The coronavirus (also called COVID-19) has already infected hundreds of thousands around the world (165 countries and counting, and in all 50 U.S. states). More than 10,000 have died, and these numbers will continue to rise in the coming weeks. Every government on the globe has set up some sort of travel advisories and restrictions, leading airlines and cruises to cancel thousands of flights and routes, hundreds of hotels and travel agencies have shut down, the entire travel industry is in shock, on its knees.
But we will stand up again. Traveling, exploring, going out, it’s all part of our human nature.
As of now, New York has the highest number of coronavirus cases, with more than 1,000 cases (check the New York State Department of Health site for the latest). NYC has so far the largest portion of those cases, which lead to the Mayor declaring a state of emergency. Schools are closed, movie theaters, nightclubs, concert venues, bars, cafes, and restaurants are closed, and all of our iconic attractions like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Ellis Island and so many more are all closed, for now. Elsewhere, popular Universal and Disney parks have also closed down, temporarily.
All this has led to a lot of confusion, questions, and fears.
Can we travel? Should we travel? And if so – how do we travel?
If you’re planning to run away to Europe, forget about it. On March 12, President Trump banned all travel to Europe (here’s all you need to know about that). If you’re thinking instead of Ireland or the UK, Brexit, not part of Europe, then forget about that as well. Two days later the ban was extended to the UK and Ireland.
At this moment of time, most experts and government authorities are warning against all non-essential travel – anywhere in the world. The CDC advised that people over the age of 60 and those with preexisting medical conditions should “stay home as much as possible”. In San Francisco, the authorities have ordered their citizens to shelter-in-place. It doesn’t look good for travelers like us.
Coronavirus Travel Advice
We read a few expert articles in order to bring you a shortlist of the important Coronavirus travel advice tips.
Well, as much as we at offMetro love traveling and are here practically to support the travel industry (in NY, SF, CA and all over the world!) – unfortunately, and it’s so hard for us to say this – this is just not the right time to travel, unless you really really have to. Instead of traveling right now, you can use the time at home to research your next 10 travel destinations in each state, starting with the 10 East Coast destinations to visit in the spring.
However, if you really cannot postpone a journey due to unforgiving and urgent reasons, here are a few things to take into consideration:
- Is COVID-19 spreading in the destination where you’re heading? We recommend checking the destination’s local health department website for detailed information.
- Are you traveling alone or with someone else? Are you or your companions planning to be in close contact with others during this journey? Try to limit the number of people you meet to a minimum.
- Are you or your travel companions at higher risk for serious diseases if you do get COVID-19? (see the CDC’s advisory above)
- Are you living with someone who is older than 60 or has some medical condition? Remember that if you get COVID-19 – you’ll be risking the people you live with.
If you still decide to travel after answering all these questions, then you should take all the necessary preventive measures to minimize the possibility of getting infected with COVID-19.
Avoiding COVID-19: How to Stay Safe While Traveling
Again, we’re not recommending you travel at this time (we’ll update you when it’s safe again!) but if you really must – then try your utmost to keep these safety tips in mind on your journey:
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after you touch foreign objects, shake hands (which you shouldn’t!), or even get to close to people. Since you won’t have running water wherever you go – get a few alcohol-based hand sanitizers or disinfecting wipes.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your nose and mouth. The COVID-19 easily enters a body when a person’s hand gets infected and then he touches his mouth or nose with this infected hand.
- When you reach your Hotel room – clean the main objects you might touch with your disinfecting wipes or alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Stay away from large crowds and closed spaces. Keep a 2-meter space from others at all times.