I’m Probably Cancelling My Trip Because Of Coronavirus, But Not Why You Think

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Cancel Travel Coronavirus
Disneyland Paris is amazing, but it may not even be open when we are supposed to visit next month.

Cancel Travel Coronavirus

It’s a topic that is on all of our minds. Should I cancel upcoming travel because of the Coronavirus? While that is something I cannot answer for you, I thought I would be honest and walk through my thoughts about a couple of our upcoming trips and why I am considering staying home.

I’m No Expert, But I’m Not Uninformed

I have read pretty extensively on COVID-19 and feel like I am pretty aware of its dangers and areas where perhaps people may be overreacting. With that said I am not a doctor nor a medical professional, so like all of you I have to take the information I can gather and make a decision that has a huge impact on my family and our travels.

For example, we just spent some time in Disneyland and in Southern California where we were around a lot of people. We were extra careful with washing our hands and being sanitary, but overall felt comfortable going. The Disneyland Resort was busy as well with tens of thousands of others. I didn’t see a single face mask among the crowd nor many sick people. At no point was I uncomfortable, so why then would I consider cancelling an upcoming trip?

Cancel Our Trip to Europe?

Before I go into that, let me back up a bit. This year was supposed to be a big one for us travel wise. Ellie is starting Kindergarten in August, so we wanted to hit the road as much as possible before it becomes more difficult due to her school schedule. We have a trip to Hawaii scheduled for March 15 followed by what was supposed to be 1+ months in Europe on a road trip beginning in late March.

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, LEVEL airlines decided to cancel their Las Vegas to Paris route, meaning I no longer have a ticket to Paris. I have been working with them to get my ticket rebooked (long story but their customer service is terrible and they refunded me without my permission instead of rebooking), but perhaps just taking the refund is the way to go. We don’t have a return flight booked yet, so we could essentially walk away now without any hassles. So should we call our trip off?

Cancel Travel Coronavirus
Paris is one of our favorite cities for family travel. Hopefully if we do cancel we’ll be able to plan another trip back soon.

Is It Unsafe?

Right now Italy has seen a huge spike in cases and has begun shutting off some small towns where the virus has spread. This has the potential to move across country lines fairly quickly (the EU has open borders among member nations) and while we could avoid Italy, we would be covering a lot of territory which could be problematic for a few reasons I’ll discuss a bit later.

Disneyland Paris is also part of that planned trip, but I wonder how long it will be open if the virus continues to spread. As of today Tokyo Disneyland has shut down for at least two weeks and both the Shanghai and Hong Kong Disney resorts have been shuttered for weeks with no reopening date announced. Even if we go, there could be a lot less to do with tourist sites shutting due to safety concerns.

Getting Stuck Abroad

My family is relatively healthy and we are young, so we aren’t at huge risk of dying from this virus. That doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t be worried about it. Of course we don’t want to get sick, but there is another consideration we have to think about. We could get stuck outside of the country for a long period of time!

Imagine we spend more than a month criss-crossing Europe only to find an outbreak happens in a place we passed through. Given recent government travel restrictions plus the potential for many more, there is a huge possibility we could be stuck. And not just stuck. Stuck in an uncomfortable place and/or situation. Not necessarily ideal.

Cancel Travel Coronavirus
There is something to be said about all of the things you can discover along the way on an American road trip. Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, TX.

Risking Greater Exposure

And then there is the inescapable fact that travel is bringing on greater exposure to COVID-19. While I still contend going places without any serious outbreaks is fine for me personally, I do need to consider how the risks associated with a long term trip and heavy travel will affect me and my family.

For example my father isn’t in the best health. Do I want to put myself in a position where I could potentially not be able to see him for long periods of time because I am a potential carrier? And of course there is always the risk of traveling and contracting COVID-19 and giving it to friends and family. In life I really don’t live in the “what ifs” often, but combined with the other factors, I feel I have to at least acknowledge this.

A Great American Road Trip?

So at this point I am heavily considering cancelling our Europe trip for March, not because I think we will get infected given the odds, but because I feel the risks are too high given the downsides. That is especially true when I factor in the potential hassle of being stuck somewhere in quarantine and being subject to government restrictions.

As an alternative we are considering a U.S. road trip. It still comes with some potential risks, but it seems like a better solution overall. To start, we were going to do a U.S. road trip over the Summer before Ellie starts school, so perhaps we could just switch things around. Staying in the USA would also give us the ability to return home if things get bad without getting stuck out of the country. And finally there is so much to do/see here, that I don’t feel like we would be settling.

Cancel Travel Coronavirus
Taken during our Paris visit in 2019!

