Unless you are living under a rock, you have probably heard of the Corona and its effects (not the Beer). The virus continues to spread and wreck havoc to global health, travel and trade.
We are sure this has miffed quite a few of you travelers. You were all ready for your dream international vacation and this happened. Some of you had even made bookings, and don't know what to do about it now. Blimey.
We feel you. We had travel plans ourselves, and now we are pissed.
Anyway, we have been getting a lot of queries from fellow globetrotters like you on what to do in this situation.
The primary question is "Should I stick with my original travel plans or not"
And that is why we decided to write this article to give you guys some guidance. Also we are tired of answering emails :P
First things First. No need to panic.
This is a temporary situation. It'll all be over sooner rather than later.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is just not visible yet, that is all.
Now, let us see what we can do about travel plans.
You have already made your bookings?
Are they refundable?
Keep an eye on the global situation. Wait till the time you have to cancel your bookings without losing money. Look out for travel advisories by governments. Has the situation improved? If not, it maybe wise to cancel.
At this point you may have the following arguments running in your mind
a) The country I am travelling to do not have any cases/ fatalities reported.
b) Won't I be safe if I take enough precautions?
c) So what if I catch the Corona? The mortality rates are very low. I am young and healthy. Most likely it'll pass-off like a common flu.
d) But I've heard Indians have kind of a natural immunity against it.
Good points (most of them) However, do consider the following.
True that the country you are travelling to might be relatively safer. You may very well arrive back in India safe and sound with no issues.
However, your journey may not be that much fun.The entire global travel industry has been disrupted. Flights are getting cancelled. Popular tourist spots across the world are shutting down places of public gatherings (museums, amusement parks etc.).
If you decide to travel, you would most likely go through a lot of sanitation and disinfecting procedures. Not ideal conditions for a fun vacation.
Or worse, the country you are travelling to or transiting through could cancel flights to India. You could be stuck in a corner of the world with no means to get back.
For e.g. All flights from Iran to India are cancelled. There are many Indians stuck in Iran. They now have to rely on the Indian government to be evacuated.
Further, Kuwait which is a popular International Transit point has banned flights from India.
Now let us say that by some luck or chance, you had a wonderful holiday and landed back in India.
What if you caught a common cold or flu on the way? You would most likely be sent from the Airport straight to quarantine in a hospital.
If that doesn't happen, your office might ask you to take leave or take a test. Acquaintances in the know may avoid you.
Also, there is always the risk of being a carrier. You may catch the disease and recover from it. Just like you do from a common flu. However, it is likely that you pass it on to someone who has lesser immunity (older people usually)
Your bookings are not refundable?
The considerations are the same. That fun vacation you planned may not end up being fun. If you have to cancel your trip, think of it as a sunk cost. Stuff happens. Move on. Many more vacations await you in the future.
Please note that this is just our opinion. The ultimate decision has to be made by you.
Here are a few questions you could ask yourself before you decide whether to travel or not.
a) Can I postpone my bookings to a later date when I can make the trip?
b) Does my travel insurance cover the cost of cancellation of bookings made?
c) How is my overall health and immunity levels?
d) How comfortable am I with facing uncertainty?
e) Am I a high risk candidate considering my age?
f) How will my organization respond once I get back from the trip?
g) Am I ok with the possibility of being quarantined?
h) Am I travelling to a high risk country or transiting through one?
Do Indians have a natural immunity against Corona?
There is no evidence for this. And No, drinking Rasam will not give you immunity or cure you.
That said, previous outbreaks such as SARS, MERS, and Ebola did not affect India much. Moreover, they died down when summer set in.
This could be because heat kills the viruses. If this is true, India is the safest place to be.
Have not made your bookings yet?
You are luckier that the others. But we know you are annoyed still.
The good news is that like we said before, this whole thing could be over soon. Most likely, when summer sets in.
Now is not the time to panic or be annoyed. Let us see how we can make the best of this situation.
Flight fares across the world have fallen
For e.g. a Chennai to Malaysia return flight in April, now costs Rs. 11.5k. Considering that it's a holiday season, these fares are a steal.
The same goes for hotel rates too. They may further fall.
However, these won't last for long.
When the situation turns (and turn it will), fares will start rising.
Be the early bird. Plan a detailed itinerary and be ready to book. That is how you can make the best of this situation.
Like we said, good times are coming soon.