Guest spotlight: Traveling to South Padre during the pandemic


Like most of us, Victoria Graham was in need of a vacation, but everything from her husband’s class schedule to COVID-19 concerns were getting in the way of some much-needed R&R. After a couple of failed attempts, Victoria and her family decided that their Houston home base was close enough to South Padre Island—the best beach in Texas, in Victoria’s opinion—to try one more time for a trip. Not only was it the family’s first vacation in the COVID era, it was also their first vacation as a family of four since welcoming their son, Charlie.

After a “super easy” search on and a short drive, the Graham family settled in at Pura Vida Unit A, and instantly felt comfortable due to how clean and sanitized the home was. They also loved the fact that the home had private amenities, and they had very little interaction with anyone outside of their family. Pura Vida Unit A features a full kitchen, plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms for the family, and (best of all) a private pool for their water-loving kids.

“Most places in South Padre have community pools, which are fine, but I would say if you can pay more for a private pool, it is so worth it right now. The second half of our trip we were in a different rental with a community pool, and it just wasn't the same.”

Victoria Graham and her two children dip their toes in the private pool of their vacation rental

Traveling during a pandemic safely can be stressful, but Victoria pointed out that it doesn't have to be. In her own words, here’s what she had to say about the benefits of her vacation rental stay:

  • Contactless check-in: Prior to check-in, we received an email detailing exactly how to access the property and provided answers to common questions about the home. Pura Vida Unit A comes equipped with a keypad lock, so we were able to check in without in-person assistance.
  • The vacation rental listing matched expectations: The number one thing I worry about with vacation rentals is the listing photos matching the actual home, as photographers are quite crafty these days. The photos of our Vacasa home were spot-on and matched up with what I expected.
  • 24/7 customer service: Accidents happen while traveling, so while having a keypad to the home is great, remembering the door code is key (no pun intended). My phone died—and along with it went the key code to the home. But with one quick call to Vacasa’s 24/7 customer experience line, we were back in business. While the experience was great, I can’t stress enough the importance of writing codes down in a safe place and sharing them with the other adults in the group.
  • Weekday travel: I love traveling during the week when there are fewer crowds. I know lots of people who are working from home and have kids taking online classes, so if you have the flexibility to venture out during the week, I recommend it.

The amenities families need most: Vacation rentals offer a lot of increased flexibility, but what can make or break a vacation with kids are some of the more functional items a vacation home has to offer. My daughter really needs a bathtub and hates to shower, so having a tub for her was ideal. The home also had a washer and dryer, so while we still packed a lot of stuff, it was nice to be able to wash items as needed throughout the trip.