Travel Planning Tips in the Time of Coronavirus

Written By Angelina Umstead

Chances are, you have heard a lot about the coronavirus by now and you may even be stocking up on hand sanitizer and extra food. If you had plans to travel in the upcoming weeks, you might be hesitant about doing so given the rising concern about the spread of the virus throughout the world. Many people are asking themselves whether or not they should cancel their travel plans or risk it.

According to the World Health Organization, common signs of infection of coronavirus include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more extreme cases, it can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and ultimately death. While the virus causes only mild illness for most people, it can make some people very ill. Older people with pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart problems appear to be at an increased risk.

Travel Considerations

If you are going to be traveling in the coming weeks, there are some obvious things that you might want to consider. First, there are some destinations that you might want to avoid entirely because of the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus. The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to destinations with level 3 travel notices. Older adults with chronic medical conditions should talk to a healthcare provider or consider postponing travel to destinations with level 2 travel notices. Finally, the CDC does not recommend canceling travel plans to destinations with level 1 notices because the risk of contracting coronavirus is thought to be low.

Despite your destination, it is important to keep in mind that traveling, in general, does present a greater risk of illness because you typically encounter more people. If you are sick, don’t travel. This rule applies even without the threat of coronavirus. However, traveling while sick in this climate could leave you quarantined or isolated. It has been recommended that airline crews isolate ill passengers. In order to avoid this, consider canceling travel plans altogether if you are sick.

Coronavirus Travel Tips

If you do decide to travel, the CDC has a few tips to help reduce your risk of contracting the virus:

  1. Avoid contact with sick people.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol.

The World Health Organization advises that people with no respiratory symptoms do not need to wear a mask. It recommends that the use of masks should be reserved for people who have symptoms and for those caring for individuals with symptoms. You may also consider taking extra supplies of medication, cold medicine, and a thermometer while traveling in case you get stuck somewhere longer than expected. If you are trying to book future travel now, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance for your trip that will cover your costs in the event you change your mind in the future. For more information, you can visit the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 Travel Information for Travel page here.

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