How to say a NICE NO to trip invitations

Have you been getting trip invitations from friends and family, but are still on the fence about venturing far from home? Yes, I know it’s 2022. We have vaccines and boosters now, but we are still not completely out of the woods yet, so the should-I-pick-up-and-go dilemma is still alive and well for some us. I just try not to get stressed about it, and neither should you. Those conversations can be extremely awkward, but there are ways to say a polite and firm no without coming off as boring, flaky, or judgmental.

Avoid sending mixed signals

If you shy away from conflict, you might find yourself saying yes to things more than you mean to. Don’t do that.  Never say yes or maybe if you know for sure you won’t go. It can mess up other people’s plans, affect their pockets, and create deep rifts in your relationships.  Remember, a flaky reputation is hard to repair, and trust is hard to regain once you’ve lost it.

Keep things positive and upbeat

One of the best ways to handle a hard no is to begin and end the conversation on a positive note. Before issuing a decline, tell your family member/friend you’re happy to hear from them and you’re thrilled they thought of inviting you. For bonus points, end with an upbeat line like “I’m so going to miss hanging out with you” too. The most important thing to avoid is using words and phrases like “irresponsible” or  “ how could you?”. Put that in the same category as any others that can be interpreted as conjuring up “gloom and doom.”  After all, pounding someone over the head with all CDC guidelines they are already aware of after their minds are made up won’t change a thing.

Respond from your perspective and avoid making “you statements

Another great way to diffuse potential conflict is to use “I” statements to explain your decision.  Whereas “you” statements can sound argumentative or judgmental, centering your decision on how you feel will help you steer clear of critiquing theirs. Travel shaming was not a good look in 2020, and it still isn’t in 2022. You can’t know everything that’s going on with everyone in your circle, so please extend grace. Use lines like this instead.

  • I’m still a bit too nervous to travel right now, but I totally understand your desire to get away.
  • I 100% wish I was as comfortable as you are to travel right now, but I honestly just need some more time.
  • I’m so sorry, but I still have anxiety about being in an airport or on a crowed flight.  I wouldn’t want my personal fears to put a constant damper on your fun and spoil the trip.
  • I love you and I wish I could, but I can’t. I’m just not there yet, Sorry!

Don’t lie

While it might seem easier to make up an excuse about why you can’t go, the truth is, hurriedly made-up plans or clever cop outs could backfire on you in the long run. First, you’ll have to remember what you said, and secondly, if they are super flexible and keep proposing new dates or times, what then? You’ll have to lie, and then lie again.

Help your friends/family to plan!

One of the simplest ways of to take the sting out of a no and still show you care, is to help. If you know your friends’ likes and dislikes, help them to search for accommodations or flights, cool Instagram locations or make itinerary suggestions.


Best at-home test kits to use when returning to the U.S.

Have you heard the news? If you are an American citizen or resident, you’re now able to order up to 4 FREE at-home COVID-19 rapid tests (per household) mailed directly to your door, courtesy of the federal government. All you have to do is go to this website, submit your name and mailing address and then wait about 7-12 days for delivery. You can even add your email address to get updates on the shipment. Sounds super convenient, customer-centric and cost-effective, right?


But wait one minute. Before you start throwing those free kits in your luggage to use to get back home from your next international trip, you should know that not all at-home test kits are created equal. Sure, the test kits from the Biden administration can be taken from anywhere – your swanky beach resort, cozy Airbnb, or spacious vacation rental – but they are not the best at-home test kits to use when returning to the U.S. because they don’t meet all the CDC requirements.

Here is why.

They are not proctored. That’s just a fancy way of saying that to meet two of CDC’s four main requirements for return to the U.S by air, the self-administered test has to be supervised in real time by a manufacturer-approved and authorized telehealth provider. That person will need to confirm your identity, watch you take the test, validate the result, and issue a report that names the type of test, the lab or healthcare entity issuing the result, and the date.

The other two CDC requirements are outlined below:

  • The test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or antigen test) with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Airlines and U.S. officials at ports of entry must be able to review and confirm your identity and see it matched your paper or digital documents test results.

So, which are some of the best at-home test kits to use when returning to the U.S.? Try these companies:

  1. Qured Video Supervised Rapid Test for Travel, $39
  2. Ellume Covid-19 Home Test, $59 (You pay $39 at a pharmacy and $20 for the video observation).
  3. Detect Covid-19 Test, $75 for starter kit (1 test and 1 hub), plus $20 for the video observation.
  4. BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Home Test, $150 for a pack of six or $25 for one.

Wishing you safe travels and negative testing!

And hey, while you’re at it, save your receipts to see if you can get the cost reimbursed by your health insurance company.