I haven’t had the chance to write for my blog for the past months since I have been busy with other projects. But lately, I have got so many inquiries about travel amid the coronavirus outbreak. Friends, clients, and colleagues have been asking the question: should I go or should I stay?
I assumed here that everyone reading this blog is familiar with the current coronavirus epidemic making its way around the world. If you have plans of traveling or have booked your trip already, please do not panic as of yet! Well… unless you are going to certain parts in China. The news can be scary, and it can be difficult to recognize between facts and misleading information or hype. However, it’s true that staying properly informed is vital in making the right decision.
And here are a few things I suggest you should do:
Research and adhere to your Destination Health Warnings
Last January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared 2019-nCoV a global health emergency. I know, scary, but check and trust the advice of reputable authorities like the WHO and the CDC. They provide information, advice, and travel restrictions to the public which can be accessed here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/
Keep following the advice of health experts – WHO and CDC to Stay Healthy
- Wash Your Hands: A 20-second rule using warm running water and soap is best (sing Happy Birthday twice), rinse and dry your hands.
- Don’t Touch Your Face: Most viruses and bacteria enter the body through the mouth, nose, and eyes. And it is easy to make hands dirty again after washing, so keeping your hands away.
- Cough and Sneeze Into a Tissue or Your Elbow: Always cover mouth when you cough or sneeze, preferably with a tissue, or cover it with your elbow.
- No Contact with Sick People: Avoid close contact with people who are sick, most notably those showing respiratory symptoms and fever.
- Stay home when you’re sick.
- Stay Healthy and Defend Yourself with powerful Nutrients: Eat healthy food, take your daily vitamins, do some exercise, and stay well-rested with good sleep.
Travel Protection Insurance
As a travel advisor, I always encourage my clients to purchase travel protection insurance, although not all have listened to my advice, many of them do.
If you are looking at purchasing or have already purchased travel insurance it is important to note that many travel insurance plans don’t offer coverage for pandemics (or when there is a creditable travel advisory or warning in effect from the US State Department, CDC or WHO). So please work with your insurance company and make sure to check your plan’s T&Cs and exclusions. However if while traveling a travel warning/advisory is issued and you happen to fall sick, it is likely that you will still have coverage for emergency medical expenses and medical evacuation. These benefits protect you financially in times of emergency medical situations while traveling.
Keep in mind that unless you purchased a plan with “cancel for any reason” coverage, the mere fear of infection may not be a covered reason for canceling your trip and most likely you won’t get a refund. However, it’s essential to understand that you may or may not get a full refund; some policies reimburse only 50% to 75% of your trip’s cost, and those policies that cover “cancel for any reason” are often pricier.
Also, work with your travel advisor and they will help you check if the hotels, airlines, cruise lines and tour operators are making any special accommodations or offering refunds/credits.
And if you have not booked and still in the planning phase, you can change your destination (no Asia for now), or you can buy an insurance policy that will fully cover you considering the outbreak.
As I have mentioned in the beginning, stay informed – information is power!
If you are planning a trip and need experts’ advice, please don’t hesitate to reach out, and I’d be happy to help!
Happy and safe travels.