Traveling and the Coronavirus

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Everywhere I look, there it is – hysteria around the pandemic of Coronavirus. You have two extremes: people freaking out worried about dying and people who say it’s all a media craze and you’ll be fine if you just wash your hands a little more than usual. I’m not a health professional, so I’m not going to chime in on the medical aspect, but I am an expert in travel and there’s no denying that Coronavirus is seriously affecting travel.

Should I cancel my trip because of Coronavirus?

When it comes to traveling, my personal concern isn’t with contracting the virus; I’m more worried about canceled flights, quarantines, and closed tourist destinations. Japan was supposed to be my big trip of 2020. I was planning to go in late March/early April for cherry blossom season. Will I still be going? No. Not because I think I’ll get Coronavirus and die, but because schools, Disney, and so much more are completely closed in Japan right now. Flights are getting canceled to and from countries like China, Italy, and more could be added to the list any day. I’d hate to get stuck somewhere and have to stay in an expensive hotel room the entire time.

But at the same time, if you’re a budget traveler, now is the time to cash in. Both American Airlines and Delta have announced change fee waivers for tickets purchased this month with travel dates all the way up until February 25, 2021. With so many cancellations and almost empty flights, they have to do something to recoup costs. So there’s really no harm in purchasing a ticket this month for travel later in the year. The flight deals are great and if this thing blows over, it could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And if it doesn’t, you could always cancel.

To be honest, I’m considering it. There’s no way to know just how long this will last, but resisting those flight deals is getting harder and harder, especially to places that aren’t that close to China! I probably won’t book anything before summertime, but after that, don’t be surprised if you see me jetting off to somewhere warm and sunny!

Would you travel during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Photo by Ryan Carpenter.