Should We Cancel Our Family Trip Due To COVID-19?
**The Australian Government has issued a Do Not Travel request, therefore, no one should travel both internationally or domestically** 23/3/2020
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve read this question in the various travel and family groups on Facebook that I am in then I’d be a very wealthy lady! Reality is that everyone is asking the question because they simply don’t know what to do.
Is the virus dangerous to my family? Will the symptoms be mild? How easy can we catch it? The list goes on.
So what is the right answer? Should you be cancelling your trip and face loosing thousands of dollars along with dashed hopes and dreams? Are you and all of the people in your travel group/family healthy and with a strong immune system?
Sorry friends, but the answer only lies with you. However, I do have a few tips on how you can come to your own conclusion and feel confident in the decision you make for you and your family. Also, remember that whatever the outcome is for you won’t always be the same for the next person, so be very careful when it comes to giving advice or your own opinion as everyone needs to come to their own conclusions themselves.
1 Are you and all of the people in your travel group/family healthy and with a strong immune system?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases – (excerpt from the WHO website).
If a common cold or respiratory virus is usually an issue for you then chances are that Coronavirus could be dangerous. Many people experience mild symptoms when carrying the virus, however, this isn’t the case for everyone and it can lead to extreme health issues and death. Statistics show that elderly people are at high risk if contracting the virus as well as those with compromised immune systems.
You can read more about Coronavirus from the World Health Organisation here – https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
2. Do you have time to quarantine?
If you find yourself caught up in a COVID-19 outbreak or in the presence of someone who has been tested positive then you will be required to self quarantine for at least 14 days.
Be aware that any area around the world can be subjected to a mass quarantine at any time should an outbreak occur, so if you have a date that you must be home and available for (such as a wedding, special event or even work) then consider your need to travel and understand the risks.
For example – Today in Australia (2nd Mar 2020) a passenger aboard an inbound flight to Sydney has been confirmed to have COVID-19 and therefore the passengers directly surrounding them on that flight are being contacted and requested to self quarantine for 14 days.
3. Research your travel destination and stopovers carefully and take the advice given by our Government.
Smart Traveller (https://www.smartraveller.gov.au) is an important resource created for Australian’s who are travelling. Take the time to read the advice given for the places you will be visiting as well as general travel during this COVID-19 outbreak. Contact these numbers should you require help whilst you are away:
+61 2 6261 3305 (from overseas)
1300 555 135 (within Australia), or
+61 421 269 080 for SMS
4. Consider your modes of transport.
If you are departing Australia then you are either getting on a plane or on a ship. Both of these modes of transport are key in the rapid spread of COVID-19 globally. Taking precautions such as wearing a mask, using antibacterial wipes/sanitiser gel often and washing hands properly are key to preventing the spread of this virus. After reading tips 1-3 you should have a fair idea on what to consider before going ahead with your trip or not.
5. Financial loss
This is a big one and a huge reason as to why it’s so hard to make a decision as you may stand to loose a fair chunk of money!
Check your travel insurance and see what your policy states regarding outbreaks, world health issues and pandemics. Now that you know what your policy says, actually call and speak with your insurance provider and see if there have been any updates regarding COVID-19. Some insurance providers have made changes and you may have some kind of cover. It is also important to know what their timeframes are when it coms to cancelation, so please don’t do anything until you have spoken to them.
Some insurance companies are covering medical expenses for COVID-19, however, don’t cover for cancellations. If you do continue with your travel plans then medical cover is important.
Next, speak with your travel agent (if you have booked through one) and speak with the airlines and any other bookings directly.
If you have no cover at all then just wait it out and see if your airline cancels your flight or the hotels close, etc. If this happens then fingers crossed that you receive a refund or credit to use at another time.
6. What will the quality of your trip be and is it still worth it?
Many tourist destinations in various countries have closed down for an unknown period of time due to the COVID-19 outbreak. All Disneyland’s in Asia are currently closed with many other tourist attractions, sporting events and theme parks following suite.
Hotels are taking guests temperatures on arrival and at every breakfast sitting in some cities. Airports are also checking your temperature and symptoms at every checkpoint. If this is likely to cause anxiety for you or make you feel uncomfortable then it is important to consider this reality.
You may not be able to tick off many of the places on your bucket list for the trip and a quick search and read of their websites will help you to know what you will or won’t be able to do or see.
7. Consider others
If you do end up going on your trip and returning without any issues but a few days later find yourself feeling unwell in any way then PLEASE get yourself tested by calling your GP and explaining your symptoms and recent travel.
For more information please see the Australian Government Department of Health – https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
There is no right or wrong answer as to wether you still go ahead with your travel plans or not. It all comes down to the individuals and what you consider to be the best option for you. If only we had hindsight to help us, but we don’t, so common sense and measured risk is all we have. Self prevention is key by ensuring we practise good hygiene.
I hope you still have the chance to explore this amazing world and not have to cancel your trip and if this article helps you to make your decision then I feel like I’ve don’t my job.
*Important* – This article was written to assist travellers in making their own decision when it comes to travel during this outbreak of COVID-19. I am not a medical professional. Opinions are my own and no advice to either travel or not to travel has been given and therefore no responsibility is taken on the decisions made by those who have read this article. Please seek advice from the World Health Organisation and the Australian Government when making your decisions.