Celebrate Good Times
Global Traveler|June 2021
Travelers again look to special trips to observe life’s milestones.
By Rina Nehdar

2020 was a year of missed celebrations. Graduates didn’t walk to receive diplomas, parents didn’t escort brides to reach their soulmates. Kids celebrated birthdays in driveways, waving to a procession of moving cars. The celebratory moments that make up the memories of a life came and went with minimal acknowledgment. Our optimism told us our next milestone celebration was months away and the COVID-19 pandemic would be over by then. The news told us a different story.

Yet it’s not too late to celebrate. It’s not the date on the calendar that we mark but our achievement of getting to a certain place in life that we honor and which can be observed anytime. Now, with better COVID-19 testing and the worldwide vaccination rollout, many people are wondering how they should do that.

“What better way to celebrate yourself than to indulge in a destination?” said Steve Lima, director of marketing USA and South America, G Adventures. “People come back feeling revived, refreshed, reenergized,” Lima said. Besides just the normal milestones, people deserve to commemorate less glamorous but notable wins like beating cancer or finishing up a divorce.

So when my time came, at the end of 2020, to celebrate living to an age that ends in a zero, I knew I wanted to see and hear live music. After months of listening only to virtual concerts, I longed to hear the soulful vibrations of people channeling their ecstatic experience through trumpets, guitars and voices. Immediately, legendary and historic New Orleans, Louisiana, came to mind.

Yet COVID-19 still dominated the world, and I wasn’t sure how New Orleans had adjusted. The best place to find information about discovering a new city is through its visitor’s bureau website. New Orleans & Company prominently featured the brand-new, award-winning Higgins Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, on its website. History buffs could spend a couple of days next door at the interactive and intriguing National World War II Museum. Because the pandemic struck three months after its grand opening, the staff at the Higgins Hotel didn’t have far to pivot to ensure guest safety.

“We learned the new extra-duty cleaning protocols of Hilton CleanStay when those were rolled out in April of last year,” said Marc Becker, director of sales and marketing, Higgins Hotel. As part of the Hilton family, the Higgins Hotel partnered with RB, the company that makes Lysol and other disinfecting products, to bring a whole new level of cleanliness into each of its rooms and public spaces.

Even with the travel and booking experience I have, I realized I was taking a chance by organizing my own trip and not working with a connected travel professional during this era.

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