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Posted by
6061 posts

I realize he stayed narrowly in his "travel writer/ consumer advocate" lane, but what's most obvious isn't mentioned. Each of us needs to be comfortable in knowing that we are not at risk of either spreading or catching the virus. Only scientific breakthroughs TBD (vaccine, antibody test, etc) can bring us that level of psychological comfort (and I expect that each person will have a different level of risk they're willing to tolerate; I doubt there will be such a thing as 100% certainty). Right now we don't have any trustworthy tool to discriminate between "safe" and "unsafe" because few people know whether they are asymptomatic carriers. I won't be looking to the travel industry for the signal as to when it's fine to travel again - it would be like asking a hair dresser if you need a haircut.

Having said that, the writeup is still useful because it offers a solid framework to thinking about the future, albeit with a big gap. Thank you for sharing! The listing of the pitfalls is particularly helpful because I can see many people tempted to cut corners.

Posted by
5017 posts

I won't be looking to the travel industry for the signal as to when it's fine to travel again - it would be like asking a hair dresser if you need a haircut.

Bingo.

Beware of any advice from a source that has a vested interest in spinning things towards their stated or hidden agenda. Lots of that going around.

Posted by
2213 posts

Pretty much the same topic as the How soon will you travel thread, and the answer is when (it is) safe to travel again....

Vaccine plus time = 2 years.

Posted by
1869 posts

Well Agnes you took the words right out of my mouth! “The listing of the pitfalls is particularly
helpful because I can see many people tempted to cut corners.” I see this as one of the most common defense mechanisms- Denial. For example, when we see the curve flatten people may become complacent and ignore the current scientific information.

When is it safe to travel again?
As Dr. Fauci says, “Only the Virus Knows"

Posted by
13 posts

TRUST ME ON THIS ONE! Its a whole new ball-game folks. This is only the tip of the iceberg. It's going to be a loooonnnngggg summer so be prepared for it. I'm not a pessimist but a realist. so IF you think travel will be 'business as usual' think again....

Posted by
1400 posts

My husband and I agree. He has been speaking with his relatives in Croatia everyday Since the quarantine began. We were going to go in September for 2 months but luckily we hadn’t booked our tickets. From their conversations he thinks we will not be going.

Posted by
5017 posts

From what I've seen, it is a serious mistake (though understandable) to think of this as a one-off event, confined to the current wave of troubles, and thinking/hoping that once we get past the initial spike (not even barely on the downside of the curve yet), then we will be out of the woods. Just one example: I've seen reports that in Hong Kong, a place that appears to have done very well (compared to us) in managing and containing this winter's outbreak, they are already seeing signs of an emerging "second wave" which might actually be worse than the first. It's too early to know, but it looks concerning.

There is just so much we do not know about this virus, it seems foolish to me to expect that everything will go as well as it possibly can going forward, as soon as we come off the worst of the first peak. Time will tell, but I do not see anything that suggests we will all be back to traipsing around the world in just a few months. I hope I'm ultimately proved to be way short on optimism, but other than just wishful thinking, I see no reason to conclude that. We will see.

Posted by
8490 posts

interesting.....every response so far has been complete speculation and believed as gospel truth. It's sort of like so much bad information on the internet based on speculation and personal beliefs.

In regards to the virus, I take in and only believe information from the CDC and the WHO...and Dr. Fauci. When they all say it is safe to travel.......I will travel. I would rather believe the experts than someone claiming something they heard on the internet.

YMMV.

Posted by
6061 posts

In regards to the virus, I take in and only believe information from
the CDC and the WHO...and Dr. Fauci. When they all say it is safe to
travel.......I will travel. I would rather believe the experts than
someone claiming something they heard on the internet.

But you just posted a non-scientific article off the internet claiming it "may have the answer". This is rather comical.

Since you are a professional nomad, your risk tolerance for travel will be different than most posters - more bullish. I don't personally "need" to travel in any timeframe, it's a totally discretionary decision.

Posted by
8490 posts

But you just posted a non-scientific article off the internet claiming it "may have the answer". This is rather comical.

Read the article....here's how it starts:

When is it safe to book a trip again?
Here are three things that must happen before travelers return to the sky, sea and hotels:

The State Department must lift its Level 4 travel advisory. On March 19, the government issued a warning to avoid all international travel because of the pandemic. It will have to rescind the warning for travelers to feel comfortable booking any kind of trip again.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has to give the "all clear." The CDC normally doesn't issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States. But it did for coronavirus. Once that advisory is lifted, travelers can resume planning their summer vacations.

