In the midst of global pandemic, I say this – Keep Calm and Keep Traveling! I am sure if you are watching the news or are on social media, you are overwhelmed with all so much information about coronavirus thrown at you constantly. How do you make a decision to keep your travel plans or stay home?
Think about this… After 9/11, did people stop going to New York?
There are knife, shooting and bombing attacks in Paris almost every year. Does the city appeal to you any less?
Has there been any decline in travelers to Mumbai after a series of attacks over 4 days in 2008?
Do you know about the SARS coronavirus that lasted 2002-2004 in China and Hong Kong (which was an epidemic, not a pandemic)?
Has the cholera that killed over 4,000 people in Zimbabwe in 2008-2009, or the swine flu in India that took over 2,000 lives in 2015, altered your travel plans?
The flu effected 35.5 million in the U.S. across 2018 and 2019, which led to 490,000 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths.
I am sure all of these events did bring attention to a particular place and you may wisely chose not to travel there during the chaos, but eventually things normalize.
Here are some reasons you must keep traveling…
Keep Your Jobs
Most major airlines and hotel chains have reduced 15% or more capacity, which also leads to internal cost cuts. This may not mean much to you as a traveler, but if you have anyone working in the travel industry – directly or indirectly – they could get affected by lower wages, hiring freezes, and potential layoffs.
Where are recent graduates and college students going to work?
Save Your Investments
If you have investments, retirement funds or savings, they will be impacted too. Not just the travel industry, everyone has an impact from a slowing down economy. We are already seeing worst stock market crashes since 2008.
Don’t Waste Resources
Over the past few weeks, I have heard from countless restaurants, farmers markets and growers from Seattle to Italy about how they have beautiful, fresh spring vegetables and fruits going to waste. We are throwing away perfectly good food, while some are starving.
Think about how much the food industry relies on travelers (as well as locals dining out) to consume produce.
Care About The People
Almost 15 million Americans work in tourism and hospitality—in hotels, amusement parks, art museums, and restaurants—making it the fifth largest industry in the country. Canceling travel and events has a trickle-down effect that harms economies, from locally owned hotels, restaurants, travel advisors and tour operators to the service and frontline employees who make up the backbone of the travel industry and the global economy.
Currently, the WHO has no travel or trade restrictions to international destinations. CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. Airlines and hotels are offering a flexible cancellation policy. Travel insurance companies are willing to work with this new threat.
It is important to realize that our actions and their impact are connected to our own homes, communities and the world. While it’s important to remain vigilant, it’s equally important to make calm, rational, and fact-based decisions. My recommendations include traveling to closer to home destinations, taking shorter trips, opting for refundable bookings, and maintaining proper hygiene at all times (even when not traveling).
- Go on road trips.
- Explore national parks and outdoor recreation areas.
- Rent a camper.
- Take shorter flights.
- Wipe down airplane seats and tray tables with alcohol sanitizers.
- Limit movement on the plane. Wash hands after touching overheads and visiting restrooms.
- Avoid touching your face and contact with coughing passengers by whatever means possible.
- Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing.
- Wear a face mask only if you are showing symptoms.
- Maintain food hygiene.
- Get screened after every trip or whenever possible.
Don’t cancel your summer vacations or winter breaks. In fact, use this time to read more about the places you want to visit, choose responsible tour operators, and take advantage of discounts. Use travel agents to make your bookings as they have more leverage on making changes and cancellations, without much hassle to you.
Go Eat Give offers customized itineraries and bookings through our connections with hundreds of small tour operators worldwide. Contact us at info at goeatgive dot com to book your next cultural, culinary or sustainable trip.