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Adapting Through "Armchair Travel"

Andrea Kimelheim virtually travels to the Alps in her "Travel with Andrea" program.

At the beginning of 2020, KleinLife’s travel program calendar was filled with great sold-out trips including a 4 day/3 night stay in Newport, Rhode Island. Once the pandemic forced the community to self-isolate with no end date, these vibrant travel plans were canceled.

The travel industry has been affected tremendously over the past year with some businesses forced to close and others stressing over new safety protocols in order to keep going. Another option was to create a virtual space to offer a visual experience while being in the comforts of home, and KleinLife has done just that.

“I run about 15 trips annually from Broadway shows to casinos to museums,” said Andrea Kimelheim, travel coordinator at KleinLife. “As future planning has been on hold, I have been staying on top of industry trends, maintaining contact with vendors and our travelers, and offering a virtual ’armchair travel’ program.”

Since November, Kimelheim hosts “Travel with Andrea” every Thursday, where she showcases a new place to virtually visit and uses her lively personality to keep the community coming back each session. Some of the past virtual ventures have included Jerusalem, the Smoky Mountains, and the Alps.

“I check in with the program attendees to see what places they would be interested in viewing,” mentions Kimelheim, “and also how they are feeling about traveling in the future.”

Kimelheim believes it may be another year or two before travelers will be comfortable going on trips in-person. “I am hearing that there is great reluctance to travel until the vaccine is widely available and I anticipate that in-person groups will be smaller for a while.”

Although the timeframe is unknown for group travel, Kimelheim is keeping the momentum going and planning a great amount of exuberant virtual experiences until in-person travel is possible.

To join the next session, visit KleinLife’s website calendar.

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