Five things you need to know: Traveling during the threat of coronavirus

While governments across the globe address the coronavirus (COVID-19), some are still trying to figure out if they should plan their summer vacation.

Cherokee Edwards, director of the local travel agency CETAC Vacations, said people have been contacting the agency with a variety of questions regarding their previously planned summer trips.

From Edwards’ experience, here are five things you need to know about traveling during the coronavirus outbreak:

  1. Future plans: Edwards said he doesn’t want people to be afraid to plan a trip in the future. He said there are many people who are canceling their cruises and airline tickets but the general population “shouldn’t be afraid to live their life.” For families just starting to plan a trip for later in the summer or early fall, he recommends doing research on the infected areas when trying to find a vacation spot.
  2. Reimbursement: For those who have had to cancel their plans or transportation, Edwards said reimbursement will be different depending on a person’s bookings. Most lodging companies and cruise lines offer some kind of insurance plan, so when planning a new trip in coming months it would be a good investment. If you’ve booked without insurance, Edwards said there still might be ways to be refunded money if you talk to the company involved. However it can sometimes be difficult to be reimbursed for a flight because they don’t typically offer insurance options, Edwards added. He said most airlines will come up with a policy where guests can be credited or be credited for another flight at a later date.
  3. Cost: While people avoiding the skies might find themselves in a tough spot to be reimbursed, there are still those who are taking advantage of the cheap plane tickets. Edwards said its clear to see how much the virus is impacting airlines when looking at the significant drop in prices. As the epidemic continues to move through the county, Edwards predicted prices will continue to reflect the drop in travel. He added that those interested in taking advantage of the price drop shouldn’t feel scared so long as they’ve done their research on the safest places to travel and how to protect themselves.
  4. Transportation: While flights might seem dangerous amid coronavirus concerns, Edwards said those looking to still take their vacations or plan trips for later in the summer should consider locations within driving distance. Trains, planes and bus systems will put travelers more at risk of contracting the virus but driving from one location to another individually is a safer option.
  5. Safe travels: Edwards said the most important advice he can give his clients is to do their research and stay educated on the best ways to maintain their health while traveling. This means wearing gloves in airports, washing their hands and trying to keep your distance from others as much as possible. While the future of the coronavirus might not be certain for those planning summer vacations, he said it is always a good idea to talk to a health professional about ways to stay clean and safe before traveling.

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