Changing times can be unsettling. As coronavirus continues to disrupt our social system, it will be a challenge to distinguish sound advice from hyperbole. We’ve checked the facts from scientific and governmental authorities so that your travel plan can continue in a safe and sound manner.
While non-essential travel is better postponed, at times travel is a necessity and one must be informed of the correct protocol. We recommend that you make these slight adjustments to your travel mode, incorporating the following professional precautions to ensure an informed, safe experience.
Preparations: Before you go
1. Follow official travel permissions and restrictions from the State Department and CDC
Each governmental body has experienced a unique situation and response to their nation’s health concerns. Make sure your travel will be uninterrupt- ed by referring to the US Government Travel Advisory, which offers an easy color-coded map for an at-a-glance understanding of potential risk zones. Embassy locations are also listed and should be earmarked in case of an emergency:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the most reliable source of information going forward. Their reports feed directly into gov- ernmental Travel Advisories.
A full list of approved resources can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you- go/about-our-new-products/staying-connected.html
2. Beware of outdated information, sign up with STEP
Make sure you’re receiving the most up-to-date information. The Travel Advisories update via Facebook and Twitter, but due to social media algorithms that control timing and the type of messages you see, you may not be receiving the latest updates.
The coronavirus outbreak evolves daily and the best way to stay on top of new developments is to sign up for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which will send you travel alerts and enable the embassy to get in touch with you in case of an emergency. It’s free, and you can register as a traveler or if you need to monitor a destination before solidifying travel plans.
3. Defer travel via cruise ships until further notice (as of 3/17/20)
Due to the infectious nature of coronavirus, it’s possible that germs can be spread more easily in situations with ongoing close proximity, such as on ships and boats. As of March 17th, the CDC recommended that all travelers defer cruise travel worldwide.
As most cruise vacations are non-essential, everyone should be able to observe this warning. However this Level 3 alert especially relates to elderly adults and anyone with an existing health condition or weakened immune system.
Once you’re in the air…
4. Employ common sense and meticulous hygiene
As with any respiratory illness, germs are spread through the air, so em- ploy common sense practices such as covering your mouth to cough, avoiding contact with people who are evidently unwell, and washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Traditional handwashing is sufficient for prevention, but if that isn’t available then an alcohol-based sanitizer with 60% to 95% alcohol will work equally well.
The University of Chicago Medicine define influenza exposure as being within six feet of an infected person for 10 minutes or longer. However, droplets may land on a surface and become a point of contamination.
Seeing that coronavirus spreads through bodily fluids, it’s best to avoid un-necessary touching areas of mucus membranes such as your eyes, nose and mouth.
5. Face the facts: Masks
Face masks are an efficient protection against larger droplets, which are the main source of transmission for coronavirus. If you’re in close proximity to others, such as on a plane, a mask will reduce the chance of the dis- ease being passed on.
However, bear in mind that viruses can also spread through tiny viral particles known as aerosols. These minuscule aerosols can enter through the eyes and penetrate masks, so make sure you use a mask in conjunction with the best-practices outlined here.
However a mask is still worth using as it will reduce your potential for infection, as well as limit the possibility of contaminating someone else if you are a carrier.
6. Airplane do’s and dont’s
Once you’re on a plane you don’t have the same freedom of movement to avoid contact. Aside from masks, you can take simple precautions to limit potential exposure.
Bring Clorox wipes, which have been clinically-proven to kill viruses and bacteria that are much more aggressive than coronavirus. Wipe down your entire personal space, starting with the tray and moving onto the seat, armrests, as well as any consoles or touchscreens.
Adopt your new stringent hygiene practices until you are well out of the airport.
7. Full coronavirus insurance coverage: Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR)
With the current state of affairs in the world, only total coverage will bring absolute peace of mind. “Cancel For Any Reason” travel insurance was created for extreme and unexpected circumstances such as these. COVID- 19 has disrupted the travel industry and left many people confused about where they stand and the best way to proceed.
If you have CFAR, this policy will reimburse you for up to 75% of your total trip costs if you have to cancel your trip for any reason not listed in your standard coverage.
You can learn more about CFAR coverage here: https://www.travelinsurancereview.net/coverages/cancel-for-any-reason/
Our 14 years of experience in the travel industry gives us the confidence that this coronavirus outbreak will also pass. Eventually travel will return to normal, and you’ll be able to travel freely and rest assured that travel insurance will be sufficient to protect you.
In the meantime you can contact us directly for any travel concerns not outlined above. We wish you a safe, calm and healthy journey.