Coronavirus (Covid-19) and Travel

If you’re planning a vacation right now it doesn’t take long before you realize this is either a great time to snag a deal on a trip or the worst time to leave home.  The questions are pretty big: What are the impacts of the Coronavirus and Travel?  Is it safe to still book a cruise and what are the best ways to protect yourself?

I’ll get to what we actually know about the virus in a minute, but if you are already booked for a cruise or traveling outside of the U.S. we do like the World Nomads Insurance option for U.S. citizens traveling abroad in any capacity.

Why we like World Nomads, directly from their FAQ page about the virus:

“Unlike other companies, World Nomads does not have an endemic or pandemic exclusion for policies purchased by U.S. residents, which means that you may make claims arising from the COVID-19 for the benefits specified in your policy.

 

These benefits include emergency medical and trip interruption coverage for you personally or a travel companion who contracts the COVID-19 or goes under quarantine when traveling. Things you may get reimbursed for include doctors’ visits and hospital stays, and any pre-paid travel arrangements that get disrupted as a result of the infection.

 

If you unexpectedly catch COVID-19 at home before you leave for your trip, you may also be eligible for trip cancellation coverage, which represents compensation for any pre-paid non-refundable travel expenses such as flights, hotels and excursions.” 

If you want to get the information I’m summarizing below directly from the CDC, click HERE 

How is the Coronavirus/COVID-19 spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

What are the symptoms of the Coronavirus/COVID-19?

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Which parts of the world are most affected as of today by the Coronavirus/COIVD-19?

International Areas with Sustained (Ongoing) Transmission

Last updated February 28, 2020

 

For all Travel Health Notices go here:

All COVID-19 Travel Health Notices

In most reports I’ve read, the virus is being described as “pneumonia-like”.  Some people have reported that they did not have a mucus reaction, so no sniffles or liquid build-up, just a high fever and a cough.  Other cases have been much more severe and can lend themselves to scary scenarios and rumors, in most of those cases the individuals had underlying health concerns.

How to avoid the Coronavirus/Covid-19

As of right now it seems the best thing to do if you’re traveling is to wear a face mask in the airport and on the airplane, avoid physical contact with other people as much as possible, and washing your hands before touching your face in anyway.  If your plans are disrupted by cancellations due to the virus you may be financially protected if you get a good travel insurance policy.  Learn why we like World Nomads.

If you are worried about traveling, then the easy answer is keep it close to home and certainly avoid any of the locations listed above.  However I would suggest keeping a level-head, taking common sense precautions, and enjoying your life – a positive attitude is always a good immune booster anyway!  If you are going abroad be sure and look at ways to protect your travel plans financially and your health by getting a well respected travel insurance policy.

Are Cruises Still Safe?

A quick visit to any of the major cruise lines will tell you that they are VERY focused on maintaining a healthy passenger.  Because as of this writing the COVID-19 virus is still a very new and dynamic situation, most of what the cruise lines can do is increase their monitoring of the situation.  However they are taking somve very proactive steps to avoid any quarantines of their vessels.  These include:

Passenger and Crew Screening

  • Anyone traveling to or from the most affected countries will be unable to sail
  • There is another list of conveying countries that have time requirements of 20 days since passing through that could also prohibit you from boarding
  • Passenger and Crew Temperatures above a certain point will be closely monitored and measures may be taken to protect the larger population
  • Health history questionnaires may be required before boarding the ship

Ship Cleaning Standards Have Been Increased

  • Increased cleaning and decontamination of all deck and public areas
  • Sanitation stations have been set out in more areas around the ship
  • Dining areas and food stations will have additional personnel on site to clean and sanitize the areas
  • Temperatures in ship washer and dryers have been increased
  • Nightly deep cleaning processes have been put in place

Terminal and Destination Requirements

  • Terminals are being cleaned nightly and between embarkations
  • Crew and Passenger buses are being sanitized between trips
  • Sanitation stations for passengers are being placed
  • Local destinations may deny entry or the Cruise line may bypass the destination

As you can see the major cruise companies are taking as many preventative measures as possible to avoid the spread of the virus on their ships.  If you are booking a cruise, I would suggest you learn to salute friendly without shaking hands 🙂

The Coronavirus/COVID-19 is still new as of this post, but with some common sense and good hygiene habits, your travel plans can still proceed as planned, and may even be snagged at a bargain!  However if you are worried about trip cancellations out of your control, an insurance policy from a reputable carrier may help protect your investment and your health.

Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you have any concerns about traveling or experiences so far with any changes due to the virus!

Saludos, John

5 thoughts on “Coronavirus (Covid-19) and Travel”

  1. Great article! I would still hold off any plans on going on a cruise soon. I’m sure the cruise lines are taking all the necessary precautions, but I believe it’s essential to stay away from crowds, especially in confined spaces, as much as possible. What do think about that?

    1. That’s a great point Michel. I would say we still don’t have a full grasp on how dangerous the virus is yet, so it’s up to each person to do what they feel is necessary. Certainly some cruise tickets are going to be cheap soon, but if you are truly weary of this virus it’s probably best to wait and see.

      1. Yes, from a pure economical standpoint, this is probably a great opportunity for someone who’s dream is to go on a cruise, but couldn’t previously afford it. It sure is interesting times we’re living in.

  2. Hi John,

    Here in Hong Kong there was a fair amount of hysteria around the spread of the coronavirus in the early days, which seems now to be settling down a bit.

    People still wear masks all day, and everywhere they go – including when they are in the middle of nowhere, with no people anywhere near them, and in their cars when they are the only occupant!

    The trouble with those paper masks, which most people here are still using, is that for them to be effective they need to be changed every 30 minutes. This is because your breath makes them damp which, in turn, reduces their effectiveness to next to zero.

    It’s a time when good leadership and consistent messaging from governments is crucial but, unfortunately, in many cases, that’s exactly what is lacking. It certainly contributed to the panic levels here.

    Cheers,

    Martin.

    1. Hi Martin, thanks for that insight! I agree there is are many unknowns that contribute to panic and with something like this, and we always want to be on the safe side. I would say most governments right now are caught in the headlights about what is known/unknown, and then what to communicate. Hopefully this will be a good lesson for them without more dire consequences than have already been experienced by a few.

      Regarding paper-masks, that is also a good tidbit of information to change them out, but I hope it doesn’t come to that. Stay safe in Hong Kong and thanks for sharing!

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