7 travel strategies in an age of coronavirus

Sydney Opera House under a cloudy sky (c) 2020 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

To live is to travel, and for those of us for whom travel is our greatest passion, the coronavirus poses unwelcome questions. Here are three items that recently have come across my desk.

  • Hoping to enjoy the breathtaking seascapes at Six Senses Yao Noi, an Australian client became concerned about her trip to Thailand. She asked me for ideas about alternate warm-weather destinations in the South Pacific. Instead of Phuket, they are traveling to Fiji.
  • Las Vegas has gaming and entertainment that never stops, but the hotels are SO large. There are thousands of hotel guests with even larger crowds milling through the casinos, all in an environment with sealed windows and forced air ventilation. My client was worried and chose to cancel her reservation.
  • What could be more fascinating than Japan in May? Late spring is the perfect time of the year to explore Japan, before the summer brings heat and crowds. My client is taking a wait-and-see approach, seeing how the situation looks at the end of March before making any decisions.

So what should you do about your existing and future travel plans? Here are some thoughts.

#1 — It's your decision, and ultimately you have to be personally comfortable with what you decide to do. Neither I, nor anyone else, can tell you what your decision should be.

#2 — Get the facts. Here's a very useful map maintained by Johns Hopkins University showing the number of reported incidences around the world. The CDC regularly updates their website with a Coronavirus Situation Summary. The State Department maintains this page of travel advisories.

#3 — Use common sense. Avoid crowded places — large museums, movie theaters, casinos, and indoor sporting events.

#4 — Take normal hygienic precautions. Wash your hands regularly, and carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer. Cough into your elbow and avoid anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

#5 — Wait-and-see. As long as you're outside the cancel deadline of your hotel or resort, you have the luxury of time, of waiting to see how things turn out in your destination. If a week out from your trip, there are reports of vacationers contracting COVID-19 and being quarantined, yes, of course I would cancel.

#6 — Develop a Plan B. Feeling nervous about Asia or Italy? You can have an incredible vacation at home in the United States. Explore a Hawaiian island where you've never been. Or relax at one of dozens of Virtuoso resorts in secluded, uncrowded destinations — ranches in the American West; seaside resorts in Georgia, South Carolina, or California; or luxurious getaways in Vermont, upstate New York, Tennessee, or Wine Country.

#7 — Consider Medjet Assist. If the need comes up, your Medjet policy will provide medical evacuation to the hospital of your choice back home. I've had a policy for my wife and myself for years, and fortunately I've never used it.

What am I doing about my own travel? I have several upcoming trips — going to the Big Island in 20 days ... and to Amsterdam in 6 weeks with my wife to enjoy a Tauck River Cruise to Basel. I am very much looking forward to both trips and have every intention of taking them ... unless the situation deteriorates dramatically. I think I have a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 on a plane rather than on the ground, but I'm not a doctor and do not take this as medical advice. I'm not going to stop traveling. Travel is my greatest pleasure in life and, as they say, I'm not getting younger.

copyright (c) 2020 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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