Summer Travel Trends With Sydney Patterson Travel
Fueled by COVID-19 vaccines and pent-up travel dreams, people everywhere now have options when it comes to travel. Whether you’re dreaming of the white sands of the Caribbean or sightseeing Santorini, unknowns still loom: What are the restrictions? What places are hot? What precautions should I take? For that, we asked Sydney Patterson, Fort Worth native and owner of the luxury travel agency, Sydney Patterson Travel, to weigh in on the state of the industry, safe summer travel destinations and her own personal travel journey.
360W: Let’s begin with your travel background and what led you to start Sydney Patterson Travel.
Sydney Patterson: My love for travel started at a young age. My mother was an international flight attendant for more than 36 years and I had the opportunity to experience new cultures and places. After graduating from TCU, I started my career by working in corporate events and travel management. But, during my honeymoon on an offshore fishing trip in Cabo San Lucas, I had my “ah-ha” moment. I knew at that moment that I wanted to take my experience (planning) and my passion (travel) and create these unforgettable experiences for others. The very next day I started the journey to make my dream of owning a travel company a reality. It definitely was a risky move. Who starts a travel company in the middle of a pandemic? But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. While businesses and travel were shut down, I was able to take professional training, get my bearings, create a vision, and home in on the ideal brand. On January 1, 2021, Sydney Patterson Travel was born. In less than 4 months’ time, I’ve personally booked and planned more than 40 trips for my growing roster of clients, with more requests coming in every single day. I’m so grateful and humbled by the support and encouragement I’ve received from the Fort Worth community — and I think we all agree that we are so excited to be talking about travel again!
360W: Word on the street is travel bookings are hot for this summer. What trends do you see emerging in DFW residents’ travel choices?
SP: Right now, our most-booked destination is our close neighbor, Mexico, by a landslide. All of the four- and five-star resorts have strict COVID-19 protocols in place and are practicing safe social distancing. Currently there are no travel restrictions to get to Mexico, but the U.S. is requiring everyone to provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure.
Clients who are looking to stay within the U.S. are feeling comfortable traveling to the Hawaiian Islands. If anyone is looking to travel there this summer or fall, I strongly suggest booking now because hotels on Oahu and Maui are selling out very quickly and, due to the demand, prices are increasing rapidly. Hawaii has very strict COVID-19 protocols in place, with each traveler required to present a negative test (which must be uploaded prior to your flight). Those traveling to Maui soon will be required to take a second test starting in late April or early May. This test will be free and administered upon arrival at the airport.
My third most popular destination is Florida. The Sunshine State is a great option because it’s drivable, no COVID tests are required, and masks and social distancing practices are still very much encouraged. We’re currently sending most Florida clients to The Keys and the 30A region of the Panhandle this summer.
And lastly, the destination I’m excited to be booking more trips to is Greece! The country recently announced its doors are opening up to U.S. travelers starting April 19 and we already have two sets of honeymooners headed there this summer. To travel to Greece, travelers must produce documentation showing they have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or present a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of departure.
Trending domestic destinations this summer are Colorado and New Mexico. For those not quite ready to fly, the mountains are calling! Trending tropical destinations include Turks & Caicos, Belize, Aruba and US destinations like Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. We are seeing weekly announcements from other countries like France, who just announced plans to re-open to tourists as soon as May, so stay tuned!
360W: Restrictions, closings, quarantines, oh my. For many, this summer will be the first time traveling (domestically or internationally) since 2019. Any advice on what to expect when planning travel?
SP: It’s important to keep an open mind. Travel looks different these days and requirements and restrictions change almost weekly, if not daily. It’s not going to be the same as when
you last traveled, and it’s important to only do what is safe and comfortable for you. Hotels and destinations have gone above and beyond to put their patrons’ health and safety first — so, when you’re ready, take that trip and start making memories again!
360W: Give us the scoop. What’s a recent trip you’ve booked for a local client?
SP: We recently booked a multi-city trip to Greece this summer for some SPT clients that has been so much fun to plan. We have them starting off in Athens, a few nights in Ios, taking a ferry over to Santorini and ending the trip in Mykonos. You could say I am pretty envious of their itinerary and may have to copy-cat this trip soon with my husband!
360W: What’s been the most rewarding aspect of navigating the new territory of travel for your clients?
SP: This is a great question and actually just gave me goosebumps because this job is extremely rewarding and it’s truly an incredible feeling to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel with my clients who had been in lockdown for over a year. The moment their trip is booked I am just as excited as the client, every time. I am happy to be that middleman to help people get back into the swing of things to experience the world again and ease some travel anxiety as best I can. I have to say I have the best clients in the world.
360W: A few items you can’t travel without?
SP: Definitely a face mask (or three!) • Anti-bacterial wipes/soap • Laptop/iPad for Netflix during your flight. Personally, I love to binge- watch “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and embarrass my husband when I LOL for the whole plane to hear. • Beats by Dre earbuds • Light jacket (airplanes are notoriously cold) • Comfy shoes • I love my AWAY carry-on suitcase
360W: Any final advice for those who are on the fence about traveling this summer?
SP: Absolutely do what feels comfortable and safe for you. At the end of the day that is what matters most. I encourage my clients and others to make the best decisions for themselves and for their families. Travel will be here when you are ready, and when that time comes whether it be next week or next year, there is little umbrella drink waiting with your name on it!
SYDNEY’S TOP RECOMMENDED STAYS
Montage Los Cabos, courtesy of Montage Los Cabos
Best Romantic Destination:
Las Ventanas al Paraiso
Fun fact: we went here for our mini-moon! And had the best experience!
Newest luxury resort on trend:
All-suite resort features treehouse and cliff facing villas
Favorite family-friendly resort:
Montage Los Cabos
They have spacious villas and a swimmable beach (rare find in Cabo)
Best wellness spa:
Nizuc Resort & Spa
Just 10 minutes away from Cancun airport, with a 30,000 SF ESPA-brand spa!
Favorite adults only, all-inclusive:
Grand Velas Los Cabos
With a welcome massage upon arrival and a personal butler, we recommend the premium suites with private plunge pools.
Favorite luxury hotel:
We are kind of obsessed with this property! Posh suites with private pools in a luxe beachfront hotel offering Italian dining, 3 pools & a spa. Amen!l
Four Seasons Resort Maui
Mauna Lani Resort, “Big Island”
Four Seasons Resort Lanai
Montage Kapalua Bay, Maui
The Kahala Hotel & Resort, Honululu
The Henderson, 30A
Isla Bella, Marathon
Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island
Bungalows, Key Largo
Canaves Oia, Santorini
Mykonos Blu, Mykonos
Liostasi Hotel & Suites, Ios
For more information about the Trend Setter series, contact Tory Dwyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.