Cancel Travel Coronavirus – Bottom Line

I know many of you are in the same situation as me with upcoming travel and decisions that have to be made about whether to stick it out or cancel. For now we are leaving Hawaii on the books, but will monitor that situation as things get closer. Past that I feel like leaving the country could be the irresponsible thing to do for me and my family. The next couple of weeks will be interesting.

What do you think? Do you have upcoming travel you are changing or cancelling? What alternatives have you come up with? Share your thoughts in the comments, but please be respectful of one another.

Shawn Coomerhttps://www.milestomemories.com
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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44 COMMENTS

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44 COMMENTS

  1. We had been planning to take a long-awaited trip to Maine in late Aug-early Sept, but my fiance is saying hold off on those plans for a bit. We were planning to fly and not particularly crazy about getting on an airplane right now. (My immunity is a bit compromised for a couple reasons.) I figure we’ll stay home this year and finally remodel our house since it keeps getting put off due to me always making travel plans, ha!

  2. I just canceled our spring break trip (w/two school-aged kids) to Tokyo because our youngest child’s daycare is starting to require 14-day quarantines for families who have traveled to high-alert areas (China, Korea, Italy), so Japan is likely to fall into that camp soon and we can’t afford to be without childcare that long. The other thing that made us cancel is that so many attractions in Tokyo are closed temporarily, so we would miss out on a lot even if we were to go.

    On the flip side, we’re planning a trip to Hawaii for spring break instead. I definitely appreciate the flexibility of Southwest tickets in situations like this!

  3. If you travel, don’t come up this way. I live in Solano County here in California, the hotbed for the Coronavirus. Now it’s in Santa Clara as well. It’s a domino effect as far as closures and inconveniences to everyday life for probably the next few weeks, if not months. We shall see.

  4. I purchased a trip to Tokyo, for January and another trip to Paris and Rome for late March. These purchases were made about seven months ago. both trips had the flights and the hotels and the tours booked nonrefundable with points. When the virus first became known, I had a decision to make about Tokyo. I am over 65 and have diabetes and high blood pressure. Even though I know Japan is very hygienic, I thought I would not risk it, and decided to just wait for my trip to Europe instead. It wasn’t too hard getting refunds and vouchers on my nonrefundables. Now it looks like I’m going to have to do it all over again with the Paris/Rome trip. I’ve been to Europe and Japan many times, so the loss of the trip are not that big of a deal to me. My traveling companion has never been to Europe and was really looking forward to it but she understands. We were very excited about all the things we were going to do. About three years ago, somewhere between Scotland and Barcelona I came down with a serious fever that I could not shake. Sore throat headache chills sweats weakness and all. The doctors in Europe cured my sore throat but that was it. Man I was sick. It even took my family doctor two tries with different antibiotics to knock it down after I returned home after a week of agony. It was a bacterial infection, not a virus. Since then I’ve been to Japan, China, Europe, and South America, so I am over it. But this trip to Paris and Italy is a no brainer for me. Cancel!

    • It’s always emotionally hard to cancel a trip that you have been planning and looking forward to for a long time! Sounds like you are making the right decision though.

  5. Every one has to make their own decision. I certainly wouldn’t visit Wuhan in the next couple of months, but figuring on near worst case scenarios seems a bit much. You can’t live your life based on fear.

  6. Thanks for your family perspective Shawn – this is perfectly timed for us. My wife and I have a trip to visit our daughter in Spain for two weeks beginning mid-April (daughter is on a semester abroad). Although we’re a lot farther down the road on children than you, they are still what dictate a lot of our travel decision-making. Whether to actually make this trip or not is relatively easy for us since we can rely on the school to make the call regarding the safety/return of the students (if she’s told to come back, we ain’t going!). Based on what we’ve already seen with cancelling the other programs abroad, we are confident her school will err on the side of caution. They’ve already cancelled several programs as the virus has spread so, if Spain gets the call, we’ll cancel our trip. Luckily, all our hotel and air reservations are booked with fully-refundable points and miles. The fully-refundable aspect of reward travel is very valuable and should be more promoted (and included in valuation somehow!). To be able to click and cancel a couple of weeks before traveling with full refund of points and miles is both comforting and valuable.

    • Yes being able to have that flexibility is so nice! You make a good point about schools/institutions making these decisions for us. Even if one believes this is all over hyped (I’m not sure myself that it isn’t), you can’t deny that governments and other institutions could put restrictions after travel that could have an impact.