The World Health Organization needs to give a thumbs-up to travel. The meaning of the WHO's highly technical warnings are clear: Stay home. Monitor its website for a change. When you see the WHO's easing up, it may be time to plan your next trip.

It's not enough for just one of these entities to rescind its warnings. To be safe, wait for all three to do it.

If you're a nervous traveler, look for the Canadian and British governments to chime in, too. If everyone is in agreement, you can probably start to feel comfortable about traveling again.

(The copyright of this article is either Christopher Elliott or USA Today and this posting is for informational purposes only. )

Perhaps my risk tolerance is slightly higher than some who don't care if they travel or not. But the article does not give a timeline or make speculations the way most people are doing on this board.He merely says these things have to happen before we consider traveling again.

Did you notice the author of the article didn't say to listen to the posters on the Rick Steves travel forum?

Posted by
6061 posts

I have to be honest. I've never paid very close attention to State Department, CDC, or WHO guidelines when traveling anywhere (they are only advisories; I think people assume they are mandatory). I've been to Turkey multiple times when the State Department probably cautioned it. Same with Mexico. Whether or not schools are open is immaterial to me, same with whether a travel agent would book the trip or if I could get insurance for it (I don't use travel agents or travel insurance - although I believe that travel insurance is a decent proxy for certain types of risk). Still, I liked that the article laid out some coherent ideas that many people could use as a "rule of thumb" type of checklist.

My point was that none of those factors in the article would be my (underline: my) top reason for feeling "safe". I would feel "safe" if I had a handle on the contagion factor (for me and others I would likely interface with), which only science and testing can answer - and who knows when. Let the scientific evidence base lead the way...

Posted by
2903 posts

Feeling a bit sad. It seems that civility seems to be a casualty of this pandemic as well.

Dear travel forum “friends”, let’s see if we can encourage each other during this time.

Posted by
1094 posts

For perspective, the CDC reports that for the 2019-2020 seasonal influenza season to date, over 24,000 deaths in the US and 162 pediatric deaths, with 7 of those pediatric deaths last week. No doubt COVID-19 can be deadly, especially to those with other health challenges. I still view the hysteria with some skepticism although I'm taking the advice from the medical experts very seriously. No one ever mentions the deaths from the annual seasonal flu which, so far at least, dwarfs the deaths from COVID-19. I will likely travel by late summer if the epidemic runs its course by then. Let's all stay safe and hope for the best, and keep those travel dreams alive.

Posted by
10681 posts

George, you make sense to me, but my opinion on such matters is as valuable as anyone else's here. My hope is that you are correct and I'm an optimist so I plan my life accordingly. For me at least, better than the alternative.

Posted by
16591 posts

As has been pointed out elsewhere, the flu deaths are for the entire season. The US's COVID-19 deaths have occurred just since mid-March. As we are currently seeing, this new virus for which we have no vaccine spreads like wildfire. In addition, I'm reading comments from some areas (I assume the issue's primarily in the hardest-hit ones) about failure to test many people who die at home, so I fear the current fatality count may significantly understate the reality.

At my age (68) I don't know how much longer I'll be able to travel overseas. Losing, potentially, two summers of travel time is a sad situation for me, but I'm trying to be realistic about the medical issues.

Posted by
1137 posts

acraven, I agree that the fatalities are undercounted. Even so, that doesn't change the fact that this is a novel virus for which there is no vaccine or treatment. We also don't know if people develop an immunity, how long the immunity would last, or even if the virus is changing its behavior as it spreads as we are now hearing of various other symptoms.

We are in our middle 70s and also agree that losing 18 to 24 months of travel plans is sad, even depressing, which is hard for me to admit when people are dying. It feels selfish and carries a bit of guilt.

Nonetheless, I continue to dream of future trips. For those of us who love to travel, experience other countries, and explore, that will have to satisfy us for the time being.

Posted by
10681 posts

for which there is no .... treatment. We also don't know if people
develop an immunity,

Not entirely true. Another reason to go to the CDC and WHO where the facts are presented without [much] bias.

EDIT

Treatment: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/therapeutic-options.html and https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/who-launches-global-megatrial-four-most-promising-coronavirus-treatments
and while both of these are in "trials" to confirm the degree of efficacy, they are also being used commonly. I have an associate who became sick with COVID and one of the drugs mentioned was used. My friend spent 4 days in the hospital before being released. Did the drug work? Or maybe he self-recovered? Thats what the trials will determine. But there are treatment plans, they are being routinely implemented, and the general feeling is that they do work; only the degree to which they work is in question. Again, time will tell.

