LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — It’s the moment travel journalist Jeannette Ceja has been waiting for: packing her suitcase to fly.
"As you can tell, I’m already getting excited about what outfits I’m going to wear," she said. "I’m really excited."
Ceja recently packed to head to Nashville for Mother’s Day, but it was also for her first "vaxication" — a new term that combines the words "vaccine" and "vacation" to describe the post-inoculation travel plans many people are making.
Ceja has already had her first dose and is scheduled for her second. Then it’s on to Mexico.
“I’m ready to do a vaxication to Tulum in June," she said. "I’m really looking forward to it, and my sister lives in Tulum, so I’ll be able to see her which will be nice."
Part of enjoying Ceja's vaxication experience is packing well in advance. And while that includes her best beach accessories, her travel kit also includes every piece of PPE she can fit, even though she’ll be fully vaccinated by the time she departs.
"It’s still important to know that we are still in a pandemic, so to be mindful and wear a mask until I guess, time will tell when we’re out of the pandemic," she said.
Having arrived at LAX for her trip to Nashville, Ceja was encouraged to see more passenger traffic, which has increased steadily in the last few months.
LAX Spokesperson Heath Montgomery explained how they’re seeing about 50,000 passengers per day.
"To put that in context, that’s about half of where we were the same time in 2019, but it’s also way more people than we had at this time last year," said Montgomery, adding that numbers are nowhere near what they consider to be normal, but it is a vast improvement.
Heath attributed pent-up demand for leisure travel and vaccination rates as the main drivers for air travel's comeback.
"So as we see those numbers increase dramatically, we’re also seeing confidence in air travel return, and that’s the name of the game for the next few months. We’re expecting to see more people coming back to the skies."
While Ceja hasn’t set foot at LAX in over a year, she’s ready to be on a plane safely traveling and looks forward to coming back next month for her vaxication to Tulum.
"I’m really excited because it looks like there’s a lot of optimism and a lot of good news developing," she said.