My wife and I booked this trip LAST May. We are flying free on Delta Amex miles. We have travel insurance (it includes trip cancellation but not for any reason. So we actually have to get sick there for coverage. But, no problem). As of today it costs $150 pp fee to cancel our flight and get our miles back. All hotels, B&Bs have free cancellation until 48 hours before. The only fin loss is a couple of pre-paid tours (Dublin Hop on bus/public transportation, and Titantic Quest in Belfast about $200+ total. We are 71 yrs old. I'm a diabetic. If you were me, would you cancel, or wait and see ? We are flying into Dublin and out of Shannon, renting a car one way. We know the country well, having been there 7 times, and have family in the 6 Counties, County Derry.
What's the upside of cancelling now if you only need to do so within 48 hours of your trip? I assume the flight cancellation fees will be the same today and in May, unless the airline spares you and cancels the flight preemptively in which case you'd be able to rebook for free.
I agree that with a few months to go and no penalty for waiting you can wait. If the airline cancels your flight you’ll likely avoid the $150 pp penalty. But, seriously, you don’t have a lot of money at stake here. You do have your health and diabetes suppresses your immunity. Today there are 2 confirmed cases in Dublin but if other countries examples hold true this will increase. Make your decision based on what the status of the disease is in a month or 2 but, more importantly, how much risk you want to take with your health. Yes, you could catch this here as well. I’d rather be sick at home than overseas.
I would tread water until I had to make a decision.
I'm 68 with no risk factors other than age. I had intended to spend May-September in Europe (yes, I am aware of the Schengen Zone limitation). As it happens, I don't have anything booked yet. I'm going to continue researching but not buy an airline ticket or book anything on the ground until the situation is clearer. I very much enjoy just being in Europe and walking around the historic districts of the cities and towns I visit, but I also like museums a lot. I don't want to take a trip on which I might have limited access to indoor attractions I want to see, meaning I'd just need to do another trip back to most of the same places. I can use the extra time here at home for more comprehensive trip planning and (potentially) get an early start on a trip for 2021.
I trust it is obvious that I'm not giving medical advice here.
Time is on your side, so why not just wait?
You have a handle on the cost to you for canceling, but what I read on these forums from people who are determined to go because of their sunk costs and "losses" seems like the wrong way to look at this issue.
I agree with waiting until closer to the date and make a decision then. The status seems to change daily on this virus.
As a healthcare provider, I would not make any medical recommendations. But what I will say is to consult your provider for what is best for your particular medical condition. I can understand your concerns. I will be monitoring the rapidly evolving Coronavirus as well due to a couple of upcoming trips.
This is an individual decision for each of us. I plan to hang on till the last minute.
I'm booked on the RS Best of Ireland tour starting in Dublin on May 8 and ending in Belfast on May 21. I'm also booked to spend 3 nights in the 1st hotel in Dublin before the tour starts, and 2 in the last hotel in Belfast after it ends. The last hotel is already paid for. The 1st hotel is not and can be canceled without penalty up to 15:00 on May 4th.
I have the whole trip (except for that 1st hotel) covered by a Travel Guard gold policy, purchased early enough (last November shortly after I made my RS tour deposit) to include the preexisting conditions waiver and with the Medical Expense and Emergency Evacuation Upgrade.
I'm 74 and have 2 very significant health issues. I've been insuring this way for years. It's not cheap and got much pricier as I got older, but it's worth it to me.
I plan to let the RS tour decision be my primary guide as to what to do. If the tour is canceled, I won't go. I'm not sure what I'll do if the tour isn't canceled, but my airlines cancel their flights.
Ask yourself - are you any more at risk on a plane and in Ireland than staying in the USA? If the risk is the same - then, go to Ireland! Plus, you have family to assist you in Ireland - a big advantage! I don't know how well airports can screen passengers for corona virus. I know airports are trying. Flying would be my concern. I have been sick twice as a result of being close to another passenger - not corona virus though.
for Northern ireland advice refer to the UK government website i live in NI and theres no epademic really i think you are freaking out over nothing https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public#number-of-cases
there has only been 1 confirmed case in NI out of a population of 1.9 million people
I agree with the others, don't make a rash decision you may come to regret. It's understandable that you would have concerns, especially with the blanket coverage on the news and social media, but nobody yet knows what the situation will be in a few months from now. Hang in there for another while!
Just a word of warning regarding trip insurance cancellation. If you have never done it, you have to jump thru a lot of hoops to cancel and it can be very time consuming. Due to a medical condition on my wife, I had to cancel two trips last year. The amount of paperwork work I had to fill out surprised me. It was like buying a house and my wife had a very serious medical condition that was not even questioned by the insurance company. On of the policies was a cancel for any reason and I had to have a doctor fill out medical forms and submit them for the doctor to sign. I also had to submit every piece of paperwork and credit card statements for every claim on every hotel and every tour that I booked. It took about a month to gather all the paperwork that they wanted and it had to be submitted before we were to leave. In the fine print of one of the policies, I had to schedule a doctor appointment so many days before I filed the claim. I had called the doctor and he agreed that for my wife to travel was impossible and said so on the phone, but because I actually didn’t see the doctor within so many days if filing the claim and within so many days of departure, they at first denied it. I finally got hold of somebody who was compassionate and knew what we were going thru and bent the rules so I could get paid. Read and reread your policy. Allow enough time to get all credit card receipts for everything you have charged and any correspondence that you have made proving that you have booked exactly what you are expecting to get reimbursed for. It is not as easy as people think who have never filed a claim. It takes a lot of time and energy. They don’t part with their money easily even if it a cancel for any reason. You must still comply with all their requests for information.
Thanks to everyone for their advice re cancellation. Just to clarify as the context of the OP's "If you were me..." question also considers his state of health, please be sure (to all reading along!) that you don't use a forum for personal health-related advice. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider.
I would wait for now and monitor the situation. My personal opinion is that your travel dates are far enough away that you can wait a while and see what happens.
Thanks for all the comments and advice. I was leaning toward waiting until at least early May. As many have said. I have nothing to lose by waiting in the interim I am working proactively on pre-paid stuff that I will certainly lose. We have pre-paid tickets to the Titanic panoramic museum in Belfast. Initially when I asked if I can use them at some later date, they said no later than this 30 June. But, when I complained on their FB page, a Manager sent me an e-mail allowing me to use it a "later date of my choice. Take this to the bank: Whenever you have a problem with ANY goods, service, customer/tech support, write a scathing complaint on the Company FB page. I always do this. 99% it is dealt with within an hour. There are dedicated Management level moderators on FB most of the time who want NO bad publicity. But, I digress. I'll wait and see. Thanks all.