Coronavirus Travel Recommendations: Should You Cancel Your Plans?

**UPDATE: This post was originally published in early March. As the world knows, things have rapidly changed. I’m leaving this post “live” for two reasons-

  1. The sentiment hasn’t changed. We all need to be cautious about fear taking over our lives. Although that looks a little different than when I first published the article.
  2. The tips at the beginning for keeping our immune systems strong still apply. And I hope they’re able to help some families!

With that said…here’s the post as it was written:

I’ve never gone to Med School. In fact, I didn’t even take a single science class in college. However, being a travel expert I’ve been asked multiple times to weigh in with my coronavirus travel recommendations.

So with that disclaimer, here goes…

The unknown element associated with coronavirus is causing a lot of fear in the world.

While I don’t want to completely undermine the power of this virus, I do think it’s important to keep our thoughts in check. Right now I’m more concerned with my family picking up the flu when traveling than I am coronavirus. However, my fears are merely concerns. Do I want our family to get sick? No. But do I think we have healthy immune systems that will fight it? Yes.

There are a million posts circulating with tips on avoiding the virus. Most of them are no-brainers. For example, wash your hands. Honestly, that’s a pretty good practice to adopt in life. Not to mention when you travel.

I won’t rehash all the tips already out there. Because, keep in mind, I’m no MD.

However, I will share some tips that my family uses to keep our immune systems strong- particularly when we travel:

  • Rest: I can’t stress this enough. We do our best to make sure that everyone in our family gets the proper amount of sleep each night. Even when we’re changing time zones and thrown off by exciting travel- we always build in enough time to allow healthy sleep.
  • Elderberry Syrup: I am a big fan. Sometimes our family purchases pre-made elderberry syrup (particularly when we’re traveling), and I also make my own at home. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits and having an easy recipe, check out my post- How Elderberry Syrup Saved My Vacation.
  • Healthy Eating: We’re far from perfect, but we do try to provide our family with nutritious meals. We don’t eat a lot of junk or sugar which can wreak havoc on your immune system.
  • Vitamin C: Admittedly, I know Vitamin C is proven to ward off illness. But knowing we get a lot naturally through food, I’m not always vigilant about adding vitamins. But, it’s a proven defense against coronavirus (and also a treatment for those with it!) so our family is taking daily doses.
  • Vitamin D: I prefer to get this naturally from the sun. We spend a ton of time outside, even in winter. But I do keep Vitamin D on hand always. If I feel that we’ve had a rainy stretch, I make sure we’re supplementing.

Here are my favorite immune boosting products mentioned above:

Now that you know my secrets for keeping our family’s immune systems healthy, here are my coronavirus travel recommendations:

If you feel good about your immune system, continue traveling to any areas not affected.

What do I mean by that? Well, first of all- travel is not inexpensive. I know many cities that are virtually shutting down in order to stop the spread of the virus. To me, the best part of traveling is exploring. It’s doing things, visiting attractions and having cultural experiences. I don’t want to travel somewhere and sit in my hotel room.

I don’t want to miss out on adventures because everything is closed due to coronavirus.

Another factor to take into consideration, aside from the possibility of being exposed: Being Stranded or Quarantined. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this possibility in my coronavirus travel recommendations.

Information about this virus is changing rapidly. It is best to stay informed (without becoming fearful.) It is possible that companies will decide to cancel flights or other varieties of travel transportation. If you have concerns about being stuck somewhere, it would be wise to make sure you’ve got access to a car.

Additionally, there is always the possibility of being quarantined. Several weeks ago, a good friend was held at the airport for hours after returning from an international trip. She has a Chinese passport, but hasn’t traveled near China for years. At this point, we don’t really know what will cause red flags tomorrow so it’s best to be prepared for the possibility of quarantine.

So, if I’m in a position to postpone my travel to an affected area- I certainly would.

Also, if the stress of being exposed would cause someone too much anxiety to enjoy the trip- I’d definitely recommend rescheduling.

But, given the current information I have access to (which could change tomorrow)- I will still travel. Yes, I’m increasing my odds of being exposed to coronavirus by traveling through airports and in public places. But I refuse to live in fear.

I don’t think we can wait for perfect circumstances to travel. There will ALWAYS be something holding us back- from virus outbreaks to global threats.

Will I proceed with caution? Of course!

Overall, I believe it best to take this outbreak a day at a time, and on a case by case basis when considering travel.

There really is no “right” answer.

Again, some people may be so stressed about the possibility of exposure that it will ruin their trip regardless. Others can carry on with their travel treating coronavirus similarly to flu season. And I think that’s okay too.

At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for your family. Most companies are being very relaxed about rescheduling or refunding trips right now. You’ll need to contact the specific companies you’ve booked with to review their policies (which also might help you make a decision!)

I’ll end with a prayer story…

Our cat is missing. As my son was saying his bedtime prayers, here’s a summary of what he said:

“Dear God, Please bring Smokey home safely. Please let her be clean so she doesn’t need a bath. Please help her not have any diseases, like coronavirus. Help her find home soon. Amen.”

So here’s hoping our cat comes home. And that she’s coronavirus free!

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You might also enjoy reading:

Tips For Handling Illness on Vacation

Items I Pack In My Medicine/First Aid Travel Bag

When A Vacation Doesn’t Go As Planned

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