It’s funny how life can completely change in a matter of days. Just a few short weeks ago I was mulling over an offer to purchase this website, something I had never considered or thought was possible. I was also planning the most epic and ambitious trip to date.
That was then.
Flash forward to today where I am watching the traffic on my site crash and my inbox filling up with flight cancellation notices. Yes, what a week.
So, with this flip in mind, I thought I would look at what is happening and why some are still looking to follow through with their travel plans, despite the current climate. This is my take on the pandemic travel situation and why you should think twice about that upcoming trip.
In This Post...
Let’s Take a Deep Breath
For someone who preaches the gospel of travel, this is a tough post to write. That said, I think it’s necessary.
I have had several conversations in the past few days that have made me question myself, humanity, and the rational of those thinking about travelling during a pandemic. Before diving in, I should state I am not one to panic or overreact. I am logical and trust science and those that study it.
Currently, I am sitting in a coffee shop that is typically teeming with life. Today, I am one of only a handful of people not bunkering down at home or fighting over the last pack of toilet paper at the grocery store. Strange days are upon us. Still, I have readers, family, and friends considering disregarding the situation and getting out of dodge.
Since a Pandemic is defined as a viral outbreak simultaneously happening worldwide, questioning if you should travel during a pandemic should be a non-starter. Still, so many people do. Let’s look at some of those pandemic travel arguments and try and clear the air.
I’m Young and Healthy so I will be Fine.
Time to cash in on cheap pandemic travel tickets right?
First off, congrats. Second, look around. This attitude certainly is a self-centred one. You may not be at risk however others are. We all know that the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are the ones who may not recover. Maybe you don’t know anyone in this category, however, chances are someone you know or interact with, does.
Let’s say because of your selfishness, you go through with your pandemic travel plans and contract Covid-19. You don’t show symptoms at first so go about your normal life, interacting with people and objects (door handles, office supplies, Axe body spray samples, etc..) and subsequently spread the virus unknowingly. This adds to the problem and the spread, making its way to those at risk. ie. Another healthy person gets it from you then visits their grandmother in a nursing home…
If you truly are only worried about yourself, consider this. Let’s say you got back from your trip and are starting to feel the effects so you go to the pharmacy to get some cold medication. You stop at the deodorant aisle, sneeze while sampling some Axe body spray, and shoot it into your eyes. Because of the Covid-19 spread, hospitals become overwhelmed meaning you are sitting blurry-eyed and reeking of “Black Chill” (whatever the f#ck that is) or worse, turned away.
This is, obviously, a weak example of an unpredicted need for medical attention. The point is, life goes on regardless of a pandemic so, on top of dealing with that, hospitals need to support day-to-day issues. Let’s ensure they can.
The Country I Am Going to Doesn’t Have Any Cases
Unfortunately, there is so much more to this issue than contracting the virus. The situation is incredibly fluid. This means you could be entering an area where cases are unreported and/or the country could be shutting its doors to prevent the spread.
Is this hassle worth it? Like finding this out midflight like many confused European travellers found out when the President of the United States bumbled his way through closing off flights to the States from Europe – except the UK for some reason?
Bottom line is, the country you go to may not have any documented cases now. That doesn’t mean it can’t change or that they won’t take drastic measures to keep it that way. You could get caught up in the confusion.
I Would Rather Be Stuck In (Insert Tropical Destination Here)
Even if you are allowed in, many countries are imposing a 14-day self-isolation once there. Think about the cost of 14 unplanned days in a hotel and the absolute boredom that would bring. That said, maybe it is better than 14 days in Flin-Flon, Manitoba. I don’t know.
Even if you don’t have to self-isolate, the country may come to a halt. Instead of fighting over toilet paper at home, you may be doing the same in a foreign country. There may be no transportation and your local consulate may not be able to assist.
On top of that, the country you go to (like so many including the United States) may be incredibly underprepared or lack the facilities to assist in general. Italy’s hospitals, for a sad example, quickly became overrun and Doctors had to make some incredibly difficult choices. Because in some cases Covid-19 leads to pneumonia, there is a potential of being in a bed for weeks with a respirator tube jammed down your throat. Italy found out the hard way what it means to not have enough respirators or hospital beds.
On top of all that, if your travel plans change mid-trip, your in for a world of wait. As travel disruptions continue, airline call centres won’t be able to keep up with the demand. This means even if you are stuck in a hotel in paradise, you may be spending significant time just trying to get through to the airline to get you and your family home.
The Common Flu Kills 10 Times as Many People Every Year!
This one hurts my head. In the age of flat-earthers and anti-vaxxers, this may be a tough concept to get across but here we go.
Yes, influenza kills however there are some very important differences. Despite influenza being around 1,000 years longer (thus understood with vaccinations offered), Covid-19 is showing a mortality rate 10 times higher. It is also proving to be far more contagious. So, what happens if Covid-19 spreads to as many people as the flu does? Does your statement still stand?
Thus the drastic measures we are currently seeing.
It’s Not All Doom and Gloom
This all said, I’m not trying to paint a horrible picture. That’s already being painted for us. I’m just being real and encouraging those that may be inconvenienced now by changing their plans, to do so. You could go and you could be fine however at this point, the risks certainly outweigh the reward.
This, of course, will change. I’m still planning to go on my 5-continent trip this May. Am I confident it will still happen? No. But, as mentioned, the situation is fluid. I will monitor the travel restrictions and suggestions accordingly and, if all signs point to go, I will go and I will take every precaution seriously. Till then, my country (and so many others), are strongly advised to keep travel to essential trips only.
Sorry, Flin-Flon. That tropical destination isn’t going anywhere, and neither are you.
What say you?
Thoughts on Pandemic Travel? How is it affecting your Travel plans?
Let’s hear it in the comments below!
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