This past week I got to speak on GoodDay LA about how the travel industry has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Here are a few of the topics and tips I touched on.
Do Not Panic
Stay informed and be smart. Listen to the suggested precautions: wash hands frequently, avoid touching your face, reduce going to places with large crowds and practice social distancing. Assess your health honestly. Also, stay on top of new developments as this situation is VERY fluid.
How to get a Refund NOW
Here are a few ways to tackle getting a refund, especially when airlines are being tricky.
Be specific with WHY you are cancelling. Everything is on a case by case basis right now. If you are cancelling because you are sick or you have a pre-existing health condition that puts you at high risk, let the company know. You will likely have to prove it with a doctor’s note, but companies are making exceptions for these cases. If you are just cancelling because an event got cancelled, you might be out of luck. Regardless, most companies are trying their best to work with everyone, given the circumstances.
Consider postponing instead of cancelling. Especially if you are having a hard time getting a refund–get credit where you can and plan something later. There is no point in trying to push through and travel now. With so many attractions and activities closed, it is likely your destination will not be fully operational. As we can see in Los Angeles, amusement parks like Universal Studios and Disneyland, museums like The Broad and The Getty, a lot of attractions are closed for the next two weeks. Do you really want to go to a destination where everything is closed?
Aim to travel later this year. The impact this is having on the travel industry is huge. It is going to be a buyer’s market for the rest of the year, so it is highly likely you’ll be able to find great deals throughout the year. Just don’t put the pressure on flying and traveling now. I say focus on immediate needs, and then look to rebook travel once things are normal again.
Coming Home from Abroad is Madness
Coming back into the country, be patient. Times are unprecedented. LAX is one of 13 national airports screening Americans and their immediate families returning from a list of restricted countries due to the coronavirus. Because travelers are being funneled into one of these airport, long lines have been reported around the country. Also, keep in mind, there are still the high probabilities of having to quarantine upon returning.
How to Scratch that Itch to Travel
Play up the staycation! With schools being closed, Spring Break plans changing, and ordinances for social distancing, plan a real staycation and stay at home. It’s a great time to tackle things on the long to-do list of things you’ve been trying to get done around the house. If weather permits, plan hikes, bike rides, stay active outside (but away from people). You’ll get fresh air, not be around crowds, and boost your immune system.
**This was before Stay at Home Orders were Mandated.
Be Honest With Yourself, Do you Want to Get Sick?
At the end of the day be honest with yourself. Are you sick or have been around someone who is sick? You might not be worried about getting sick yourself, but seriously keep in mind that you could spread it to someone who is at a much higher risk of suffering from a severe case.