COVID-19 forcing some travelers to alter Thanksgiving plans

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- In what's generally the busiest travel day of the year, RDU Airport felt much slower than in years past. However, some brave travelers decided to venture out and catch a flight.

Raleigh resident Allison Smith usually stays in town with family to celebrate but this year is much different.

"We are headed to Puerto Rico to enjoy some time away for Thanksgiving," said Smith. Smith and her daughter were traveling together Wednesday and would be meeting the dad and brother who are already down there.

The Smiths have parents who are immunocompromised, thus making it difficult and dangerous to meet as a family.

"It's just hard to get together with everyone nervous about COVID," Allison Smith said. "So we decided as a family, we'd hop over to Puerto Rico by ourselves for the first time. Once we're there, we will FaceTime for Thanksgiving Day."

One mother and her two children are skipping a traditional Thanksgiving and instead going to Walt Disney World.

Boston native Shandolyn Wilson normally goes home for the holidays. However, her husband underwent a kidney transplant, and they decided before the pandemic that they would stay home. COVID-19 reinforced their decision.

"My husband has this expression all the time," Wilson said, "I will not allow it to defeat me, but I will defeat it. I just knew something was going to change. But we roll with the punches. We say wherever it leads, that's where we're going to go. And we just took it step-by-step and day-by-day."

Wilson said she will miss her mother's turkey, collard greens and other delicious sides. Usually, she would look to her sister for her signature dish.

"My sister has a spin on macaroni and cheese. I'm going to miss all of that," Wilson said. "But one thing I learned, I know how to do it. I may miss their hands, but I'm smart. I know how to put it together."

Wilson told ABC11 that traveling to Boston next year is a must.

"If we still have to go through the same thing, so be it," she said. "But I'm not going to let it stop me. 2021, I am going back home. I'm going back to Boston to get my seafood, see my family; all that kind of stuff."
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