The Impact of COVID-19 on Travel

COVID-19, known to most people simply as the Corona Virus, is a hot topic for travelers and non-travelers alike. Although COVID-19 is serious, there are ways to keep the risk to your health to a minimum while enjoying your vacation.

To aid in your decision of where and when to travel, we’ve compiled answers to some of the more frequently asked questions surrounding COVID-19.

What Exactly is Corona Virus?
While other Corona Viruses exist, the current virus is named COVID-19. It is a virus that targets the upper respiratory system. This strain is believed to have originated from the live animal market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, but has since been spreading from person to person.

What are the Symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

How many people are really affected?

As of 2/28/2020, 88,352 people have been infected, with 3001 deaths reported. The virus affects everyone equally. Being of Asian descent does not pose a higher risk.

Should I be worried?

Covid-19 is new, which means much is still unknown about it, but the CDC is recommending similar safeguards as with most other viruses. This includes frequent washing of hands and avoiding hotspots of infected individuals. As always, if you believe you or someone you are traveling with to be ill, delay your travel plans.

Although the death toll may seem daunting, if you are a healthy individual without underlying medical concerns, the risk associated with COVID-19 is quite low.

What does this mean for my travel plans?

Keep alert to which locations are warned against traveling to by the CDC and plan accordingly. As with any health concern, keep your distance from those who appear sick, wash your hands often and thoroughly or use an alcohol-based sanitizer, and abstain from touching your face or preparing food without washing your hands.

There is no reason to fear general travel for business or pleasure if precautions are considered.

What locations are currently experiencing travel warnings?

As of 2/28/2020, the following locations are under travel health notices for their ongoing transmission of the virus:

  • China- Level 3
  • Iran- Level 3
  • Italy- Level 3
  • Japan- Level 2
  • South Korea- Level 3
  • Travel Health notice Level 2 suggests practicing Enhanced Precautions, seniors and those with compromised immune systems should avoid non-essential travel.
  • Travel Health Notice Level 3 Warns to avoid any and all non-essential travel.

What if my travel plans include these areas?

If you already booked:

  • Contact the airline and hotel directly to ask if they have stipulations for COVID-19. In many cases, options are being offered to change destination or change the dates of your trip in exchange for a voucher or a refund. In most cases, there are restrictions on when the purchase was made and the destination.
  • If you used a travel reward credit card, be sure to read up on the terms. It’s possible your rewards card has an included coverage to ensure you are reimbursed for any non-refundable travel costs.

If you haven’t booked yet:

  • Consider upgrading to a ticket with clear refund options. This allows for peace of mind in cases where new travel restrictions or personal concerns may hinder your trip, or you just want the option for a quickly processed refund or change of destination if you choose to cancel.

If you’d like to view the most current information or have further questions or concerns not covered in our FAQ, please visit the CDC or World Health Organization to check the current dated reports.

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