  7. My wife and I have been avid travels (free air, hotel, food, excursions) for many years even before I knew anyone knew how to enjoy the hobby using cc offers and such. We would only travel once a year, but choose where we wanted to go and then plan how to do that free. Been at this since the early 90’s. This past year we stayed at one of our favorite places Capri, Italy and one of the best resorts that’s hard to get in. I know realize that there are simply places getting way too many tourists due to AirB&B which opened up people’s homes at low prices in luxury destinations. Even the medical field know this has caused more crowds, more sicknesses being brought to places that didn’t have so many problems. It is ruining the places we loved. Countries that are great tourist destinations are now overrun, doctors can’t keep up and people are getting sick including residents, hotel staff, young and old and my wife almost died from a virus that the U.S. isn’t used to. We will not be traveling except short trips away from crowded places. Be careful out there. Italy was hit with Rotavirus first which traced from some other area which didn’t used to be able to travel due to expense. I don’t blame anyone, they saw an opportunity and got to travel. Can’t blame them. International airports, planes and cruise ships are risky. Now it’s another virus. If you do travel, know your own health and chose wisely. These countries and popular cities will have to limit visitors. Very hard to get to places, although expensive if paying cash are what we focus on, but we are waiting. Just too many able to travel now. I personally wouldn’t touch foot on a cruise ship due to being stuck with the same crowd in a small place. Just too many viruses hitting quickly at this time in those type of places.

  8. I think your reasoning is quite sound. My family is currently staying with my elderly parents while we wait for a house purchase to close so putting them at risk is a serious concern for me. I personally would not risk travel to Asia or any of the other hot spots right now — not because I think I am likely to die from it (though it’s possible), but partly because I don’t want to get trapped in quarantine but ALSO I do not want to endanger others especially if I happen to be one of those who catches the virus without symptoms.

  9. We have a trip to India setup for next Saturday. 2 weeks starting in Delhi, ending in Mumbai. I agree with about everything you had to say, its not about catching the virus, its about the unknown. Any thoughts about going to India during this so-called pandemic? Flying in Qsuites there and Etihad apartment on the way back!!! UGH, took me forever to get the miles and availability.

    • Always a tough call on canceling trips like that. I would pay close attention to restrictions since things are changing every day. I can’t tell you what to do, but I wouldn’t blame you for going. Just know the potential consequences (restrictions, etc.) that you could face if you go.

      • Just a rando follow-up. We decided to cancel our trip to India.
        The final straw was Delhi closing all schools until March 31st due to the outbreak. As well as cases in Jaipur and Agra, basically our entire itinerary was compromised. I’m still in the don’t believe it stage…. :o(

  10. I must be the outlier. We have family trips planned for Hawaii in late March and Amsterdam/Paris in late July. I’m not even considering cancelling either trip. I just refuse to give into the mass hysteria. Plus without elite status or a defined travel restriction, I’m not taking the chance of blowing hundreds of dollars to cancel our trips only to find out everything is fine. Call me naive, but I’m not cancelling travel plans at this point, particularly to advanced economies with strong healthcare systems. But I don’t fault those that do. Everybody has their own level of comfort.

    • As of now we still plan on doing Hawaii in mid-March unless something changes. As for your late July trip, I absolutely wouldn’t be canceling anything for that time frame now either. Our trip to Paris is in a few weeks which is why we are almost certainly going to have to cancel. Heck, I am hoping things die down and we can shift our Paris/Europe trip to the Summer before my daughter starts Kindergarten.

    • Lol. Our healthcare system in Hawaii is FAR FAR from strong. Good luck surviving Maui memorial if anything happens. it’s naive. And i cant speak for everyone, but a lot of us locals dont want you here right now. It’s selfish.

  11. Shawn, My wife and I have a dream trip to Tokyo in 2 weeks on ANA F. We’ve never been to Asia. I know they just closed schools down 2 weeks early. Most fellow travelers tell me to take the trip unless Japan is moved to Level 3. As someone who knows Asia well, what are your thoughts?

    • That’s a tough one. If it were me I would not be highly concerned about catching it personally, although that is always a small possibility. With Japan specifically I would worry about getting stuck. Keep in mind if it does move to Level 3 while you are there you could be stuck or forced to quarantine when you return to the U.S. Japan is a very safe and clean country and I have no doubt they are doing their best to contain this, but I would be aware of the potential travel challenges and worst case scenarios if things get worse while you are there.

  12. You are reading my mind. I have a transatlantic to BCN in April, which is under full penalty, so that’s a waiting game. We were scheduled for two weeks after in northern Italy. So researched some other destinations. Trying to decide how severe it will be in Europe by then. Can still book a reasonable mileage flight home after cruise, and bag the extension. Of greater concern for me is September trip with friends…Paris, then UK cruise, then London at end. I’m not concerned about getting sick, but rather being quarantined or other things happening outside my control.

