Should I Cancel My Trip Due to the Corona Virus?

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Author: The Traveling Professor/Wednesday, February 26, 2020/Categories: Travel Tips

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Should I cancel my trip due to the Corona virus?  What happens if I do cancel my trip? What are the factors I should consider when deciding to cancel or not?

We have gotten a few questions on whether people should go ahead with a trip due to the Corona virus.  Let's talk about it.

What is the Fear? I think for most people, their fear is that they have an increased chance of contracting the Corona virus if they travel.  A secondary fear is that they may be quarantined if they are suspected of having been in contact with others who have the virus.  And do we understand exactly what the Corona virus is?  I think some helpful information can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Is that Fear of Contracting the Virus Warranted?  If traveling to China or South Korea, you should be very concerned.  If going to Norway, Denmark, or Iceland, where fewer cases have been reported, you might be safer there than at home. The Center for Disease Control has rated countries at 4 levels:

  • Level 1: Practice normal precautions
  • Level 2: Practice enhanced precautions
  • Level 3: Avoid non-essential travel
  • Level 4: Do not travel

Since this is a dynamic situation, you can check on the status of destinations here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

What are the Consequences if I Cancel My Trip?  Unfortunately, there is no travel insurance policy that will cover your unreimbursed expenses because you don't feel comfortable going on a trip.  You may need to absorb some or all of the costs of the trip if you decide to cancel.  However, if the travel supplier (airline, hotel, cruise line, etc.) cancels the trip, you probably have a significantly better chance of a refund.  

But I Still Don't Feel Comfortable Traveling, What Should I Do?  If you still don't feel comfortable traveling, you probably should not go. But again, you need to understand the consequences, especially the financial ones.  I think this is what people struggle with the most. 

When Should I Cancel My Trip? This is a constantly evolving situation.  It might resolve itself in a few weeks.  It might take months.  If you have a trip scheduled more than a month away, you probably need to give it more time before making a decision. In other words, if you can hold off on making a decision until there is more information, that is probably the wisest move to make. 

What's the Silver Lining to this Dark Cloud? If you take normal precautions (see here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/travel/coronavirus-advisory.html) you may very well have an enjoyable, less crowded travel experience.

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