Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak: Is it Still Safe?
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the globe, every day brings with it new changes and closures. Naturally, this fluid situation can render information from the day before completely obsolete. What does that mean for your travel plans?
Unfortunately, international travel has ground to a halt. The CDC advises the cancellation of all nonessential international trips. Many countries have their own set of quarantine rules that could put a damper on your holiday anyway. The good news is that every airline and cruise line is waiving cancellation fees so you won’t be left in the lurch.
Even domestic travel through the US has been limited in some regards with certain states like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut being cut off for 2 weeks. Other states may possibly follow suit, depending on how the outbreak continues to spread.
What If I Must Travel?
There are some people that have to make the journey for essential purposes. If you’re one of them, you should keep up to date on the policies at your intended destination as well as any that you’ll experience a layover. You should also keep in close contact with your airline of choice since many flights are being cancelled to curb the spread.
Ideally, a travel agent is an important ally during this time who can help you make changes and keep you from getting stuck. They’ll have the most up-to-date information so you can decide if you should stay or go.
Travel insurance is another way to safeguard yourself, however if you cancel your trip, you may be subject to losing a refund when traveling to destinations for nonessential travel. It’s a question you can discuss with your travel agent to make the most prudent decision.
What About My Hotel Reservations and Attending Other Events?
For hotel reservations, as the impact has been a blow to everyone, most hotels are waiving cancellation fees. If you like to plan ahead, you can even reschedule your visit further in advance and hope that will be far enough in the future to enjoy your travels.
As for events of every kind, all have been cancelled or postponed to later on in the year. You will be able to collect a refund if you cannot attend on the rescheduled date.
If I Must Travel, How Do I Stay Safe from COVID-19?
Keeping up your health is extremely important during this tender time in our world’s history. Follow the guidelines imposed by the WHO for washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand sanitizer if there is no sink), don’t touch your face, and keep a safe distance from others (6 feet).
Wearing a mask can be helpful too if you’re in an Asian country. It’s seen as behavioral and a courtesy to others to be mindful of better hygiene and keeping up proper social distance measures. While the WHO advises it only for those who are sick with symptoms or caring for a loved one that has the virus, recent research about airborne transmissions could mean it can’t hurt to don one. As airplanes are confined in space and long queues will put you in close contact with others, it may add an extra measure of protection for your health.
If you’re having second thoughts about traveling now, reschedule your plans and look forward to something fun when things improve!