As for immunity. That one I will give you, but only because I cant find the information on the CDC or WHO, the only two sources I trust. There appears to be some immunity once you get it, but reliable information is too sketchy to believe one way or another.

Posted by
6061 posts

No one ever mentions the deaths from the annual seasonal flu which, so
far at least, dwarfs the deaths from COVID-19.

No one? Just about every skeptic has compared this to the flu. That's the main arrow in their quiver. But they can't seem to get beyond the total deaths as a point of comparison, as if total deaths is the only distinguishing variable. Do a thought experiment. Think about why the seasonal flu this year (or in prior years) hasn't caused this massive scramble for supplies, field hospitals to be set up in major hotspots, the federal government to get heavily involved, strict mitigation measures like social distancing to be implemented, etc.

Posted by
331 posts

I don’t know why folks keep trying to compare this to the seasonal flu.
This is nothing like that and if the death count doesn’t hit 100k+ in the US it will solely be because we tanked the economy and stayed home.
During a regular flu season one of the largest hospitals in Michigan does not get so full that it has to basically send folks home to either live or die on thier own.
We have a few places in the US such as New York and South East Michigan that are basically hitting max number the hospitals are able to take and once we cross that line things are going to get much much worse.
The State if Michigan is turning the two largest convention centers in the state into emergency hospitals. But without ventilators it is not going to help much. Frankly we are not much better off then we were in The “Spanish flu” from about 100 years ago. We can’t stop it, it can’t cure it and we can’t treat it. But today we have ventilators to keep people breathing and we can treat the pneumonia. Problem is we have very few ventilators and one those run out we are like to see the death rate increase by a factor of 5 or so.
So let’s drop this tendency to look at the overall numbers. The flu numbers are for a full year with most if them in say a 4 to 6 months time span so far we are over 13k in and for the majority of those deaths were in just 1 month. And before we ran out of ventilators. And the numbers are still climbing like a rocket and that is with the drastic steps we have taken to slow it down. Want to guess where we would be if we hadn’t taken steps?
And keep in mind that half those numbers are basically from New Your and about 8k are from New Your New Jersey and Michigan, if the rest of the states hit anything like those numbers watch out.

Posted by
10681 posts

And before we ran out of ventilators.

Didnt know we had? Our governor just did a press conference and cited the number of available (not yet dedicated to a patient) ventilators and free hospital beds and no where did zero come up.

A few days ago NYC still had ventilators available, but was panicked that they would run out, so I believe more were shipped to them. But I guess that's one I should read up on in case I misunderstood.

EDIT

Looks like NYC hasn't run out "yet", but sort of dicey looking: http://thejewishvoice.com/2020/04/cuomo-deblasio-nyc-has-enough-ventilators-for-coming-days-of-virus-peak/

I bet they wished they had followed their pandemic action plan 10 years ago, then they would have had another 9 or 10 thousand ventilators on hand. But hindsight is always 20/20. This will be a very good test of our supply chain and production capacity. Will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Posted by
10681 posts

During a regular flu season one of the largest hospitals in Michigan
does not get so full that it has to basically send folks home to
either live or die on thier own.

I looked at national, regional and Michigan news sources and couldn't find any statement that any hospital was sending folks home to live or die on their own. May be happening, but if so, not well reported and I suspect if true it would be in all the news outlets. Did find where the hospitals were sending patients to other hospitals to balance the load and did read where there was a lot of concern about handling the number if they continue to grow at the current rate and no other facilities are set up as they have been in NYC.

Posted by
6 posts

Last year I booked the Eastern Europe tour for June 14, 2020. I am keeping my fingers crossed that is doesn’t get cancelled. Most likely, I will know my fate on Monday, April 13. If the tour goes, I will go just like RS has stated. Will it be safe, I don’t know, but I will be cautious even if I have to wear a face shield, among other things.

We can’t remain locked up forever and it is just a matter of time before I am called to go in and work (lucky to be working from home as a software engineer).

I am also hoping that this is seasonal and begins to dissipate beginning in May, like the 2003 SARS (coronavirus family).

Posted by
4857 posts

The three conditions that Frank II identified earlier are what count to determine when future travel is possible. But what is also implicit is not just whether the US says its OK, but when the other countries decide they are ready and willing. Thats not our call and depends on a lot of things that are not yet known.

Posted by
10681 posts

Exactly, for me it's when:

  1. There is a flight
  2. The country I want to visit will let me in with out any quarantine restrictions
  3. There is a flight home
  4. The US will let me in without any quarantine restrictions.
  5. Most important, when the trip is in my comfort zone.

I am just assuming 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be in accordance with the CDC and WHO; 5 definitely will be.