Traveling and Pandemics

Today sort of seems like the beginning of the end of the world. With public hysteria, dismal news reports, community events shutting down and shortages of toilet paper(of all things), one might think we’re nearing a zombie apocalypse.

I’m not a medical expert but I can’t help but see a familiar pattern that seems to emerge every couple of years. Some new strain of virus emerges from China or Africa, it spreads quickly, everyone panics and then it disappears or becomes another strain of flu. Is this the one that’s going to finally destroy the planet? It’s still being studied, but there’s a large group of experts that report that the coronavirus isn’t really as bad as the media would have us believe. So, it’s up to each of us to decide what we want to do about it. Stay home or keep traveling. Let’s have a look at each possibility.

A staycation might be the best option for older people or those will a low-immunity system. It’s unlikely that the virus is going to disrupt the planet forever, so now might be a good time to find travel deals. As people cancel their cruises and upcoming vacations, airlines and hotels are scrambling to keep business going. You can find some ridiculously low prices right now on both domestic and international flights. Having a little downtime during this pandemic can be a great time to put together your travel bucket list so that you’re ready to start traveling as soon as things calm down a little.

Since the coronavirus is very contagious, you can apply many of the same rules you’d use in a zombie apocalypse. Get away from the city. Take a road trip to a national or state park where you’re less likely to come in contact with lots of people and take some time to enjoy nature. Many companies are letting their employees work from home and if you can work on the road, you could turn those lemons into meringue pie.

If you’re not one for letting a little corona get you down, there are still lots of travel opportunities. Cruises probably aren’t the best idea at the moment due to the risk of being in close quarters with lots of unknown passengers but you can find some killer deals as they slash prices. Visiting any highly infected area increases your risk for being detained or quarantined, so look at a map of virus cases and pick someplace that has low risk. Africa for once seems to be a safer option than it’s been in years. Don’t go to Italy right now. The Caribbean, Mexico and South America are fairly safe choices.

Flight prices are being slashed right now. Airlines don’t want empty planes and they’d rather break even than lose money. Many companies are offering liberal cancellation policies that give you more options if you have to postpone your trip. A majority of airlines are becoming responsive to customer fears by adding extra steps to the practice of disinfecting planes between flights. Travelers can always bring a pack of disinfectant wipes to be doubly sure the tray tables are clean. Following the normal rules of travel hygiene should be pretty effective. Planes have much less travelers so you might have lots of empty rows to choose from. Travel is like the stock market. Consumers panic; prices drop.

For great travel deals, use travelzoo, skyscanner and hotels.com.

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