Travel in the Time of COVID-19—What You Need to Know

Travel in the Time of COVID-19

The coronavirus or COVID-19 began its ravaging sometime late last year. Since that time, the number of cases of individuals who have contracted the disease has increased exponentially. It has spread to virtually every continent in the world.

The implications and dire consequences that this virus brings with it affects more than just human health. In an attempt to stop the stampeding of the disease, several countries all around the world have had no choice but to initiate lock down protocols to varying degrees. Neglecting the fact that these lock down policies have only been partially successful, at best, it has led to a series of other things such as staying home from work and so on.

However, it is still important to consider the fact that regardless of how severe the cases of the virus gets, or the possibility that it might return even stronger, movement from one place to another is highly necessary. Due to one reason or the other, it’s still important for people to get from point A to point B.

Now, considering how critical things are, it’s only logical to expect that movement cannot be as free as before the existence of COVID-19, at least for the time being. The best thing everyone can do is adapt to the present situation by protecting themselves as best they can.

As far as the United States is concerned, the best source of information when it comes to plotting how to move and still stay safe from the virus is the Centre for Disease Control. Through them, you can get relevant information to guide you on how best to protect yourself while you move about. You can also get real-time updates on the state of things and keep yourself appraised on how matters progress.

What Do You Risk While Moving As a Result of COVID-19?

As a result of the onset and consequent spread of this virus, the typical traveler is put at three different risks, broadly speaking. In no particular order, those risks are:

1. It Increases the Likelihood of Getting Sick

Setting aside even traveling, this is something that is highly likely to occur the moment you step out of the comfort of your home. Regardless of where, when or even how you contract the disease, it is certain to not be a very pleasant experience. While the chances of it leading to mortality is only high in people more advanced in years, this is no reason at all why you shouldn’t take as many precautions as you possibly can.

From maintaining the stipulated social distancing space of six feet to wearing a nose guard, it’s also important that you constantly sanitize. To that end, the TSA has gone ahead to revisit the liquid limit it formerly placed on hand sanitizers. There is no doubt that this is a good thing as it is one step in the right direction when it comes to protecting yourself. In addition to this, hotels, as well as airlines are also reevaluating the cleaning processes that they employ.

2. You’re Very Likely To Get Quarantined

Another prevalent risk of movement you run in these times is the risk of getting quarantined. Quarantining people moving into cities, states or countries are yet another method implemented in an attempt to control and arrest the rapid spread of COVID-19. This is more so the case if you’re traveling in from a place known to have a high concentration of incidence of the disease.

As a result of the time period between the incubation and inoculation of the disease, the quarantine duration lasts a period of 14 days. Some people do get lucky and are quarantined at home, others aren’t quite as fortunate and might end up spending that period of time in a strange city due to one reason or the other.

3. High Rate of Cancelling

Due to all the various measures being put in place to combat the coronavirus, several airlines as well as travel agencies are recording a very high rate of travel plan cancellations. The same can be said of hotel bookings. These agencies have also been quite forthcoming, to an extent in terms of the kind of flexibility they have offered in light of the situation thus far.

However, perhaps as a result of how protracted this whole affair has become, the Department of Transportation had to issue a warning to certain airlines recently. This was due to the fact that these airlines had stopped refunding travelers for their cancelled flights.

Options Currently Available for Cancelling Airtravel

With so much unknown and uncertain at the moment, knowing what options are available for cancelling any airfare plans you might’ve made can help your decision-making process as far as traveling is concerned. The options currently available include.

  1. For flights that were scheduled within a few short weeks, the change penalty for existing tickets will be waived.
  2. Newly booked tickets with time frames ranging from some weeks to a full year will also have the change penalties on them waived.
  3. Rebooking a ticketed itinerary comes with no change in fares but will consequently require that departures be rescheduled within the time frame of a month or two months, at the most.
  4. Rebooking a ticketed itinerary comes with no penalty for the change. However, fares will be at then-current, for as long as a year.

It is important to note that these policies are constantly changing and as such, you should keep yourself updated on current information.

How To Plan Your Travels Now

Considering the present state of things, if you haven’t made any solid plans yet or made down payments for any trips, the best thing you can do is hold off for the time being.

Alternatively, if you do need to get around domestically, here are a few financial safety measures you can employ.

  1. Where you can, do not make nonrefundable bookings. Granted that refundable bookings cost more now when compared to nonrefundable ones, do what you can to ensure that the bookings you do make are covered by waive change penalties. In most cases, this means you have to book direct instead of doing so through agencies.
  2. Keep yourself in the loop on recent happenings as soon as they occur. Regardless of where you travel to, stay updated on the latest news within your area.
  3. Factor in the quarantine policy and its possible implications. This means that to guarantee your health and safety, when you travel, move with all necessities such as medication and so on to cover your needs for a substantial period of time.