Best Practices for Travelers During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Whether you’re staying grounded or going ahead with your travel plans, be sure to keep abreast of the travel advisories on the coronavirus outbreak.

Travelers at the airport.

With the spike of coronavirus cases outside of China, it might mean that travel bans and advisories are limited in terms of preventing its spread. The novel virus, which comes with common respiratory signs of infections like cough, fever, and shortness of breath, has recently seen a surge in various countries, including Italy, South Korea, and Iran. What’s concerning is that people with coronavirus show mild to no symptoms until up to 14 days after infection. During this incubation period, it is possible for one to be infected by another with no symptoms.

Travelers who wish to go ahead with their travel plans—for reasons pertaining to work or personal commitments, ought to take preventive measures to keep themselves safe and healthy.

Here are some best practices to take note:

Avoiding non-essential travels

Unless necessary, it might be prudent for travelers to stay grounded during the coronavirus outbreak to minimize physical contact with others. If one must travel, it’s best to observe their home country’s travel advisories against badly affected destinations.

Observing travel notices

Even if you’re hell-bent on taking that well-deserved vacation, be sure to take cautionary measures by checking your destination’s travel advisory level. As an example, the United States’ Centers for Disease Control has three tiers of travel advisories, with Level 1 being the lowest and Level 3 being the highest. At the moment, China, Iran, 29 European countries (excluding the United Kingdom and Ireland), and South
Korea are on the Level 3 list.

Meanwhile, Japan has been designated with a Level 2 advisory due to ongoing community transmission of the disease. As such, the elderly and people with chronic underlying medical conditions should reconsider traveling there.

Pack and prepare

While planning out holiday outfits, try to also pack in a hand sanitizer and a couple of face masks. These items will come in handy should you find yourself seated next to, or across the aisle from someone visibly unwell while on buses, trains, and airplanes.

Stay hygienic

Needless to say, hygiene habits should be maintained in public. Travelers should avoid close contact with people who are sick, avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth, as well as cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue. In addition, wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Travelers who find themselves suddenly unwell while aboard a plane ought to stay in their cabin and inform a flight attendant should they begin to feel feverish, or have other symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, or a sore throat.

Stay abreast of flight cancellations

In an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus, airlines globally have made announcements to either suspend or decrease flights to affected destinations. As such, frequent travelers ought to keep themselves updated with the airline news so that they don’t find themselves stranded mid-travel.

Check with your hotel loyalty programs

Before booking accommodation, check with your hotel loyalty programs to ensure that you’re not missing out on major perks. World of Hyatt, IHG Rewards Club, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy have all announced membership point extensions, which is useful to know if you are considering postponing or canceling your bookings.

Cancellation of travel plans

As the coronavirus continues its global spread, many airlines are waiving the fees typically charged to change or cancel a plane ticket. Be sure to check the cancellation policies of the airline or travel agency you’ve booked with.

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