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Wall Street Journal, Feb 26 2020 – Smart Travel Planning in the Time of Coronavirus

Wall Street Journal, Feb 26 2020 – Smart Travel Planning in the Time of Coronavirus

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First, if you’re sick, don’t travel. This rule applies all the time, but people routinely ignore it. Don’t do that in this climate unless you want to end up quarantined.

Some countries are or will be scanning passengers for increased body temperature. If you have a fever, you may be detained. Further, airline crews—not to mention passengers—are on heightened alert for anyone sneezing or coughing. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended flight crews isolate ill passengers. And it’s not negotiable: On an airplane, failure to comply with crew orders is a federal crime.

Second, no matter where you travel internationally, there is increased risk that travel may be disrupted. An outbreak can mean a city is sealed off, flights are canceled and travelers are quarantined. So best to plan ahead for serious disruption, just in case.

Take extra supplies of your medications with you. Take a supply of cold medicine and a thermometer. You might want to take work materials with you that you need after your return in case you end up stuck somewhere. Make sure you have health insurance documentation in case you end up sick. And have someone back home at the ready to help with emergency travel plans if you need to find a way home quickly. A travel agent may be a very good idea.

“As we learn more about the virus, governments can change overnight how they are responding,” says epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Third, consider whether you have a higher risk of getting sick while traveling. Older people or those with underlying medical conditions may want to ground themselves, experts say.

Dr. Wu advises getting a flu shot before traveling if you haven’t already. It can take a week to become effective, but it’s not too late in the flu season to protect yourself.

Fourth, if you want to consider travel insurance, consider only “cancel for any reason” plans. These policies typically cost about 40% more than standard policies and typically reimburse about 75% of nonrefundable trip costs if you do cancel, says Megan Moncrief, chief marketing officer for Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison service. That’s a lower payout than other plans, but it’s the only type of travel insurance that will help at this point.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article online here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/smart-travel-planning-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-11582726776?ns=prod/accounts-wsj