  13. Curious if you are going ahead with your trip to Hawaii in March, and your thoughts generally about travelling to Hawaii (as opposed to Europe) next month in light of the current situation. I have a trip book to Kauai at the beginning of March, and don’t have any plans to cancel as of right now.

    • As of now we are still planning on doing Hawaii. We are only going to be visiting Oahu and don’t plan on doing much other than enjoying the resort (Aulani). I am keeping a close watch though on the situation in Hawaii, so things could change before we go.

  14. That US roadtrip sounds epic!!!! That’s how my family did vacations back in the 80s and 90s when plane trips were just too costly (back then my parents didnt’ know about miles/points) and gas was extremely cheap (less than $1 per gallon.)

    • We’ve done a ton of cross-country road trips. One of my favorite things to do! While I love traveling international, I think people often overlook all of the amazing places to visit in the United States.

  15. I actually heard about the coronavirus in early January, way before it got publicized worldwide in late Jan. I had planned a 7-day trip to Okinawa Island, Japan in early Feb, and after my wife read some localized news from China, we decided to cancel our Okinawa trip.

    But before that, I had a work trip to Indonesia during the Lunar New Year, and cancelled that too. In mid Feb, I was supposed to fly to Bangkok, and that too I cancelled.

    All of this was not for the fear of the virus, but the quarantine procedures in these countries, and of course returning back to my home in Malaysia. My fear was mainly about the double quarantine procedures, one at the visiting country, and one more back home. 14 + 14 is not a joke.

    If you ask me, it’s totally not worth the chance. I feel the problem is that humans are quite selfish and only think about themselves these days, thinking they know it all. It’s a pandemic, and is it really worth it to test one’s luck?

  16. As you alluded, it’s not just the risk factors or getting infected, (which are still small), it’s the effect that others that get infected/sick have on you, directly or indirectly, that will disrupt your trip. People like theme park operators, hotel staff, and aircrews.
    The other major factor would be put in quarantine because others around you got infected. Just ask people on the Diamond Princess how that’s going.
    I have a trip to London scheduled for the middle of September, so I’m praying that the situation is resolved by then

  17. I’m like you. Relatively healthy and so are my kids. We travel around the world each break from school (summer vacations, spring break, ski week, Thanksgiving and Christmas). I’m not as worried about getting the virus and dying as much as getting stuck somewhere and not being able to come home or being quarantined 14+ days. That would really suck!

    • Not only that the main issue is if you or your kids get the virus but not sick and you will be “carrier” and may make other people sick. I am more worry about that.

  18. I’m debating it as our Maldives trip is in a couple of weeks. Decisions, decisions. On a side note, I live in Amarillo. That’s cool that you were in our neck of the woods!

  19. My husband and I are quite a bit older than you. I finally bit the bullet this morning and cancelled our hotel and flight bookings for a three week trip to Israel scheduled for March 16. Disappointing, but I realize minor to what many are experiencing. Am also thinking about some domestic road trips.

  20. We have a trip in mid April to fly to Dubai and then stay at a hotel that is very private, outside of Dubai. We are flying Bus. Class, and arrive in Dubai from JFK at 4:30am. Not many people around at 4:30am. Transport to our hotel where we have a standalone private suite and pool. We would see people at meals or excursions, but not many. Our return trip leaves Dubai at 3am and heads back to JFK. My only concerns are the packed flights in the US, but we may wear mask’s on those flights. Otherwise, not too worried. Hey, if I die on this trip, I know where I am going and not worried at all.

  21. I appreciate your thoughts. You ha e a young family to consider and that is of utmost importance.
    I have a quick mile run mid April jfk lhr Mumbai lhr jfk. I am hoping it will be ok – thoughts? Also I have several trips to London in May. I’m feeling fairly comfortable with those – thoughts?
    My other travels are upcoming in USA. Thank you

    • I would just keep a close eye on things and make a decision based on your comfort level and the realities on the ground at the places you are visiting at the time of your trip. Governments are rapidly implementing travel restrictions too, so everything is fluid at this point in time.

  22. It is certainly an individual decision and you have some unique considerations. Personally I have a flight in 2 weeks on Singapore Air to Frankfurt anD plan to go. It is just me and I’m willing to take the small chance something happens.

    Also my wife, daughter and I have a 2 week trip to Italy booked that includes a one week cruise out of Venice. I am going ahead with our plans since, like all similar such viruses, COVID-19 will almost certainly die out when the weather warms up (could be back next winter but that is a different issue and hopefully there will be a vaccine).

    Again personal choices but I am not, at this point, changing any of my travel plans either in the US or internationally.

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