What do you do if you have a lot of money and want to escape from COVID-19 hotspots? Travel. When everyone else is at home, you have an advantage.
The Los Angeles Times recently featured an interesting story discussing travel patterns of the super rich during this time of sequester and quarantine. While most of us are staying at home, some of the wealthiest members of society are jetting to scenic resort towns and coastal cities.
Fly to Sedona, Arizona during boom times and you’ll see a fleet of private jets parked at the airport. It was a favorite getaway spot of the elite. Flying to Sedona today and you’ll also find a number of private jets, even though most businesses establishments are closed and there are few super rich permanent residents.
They’re not staying in hotels, though, which are closed. If they do not have their own vacation properties, they are renting opulent houses to wait out the virus in some of the nation’s most beautiful locales.
Quite a juxtaposition to much of the country, as unemployment quickly rises to the highest number since the Great Depression and uncertainty abounds.
Speaking of juxtapositions, this anecdote from the Oregon coast:
Gina Sjolander, her husband and their three adult children are hunkered in their second home, where they pass the days playing board games, gazing out across windswept dunes as elk wander by, and ordering takeout from the Astoria Golf & Country Club.
They’re visiting from the Seattle area — the first hot spot for the virus in the U.S. — where Lil’ Jon Restaurant & Lounge has been in their family for three generations.
The restaurant is closed for now.
“For us,” Sjolander said, “it hasn’t been too much of a hardship.”
Head a couple hours south along the coast to Lincoln City, Ore., and you’ll find Diana Hardy, a cashier at a grocery store. She spends her days sweating behind a mask and wiping down counters with bleach.
“I feel in danger every day,” said Hardy, 66, a coastal resident since 1986. “Those of us that live here full time and wait on them are the ones that are at risk.”
Are stories like this unnecessarily fueling resentment and a more bitter class divide?
That’s not my point in discussing this story, even though I do heap scorn on large companies who took advantage of the PPP at the expense of small businesses.
Rather, it is interesting to me that the suspension of commercial air service does not hurt you if you have your own yacht or private jet. The closure of hotels and resorts is not that big of a deal when you own multiple properties or can take on huge additionally monthly expenses without flinching.
Even in the COVID-19 era, travel and vacation continues. Or is not really vacation if you are just traveling to your second and third homes?