Is It Safe to Travel During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

After a half year of “house arrest,” it looks as though travel is perking its head up once again. And there is no shortage of people willing to take a chance and go on the move. But is it safe to travel considering we’re in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic?

That depends. If you are flying are you willing to climb aboard an incubator with wings? While some airlines are requiring that all passengers and crew wear masks when boarding, the procedure becomes rather lax once the aircraft has taxied and then lifted off the runway. There have been several instances of passengers doffing the masks once airborne with the attitude: ”Are they going to kick me off the flight at 32,000 feet?”

The answer to that is “yes” in a number of cases. Several flights have turned around and returned to the airport and have had passengers removed. This causes a great inconvenience for passengers that want to travel safely during the Coronavirus health crisis.

is it safe to travel
Photo Credit: Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

Jet Blue has always had a reputation for being passenger-friendly and on more than one occasion has gone the extra mile to ensure a person with, say, a broken leg has been comfortably seated. Now Jet Blue has taken a major step forward to ensure each passenger is safe to fly throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. While most airlines are disinfecting their aircrafts at least once a day, or some after each flight, Jet Blue is employing a radical new technique… ultraviolet disinfectant.

The airline has invested in a machine with arms that reaches out over seats on both sides of the aisle and up to the overhead baggage compartment. The ultraviolet kills the virus and can go through an entire airplane in under 10 minutes. They don’t mitigate the fact that wearing masks is still an essential part of keeping safe. You’ve got to do your part as well. Bring along a supply of masks and surgical gloves as well. No one will laugh at you.

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Going on a driving vacation? Check in with your local dollar stores and pick up a package of toilet seat covers and surgical gloves. You really don’t want to sit on or touch, even under normal circumstances, a seat where someone whose hygiene is less than sanitary has just vacated. Plan your route as much as possible so that you’ll know where to stop, eat, and use the facilities. Check out your hotel and ask what their disinfectant policies are. If they can’t/don’t tell you, stop somewhere else.

One thing you should truly consider if you’re traveling during the Coronavirus health crisis is trip insurance. The way things are going, we don’t know if there’ll be a second wave, a third wave, or whatever until this is under control. We booked a 4-night cruise out of Miami on an NCL ship with stops in Cozumel and Key West for late April. We had originally booked it for late March but caught family flack because of a granddaughter’s wedding in April. We were able to rebook without a penalty. Always check rebooking policies.

is it safe to travel
Photo Credit: Sacha Verheij on Unsplash

But just to cover ourselves, we also purchased Trip Cancellation insurance. We don’t normally do that, but with the current situation in mind, it was worth the extra few dollars not to lose the cost of the cruise. Cruise lines may cancel a trip and that becomes their responsibility. Otherwise, it’s yours. Make sure what the policy is. Will they refund your money or simply give you a credit for a future cruise? The choice should be yours and not theirs.

Be aware, however, when booking through an agent, the agency may have a policy of collecting a fee no matter what the reason for the canceled trip. Some agencies have been the target of complaints because they charge an excessive percentage. So look before you buy.

And so we repeat: Is it safe to fly during the Coronavirus pandemic? Yes, unless things become radically worse. But the caveat here is due diligence. If you are planning to travel this month, it’s your responsibility and yours alone to make sure you are safe

are protected. Does the hotel properly clean rooms? Does the airline make sure you are safe? Is the cruise line doing a thorough job of cleaning and disinfecting all cabins and public spaces?  This is a great time to travel inexpensively. Cruise lines and airlines are hurting financially and many are offering spectacular savings. Same for hotels and resorts.


Featured Image Credit: Kovah on Unsplash


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