Should I Travel During the Coronavirus?

What does Covid-19 Mean for my Travel Plans?

Update: This article was originally posted on March 6 2020, and in accordance with the travel recommendations issued at that time. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation, we encourage you to stay updated on the current guidelines from the CDC and WHO, and act responsibly!

Understanding the Coronavirus Outbreak

Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that the world is on high alert due to the Novel Coronavirus, and its resulting disease, COVID-19. As of today, there are over 100,000 cases worldwide and over 3,400 deaths. There are also nearly 56,000 people who were infected, but fully recovered. It appears that the Coronavirus has primarily affected those with respiratory issues, diabetes, and low immune systems. It’s also wreaked havoc on the financial markets, economies and the travel/tourist industry. And just yesterday, one of our brand partners was informed that their company put a moratorium on travel for the next month. So YOU may be wondering: “Should I travel during the Coronavirus?

"We Must Remain Vigilant"

As it was after 9/11, it became evident that the world had changed and we need to take a different approach to life. We all have families, friends, jobs and events to attend, so it wouldn’t be prudent to crawl into a cave and disappear. Our approach today with the Coronavirus is the same as it was then – “we must remain vigilant.” Just as with airport security pre-9/11, we had lax airport security protocols in place – compared with most European destinations. And as we’re finding out here in America currently, the CDC is not equipped to deal with a full-scale pandemic. This is just another wake-up call for everyone to be better prepared and take better care of our health.

So What does the Coronavirus Mean for YOU?

We have some recommendations:

  1. Coming from a travel company, this is not ideal, but I default to my previous statement – “we must remain vigilant.” Vacation travel should be fun, not filled with anxiety. If you are worried about contracting the coronavirus, its ok to change your travel plans. At Alpin Luxe, we have moved our spring and early summer trips to the fall of 2020 or into 2021. There is no better time to beat the airlines at their own game. With a dramatic drop in both business and vacation travel, they are more flexible than ever before – which means they will be more willing to move your travel plans to a future date with little or no restrictions.

Where is Safe to Travel?

For those healthy individuals who are less concerned about becoming affected and want to travel, there is no better time. There are many locations around the globe that are either minimally, or not at all affected by the Coronavirus (yet).

HERE is an excellent website for monitoring the Coronavirus.

One of my former athletes just left for Ski World Cup races in Sweden, which has a low number of confirmed cases. Currently, airfares, lodging and rental car prices are severely discounted, so it’s a good time to take advantage of these deals. Personally, the only country in Europe where I’d be severely concerned about travel is Italy. (As of 3/6/2020)

Best Practices for Travel during Coronavirus / COVID-19

2. Remaining vigilant when traveling takes some discipline and I see very few people practicing these simple steps for staying healthy while traveling:

  • DO NOT shake hands – with anyone.
  • DO NOT touch your hands to your face, nose or eyes. The average person touches their face 90X per day! Become vigilant and disciplined when it comes to personal behavior.
  • Use your knuckle for elevator and gas pump buttons, and light switches.
  • Use a paper towel when handling the gas pump dispenser.
  • Use disinfectant wipes on the airplane to clean every surface around your seat – arm rests, tray table, TV monitor, seat belt, your window and the wall around it, the air vent and light button.
  • DO NOT go to the airplane bathroom in socks. Wear compression socks so your feet don’t swell (we love ZeroPoint!) and leave your shoes on.
  • Wash your hands always and use a paper towel to open the bathroom door latch.
  • If you have to sneeze, use a tissue first or into your elbow as a last resort.
    IF YOU are coming down with a cold (or flu), DO everyone a favor and wear a mask.
  • BRING and DRINK a liter of water for every 2-3 hours on an airplane.
    NEVER eat airline food! Unless you’re flying First Class, your meal was made months ago and frozen. Bring fresh fruit, salads or sandwiches with you.
  • STOCK-UP on Zinc Lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to block the Coronavirus (and other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx.

Protect Yourself: Travel is NEVER Risk-Free

3. Purchase Travel Insurance from AIG when you book your vacations or business travel. It’s a crazy, mixed up world where anything can happen. People get sick, medical emergencies occur and a host of other unforeseen circumstances that force cancellations. Travel Insurance is affordable and necessary if you have to make changes. Travel Guard policies from companies like AIG – which is the gold standard (because they actually pay out), cover cancellations, trip interruptions, lost luggage and a plethora of other unforeseen incidents – but ONLY if you purchase their “cancel for any reason” coverage insurance within 21 days of booking your trip. This travel insurance runs about 40% more than the basic coverage, but will reimburse travelers for up to 75% of their trip cost. Warning: Discounted, basic travel insurance from booking agencies and airlines is NOT worth what you pay.

The bottom line? Do what’s best for you and your health. We can’t stop living, but we do need to remain vigilant. If you’re not worried about traveling to more isolated areas deemed safe by the WHO, then by all means, go! If you don’t want to risk infection, change your trip. Like other hiccups in life, the Coronavirus too will pass.

Gary Miller

Gary Miller

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