TOP 10 Return to Travel Tips:
1. FLEXI IS OUR NEW WAY! Reserve-FLEXI, Preserve-FLEXI, Regarde-FLEXI, Accepte-FLEXI, Disponible-FLEXI, and EMBRACE YOUR FLEXIBILITY! Flexibility is the newest virtue and can help us toward holiness! Bernadette said, “IF the GOOD GOD allows it, there must be something good in it for me.” So true!
2. Accept the mask restrictions and requests in charity. (Thank you Fr. JP Mary Zeller-EWTN). Air France only allows surgical grade masks—don’t worry, they will give you one at every turn and every four hours! Give your preferred mask a rest and accept their clean, fresh new mask for their imposed 4 hour limit!
3. Be kind to yourself! We haven’t traveled internationally in more than a year. We are bound to forget something or many things along the way. Don’t let these irritations trouble you! Expect this will happen and join the club—everybody else is bumbling a little, too, including the airline and service employees! (I could long-list so many things I forgot or screwed-up this first time back to France! I was an annoying travel partner! Mea Culpea Bing-Bing!)
4. Be exceptionally kind to others! It appears many employees are fatigued—and some are overworked. Snappy attitude is likely not about you—so try not to take it personally. Many people are stressed or frayed—we don’t know what they are suffering! Try to be the conduit of a turn-around grace! Kindness and courtesy are contagious! LOVE IS APPARENT! ❤️
5. LOVE is the international language of Lourdes—but your smile is now hidden-masked! It’s like our wise mothers and grandmothers said, “It’s not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it! We need to hear kindness, courtesy, politeness, graciousness in our tone and inflection. Our smiles show in our voice, eyes, acts, expressions and words! (This is especially helpful with language limitations or language barriers!)
6. NEW jet-lag! Seasoned travelers need to rebuild jet-lag resistance. Expect to be tired, like a first-timer. (This can give a great insight into how new travelers feel!) Forgive yourself for your fatigue!
7. Say it out loud and three times: “I am putting my passport (or credit card, or money, etc., in my computer bag or backpack, etc..” Or, write it on paper to better try to recall where your passport is later—and take a pic of your note for a reference!
8. Fewer restaurants, less staff, less choices—and reservations likely required. Limits are real at this time, but will likely improve! Same for MOST services! FLEXI rules!
9. Antigen or PCR or Vaccine Proof or Antibody Proof are REQUIRED to travel! Be sure to arrange tests with enough advance time to depart (test must be < 72 hours before departure). Antigen tests can be done in a pharmacy with letterhead printed results in 20-30 minutes (~30 EUR). PCR requires 24 hours in a laboratory (~44 EUR). Testing is FREE for EU—as of July 07, €/$ (credit-bank card) is required! Purchased home-tests or hand-written results are NOT acceptable!
10. Sanitizer is everywhere! You don’t need to schlepp big bottles—but a small bottle and wipes are handy! For almost 20 years we have requested our volunteers (adults, youth, and students (including nursing/medical), to pray a Hail Mary for the people they are about to serve as the Hands and Feet of Christ (instead of reciting or singing the alphabet!).
EVERYTHING is a grace! Let’s remind each other during complications, challenges and difficult moments/times! Please remind me!!!
Bien Venue! (Welcome home to Lourdes!)