our room block guarantees you a great rate as prices fluctuate, and it helps us keep our event financially viable!
If you’re fully vaccinated (and you must be fully vaccinated to attend RVR 2021), you may be wondering about traveling. What’s it like for the post-vax crowd looking for a change of scenery? Nif had the privilege of sitting down with Tiffany (she/her), owner of the brand Dandy Puppeteer, and Marinakei (she/her/ella), whom you know from her Youtube channel and Frill Talk podcast series. Tiffany and Marinakei spoke to Nif about their recent travel experiences after being fully vaccinated.
So, what’s it like traveling?
“It was pretty fast - there was no one in the airport,” said Marinakei. “It made me feel better - like, ‘okay, no one’s traveling right now,’” Tiffany added, when speaking about the first leg of their trip. There’s also a significant reduction in “security theater,” and they found they could leave their laptops in their bags while going through security checkpoints (but they still had to take their shoes off). Good stuff, right?
Landing in their airline’s hub, Marinakei and Tiffany were surprised. “That’s the most crowded place I’ve been,” according to Tiffany. Their last-minute trip landed on a holiday weekend. “I was expecting it to be busy, but I guess I was a little surprised,” said Marinakei. But it’s not all bad! “I’ve been in busier!” she said, “It was pretty easy - no problems looking for my luggage or gate or anything.”
Airlines are no longer blocking middle seats, so “Our flight was packed, the plane was full,” and since Marinakei bought her ticket later than Tiffany did, when the plane was reshuffled, they weren’t able to sit together even though they had booked seats next to each other. How were people with masking on planes? “Everyone had a mask on, and the flight attendants will let you know gently to put on your mask,” said Marinakei. “But if someone is a disgusting individual, they’re going to keep being that way regardless,” according to Tiffany. Unfortunately, some folks haven’t gotten the memo about personal hygiene, and might take risks like - say - putting their fingers in their mouth while at the airport.
Tiffany said, “Even though we came on [a holiday] weekend, it seems like tourism hasn’t ramped up yet. We were able to do everything, and most of the spaces that we were in were not that crowded.” Are other tourists courteous about personal space? “Honestly, no. I was buying sunglasses, and this dude was not even like a foot away from me. I had to tell him twice: hey, can you back up?” Marinakei explained. “Even before COVID, I’ve never liked how close people got to me. I’ve always made an effort to get people off my breathing space. One of the things I like, coming from the pandemic, is that people have more personal space! People are more forgiving. Before, it would seem like ‘Oh, I’m just rude.’ But no! I just don’t want you on top of me. Simple as that.” More personal space in public places is a positive side-effect of this pandemic, and we expect the Lolita fashion community to be respectful and accommodating of one another’s personal space needs, regardless of whether we require parties to socially-distance.
“Vegas itself concerns me a little bit,” said Tiffany, referrring to the Nevada gaming board’s and mayor’s actions around reopening. “Since we’ll be inside of the hotel and not in [the city of] Las Vegas itself, I think it’ll be okay.” Marinakei is “looking forward to shows!” and “very excited to hear about guests and brands for Vegas!” And we’re all excited to see each other in their finest and most-OTT coordinates.
“The only thing that I can think of that would be an issue for Royal Vegas is that it’s sort of close to Thanksgiving,” Marinakei said with respect to crowds at the airport. “I was like, ‘I’m not sure if I’ll feel entirely comfortable going in November,’ but after we planned this [spur-of-the-moment] trip, and being comfortable with this? I think I’d be comfortable going in November,” said Tiffany. Marinakei added, “For me, I have an international trip lined up in August. Just to visit family. I felt like I wouldn’t have been traveling before then, so this was a spontaneous trip.” For those of us traveling inside the US who don’t have a passport, it turns out the REAL ID deadline has been pushed out yet again to May 2023. You can still use a regular drivers’ license to travel by plane to Royal Vegas Retreat, regardless of whether it meets REAL ID criteria. According to Marinakei, “The hope is that in November everything will be better. For what I’m seeing now, there are a lot more incentives in different states for getting the vaccine. If someone got vaccinated now, they would be fully vaccinated in time for Vegas.” Tiffany continued: “For example, Ohio started a vaccine lottery. 2 people have won so far. It’s a little bit concerning that they have to bribe everyone into getting a vaccine.” For Marinakei, “Now I feel more comfortable dining in at restaurants. I’ve been fully vaccinated since mid-April. but I’m still double masking and things like that. I feel pretty good!”
Were there any pleasant surprises while traveling? “Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer are everywhere,” said Marinakei. “Before, hand sanitizer dispensers would always be empty,” said Tiffany. As far as positive outcomes from the pandemic go, she added, “I’m really happy it’s a normal thing to wear masks!” “In J-fashion, decora for example, people would always wear masks,” said Marinakei. “Now there’s even more reason for us to have them.”
Thank you again to Tiffany and Marinakei for their insights and thoughtful advice! Here are our pro-tips for booking travel between now and November:
There’s no one “right” way to decide that traveling is comfortable or safe for you after you’ve been fully vaccinated, but there is overwhelming evidence that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in particular really, REALLY work. Before committing to a trip, consider going out to eat outdoors at a local restaurant and see how that feels to you. Maybe plan a weekend getaway this summer, someplace nearby. It’s okay and even normal to be scared or nervous about travel after 14 months of fear and misinformation!
Before you book a flight, read the fine print on your airline’s cancellation policies. Will you get your money back, or just miles? If you choose to buy travel insurance, make sure you know what’s covered! While you can cancel your room booking with the MGM Grand up to 72 hours in advance with no penalty, your airline might not be so forgiving.
Bring everything you need to feel comfortable while traveling. While airports are stocked up on disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer right now, that situation may change over the coming months. Bring your own just in case - but don’t forget about the TSA liquid rules.
Please delay any travel until you are fully vaccinated! And check out the latest from the CDC on when you should not travel. We are offering a flexible cancellation policy for Royal Vegas Retreat 2021 tickets. We can refund your ticket for any reason at all, no questions asked, between October 16 and November 17. After those days, you’ll need to bear with us because we’ll be onsite at the event. If you have concerns prior to that, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thoroughly reviewed your answers to the COVID concerns survey, and we took a look at the restrictions we currently have in place, and we were surprised to discover how many things felt like they were already out of date not even a month later. We will continue to evaluate the situation as we get closer to the event - so as always, stay tuned!
This week’s call to action: as the weather gets warmer, it’s a good time to give to mutual aid funds. Mutual aid, without means-testing, ensures that people don’t have to suffer to get the help they need.
Speaking of warmer weather, early reports show that the western US is in for a more brutal wildfire season than ever. What are organizations doing to protect unhoused people? Wildfires endanger people’s dwellings and have disproportionate effects on those who live outside. In Seattle, we’re paying attention to the work of Share the Cities. Who is doing good work in your area?
Thank you all for your time! As always, you can check https://prettyprincess.club for the latest information on Royal Vegas Retreat 2021.