I have been receiving many calls and emails from folks over the past few weeks asking about the current situation regarding Covid-19, previously known as the coronavirus, and how it can affect your travel plans. While the vast majority of your travel is largely unaffected by this outbreak, it is always good to remain on top of every bit of information that comes out regarding it. In the midst of a situation like this, it can be easy to get sucked in by fear. Instead of giving in to fear, I am choosing to remain vigilant and I am facing the issue head on in hopes that I can point you in the direction of the same unbiased, fact-based information that I use every day (and not just when Covid-19 is running wild around the globe). This will help those of you who I have not spoken to directly to weigh the risks of the trips you are thinking about taking. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, take a moment to give a call or send me an email.
I remember the very first moment the news broke about this virus. I rolled over in bed, turned off my alarm, and in the dark was blinded by the light from my phone as I opened the BBC World News app to do a bit of skimming headlines before my day really got going. At this point there were a handful of cases all within Wuhan, but I immediately sprang to action with checking the CDC, WHO, and touching base with my partners in China. From that dark morning in December until this very moment, I have been in constant contact with partners around the globe, getting their first-hand information on the ground in their destination.
I also remember the morning I awoke to see the headlines about the virus in Italy, and I knew that everything had changed. When these cases appeared in Europe, public reactions and perception changed overnight. I am not, however, someone who has knee-jerk reactions to any situation, especially one as nuanced as the spread of Covid-19.
Let’s cover two important things to keep in mind: should there be a concern for your travel plans? Yes. Should there be a blanket fear about any type of travel to any destination? No. However, first and foremost, my main priority is the health, safety, and well-being of my clients. Know that I will never tell you to “just take the trip” in order to make a little money. I want every one of my clients to be excited every day leading up to their trip. I am here to help you cross items off your bucket-list after all! My job is to help you every step of the way, no matter what is going on in the world.
So what is the right thing to be thinking or doing at the moment with regards to your travel dreams? There really isn’t a right or wrong answer here. What you should do or think is what you feel comfortable with. These are your dreams, not mine.
As always, I am your personal advocate for all your travel. Have questions? Call or email me (a real-live person!). Want to know what is happening on the ground in your destination? Just ask! I work with the world’s best travel suppliers, and they are both incredibly proactive and responsive 24/7. I am on the front line advocating for you every day of the year and I always have your back.
The travel industry is experienced in working through a crisis of any sort, we really have seen it all at this point. Environmental, financial, political, and yes, medical crises. That is because at our heart, we are a service industry. We are in the service not just of making your dreams come true, but of your safety and well-being.
The immediate effect on travel to any destination (even over to Philadelphia or up to New York), remains a fluid situation that can change greatly from day to day. So all we can do right now is take every precaution to keep ourselves healthy – wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and use hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands.
All that being said, at the end of the day, I cannot personally predict what will happen next week or next month. I continually read every report from the CDC and the WHO. These two organizations are the ones that can be trusted regarding news and updates on this, or any other, infectious disease. Tens of thousands die every year from the flu and yet many folks can't be bothered to get a flu shot. New York City is having its most deadly flu season in history and no one I know of is avoiding New York.
Going forward, in order to make the most informed decisions possible, do your best to look beyond the media hysteria and try to see what is happening to the best of your ability. To do that, take a look at these links below that I myself rely on for information: