Coronavirus Travels Tips You Should Know
Hey travel fam! So the coronavirus has gotten the entire world in panic mode! Has the coronavirus got you freaked out too?! Don’t get me wrong…it is definitely is a scary time. I have been getting Instagram DMs about it and requests for Coronavirus travel tips and suggestions on how to deal with the situation especially with what is going on in Italy. So I thought I should share some tips to help alleviate some concerns before you rethink or cancel your travel plans whether it is epidemic, terrorist attach or civil unrest.
CHECK TRAVEL ADVISORY WEBSITE
Bookmark and check the U.S. Department of State for Travel Advisories. This is the same website that I have suggested using in the past when making international travel that will alert you of any travel bans up to civil unrest or outbreaks such as coronavirus. There are 4 travel advisory levels: Level 1- Exercise normal precautions, Level 2- Exercise increased caution, Level 3- Reconsider travel and Level 4- Do Not Travel.
Please note as of today, only one part of Italy which is Lombardy and Veneto region that includes the city of Milan is at Level 4 advisory. However, not all parts of Italy are affected at that kind of level. It is mainly the north. My friend who lives in Rome stated they are doing national testing to quickly identify the sick and isolate them.
They are checking at airports and train stations. Also touristic sights in Italy are being reopened such as Milan’s Duomo and other sights in Rome. You just have to use your own discernment on what you want to do in that situation.
DON’T CANCEL YOUR TRIPS
Don’t be so quick to just cancel your trips… just yet. If you are planning a trip that is for the summer, I would not hit the cancel button yet. Things may calm down in the coming month or two and everything could be ok.
If you are planning on travel to a country that is at Level 3 or 4 within 60 days or less, then you may need to make some tough decisions. More than likely a Level 4 country or area the flights may already be cancelled so if you have not received notification from your airlines, then call.
GET TRAVEL INSURANCE PROTECTION
If you have travel plans booked or you are about to book travel plans, get travel insurance. This will protect yourself if something goes down just like if you are going on cruise during hurricane season. You can get your money back and get rebooked. Call the airlines too to see what their policy is too.
If you are about to book a flight, you maybe want to hit YES on the question “Do you want to add insurance?” This can be helpful so they can put you on an earlier flight if things get bad while traveling and you need to leave early.
Some credit cards also offer travel insurance or it may be included because you are a card holder. It may be too late to add insurance for some travel. It is just like when a hurricane is named and coming, you cannot add flood insurance at the last minute. If it is too late to add travel insurance, still don’t fret. A lot of airlines are honoring cancellations due to the outbreak.
I was in Italy a few years ago and my main flight back to the U.S. was out of Madrid which happened to be on strike. I called the airline and they changed my flight to a completely different airline (sister airline) free of charge. So there is hope still.
DON’T BOOK “BASIC ECONOMY” FARES
A tip I learned two years while in NYC is to NOT book a flight with a fare that is considered “Basic Economy” if there is a possibility of weather issues or an outbreak. Airlines such as American Airlines have a “basic economy” price, which could be about $50-100 cheaper than the regular “main cabin” economy seat. When booking, it gives the disclaimers such you have to pay for a seat, you are last to be sat, etc.
What they do not tell you (which I found out at an airport when I missed the checked bag cutoff time) is that booking that cheap fare does not allow you to get rebooked on another flight for any reason. So what happened to me in the past is I missed the cutoff for checked bags. So I went on my scheduled flight, but my bags would go on a later flight. In NY when I missed the cutoff time, the airline said because I booked that fare, it does not allow me to do that scenario at all.
USE DISCERNMENT WITH THE NEWS MEDIA
We know that the world we are living in, the news hypes up stuff and they can also hide information too. Don’t make your decision solely based upon what the news folks are saying but always go to the source such as U.S. Department of State or the Center of Disease Control (CDC) to help you understand what the real situation is.
Checking out the country’s local paper can help in getting a pulse check on what they are reporting vs what getting fed here in the US. My mom who is not American has always taught us that to check the other country’s news like the BBC and other credible world news outlets. American loves media and hype and some things can be exaggerated but in the same time things can be down played that could be very bad.
For an example: Italy has been taking the focus of the media lately has being the 3rd top country that has been hit by the virus. I do have friends in the northern part of Italy – Milan in particular who have shared me their photos of the ghost town that is going on.
People hear and see the word “Italy” and they think the entire country is on lockdown but they don’t read the entire article to see if it is everywhere or one area. Places like Rome are functioning pretty much business as normal. The decision is not easy when traveling during this time but it is yours and you do what you are most comfortable with.
AIRPORT TRAVEL SAFETY PRACTICES
Here are some safety tips to keep you healthy using proper precaution if you have to travel during the outbreak. You may feel silly but at least you are doing all you can from getting a sick.
- Stock up on travel size hand sanitizers.
- Get disinfecting hand wipes with aloe in the travel sections for your bag/purse. aloe keeps your hands from over drying
- Buy shower caps! Yes this sounds strange but bring them in your carry-on. When you reach the airport, put them on your shoes like a protective cap and leave them there until you leave the airport at your next destination. Also you will need to have a pair for your bare feet when you take off your shoes while going through airport security.
- Get a travel size spray bottle and fill it with rubbing alcohol. Spray the tray that you put your stuff in when going through airport security. cuts down the time to wipe it all down. The last thing you want to have germs stick to you belongings. Also spray your shoes before entering your hotel room or packing shoes in your luggage that you have been wearing all day.
- Get regular travel size Clorox disinfecting wipes to wipe down your seat area and tray tables on the plane. Ever think about how fast the begin to board a plane after it was deplaned? How well do you think they are wiping 200 tray tables??
- Wear a mask! Yes the famous N95 are sold out world wide but medical mask is better than nothing if they are out, you can kindly ask your doctor on your next appointment if you could have one for your upcoming travel.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. This should be logically but people forget. Get a travel pack of Kleenex. I never travel without a buying a pack of 6 and putting them in various bags I travel with. I always need it. Then use that hand sanitizer or wipe to wipe your hands afterwards.
I hope these tips help you! If you have any tips, that you do when you travel, please leave a comment below! Happy safe travels!