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Advice on Italy Travel in 2 weeks!

Hello, my Husband and I are supposed to land in Rome March 16 then train to Venice for 4 nights, then rain to Florence for 4 nights, then train to Rome for 7 nights. Then fly back to USA.

All our hotels, train passes, museum cards, have been purchased already. We are in our early thirties and in normal health.

Any suggestions on whether or not to cancel? Or move destinations in Italy elsewhere?? We bought non refundable everything (for cheapest prices) and don’t want to loose $3,000 plus... but we don’t want to be stubborn dumb tourists putting ourselves at risk either...

Advice appreciated!!
Thank you
Elizabeth

Ps we are VERY aware of what CDC says! We don’t need links to CDC page as we check it like every few hours!!

Posted by
1105 posts

I expect you know that no one can give you much of an answer. My opinion is that you could do it, but the experience will not be what you expect psychologically or touristically. I have read reports regarding the course of an epidemic and this one seems in line with the models, and thus 2 weeks from now the decision will be even more fraught. If you follow the posts here and on the RS Transportation Forum, you'll find tips and anecdotes about refunds and credits others have obtained.

Posted by
433 posts

I think staying south or in Rome, would be safer.

“ Level 4 - Do Not Travel to:

· Lombardy and Veneto”

Time to invent a Plan B!

Enjoy the planning and the trip!

Posted by
18 posts

With the current escalation in italy, chances are the flights are going to get canceled anyway. United and American have already made announcements this morning and last night for some flights into the USA. There is a chance you could get free waivers to postpone the flights anyway. If you go, I would be prepared for not being able to return for a bit.

Posted by
34 posts

Mike and brad are spot on.

The problem now is that it’s a social disaster. So while you may get over there, museums may be closed, events may be cancelled, etc., etc. Heck they closed the Louvre today and they’re not sure when it’s going to open. Expect similar situations in Italy and elsewhere.

I would be devastated to cancel a long planned trip to Italy. I know the effort and money it takes. But, given the current uncertainty in Italy I personally would be cancelling my trip.

Posted by
69 posts

I think you should go if you feel comfortable going. I leave for Rome in less than 2 weeks and have been following Italian media. You're more likely to get the flu than coronavirus, either here or in Italy. Getting the flu in your 30s seems to be as bad, if not worse, than getting coronavirus. Nobody is reconsidering their trip to Italy, or anywhere else, because they might get the flu. Go on Instagram and look at the most recent photos geotagged at the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, etc. People are still out and about, most not wearing masks (there's no reason to wear a mask if you are not sick). Outside of the red zone, things seem to be carrying on as usual, albeit with thinner crowds (not a bad thing!) and more awareness about health precautions.

I'd personally reconsider Venice, if anything, but if you really want to go or would lose a lot of money if you rearranged, you should go.

Also, the CDC alert seems to be a function of the CDC's inability/refusal to differentiate between regions of Italy. The Canadian equivalent to the CDC tells travelers to reconsider travel to the Veneto and Lombardia, but to "exercise normal precautions" for the rest of the country. Sounds much more reasonable to me.

I'm not even considering not going unless Lufthansa refuses to take me or unless there is a significant outbreak in Rome.

Posted by
5487 posts

My decision on traveling to Italy, especially Northern Italy (e.g. Milan and surrounding regions) included my assessment of potential consequence and probability of that happening.

Worst case consequence was the possibility of contracting the COVID-19, being hospitalized in a foreign country and even dying. The likelihood of that is small, very small, but I am of the older demographic. If I had a heart condition, was diabetic and had high blood pressure etc, the risk would be higher. Severe outcome but very low risk.

The less serious consequence would be getting locked in to some town or area by authorities to contain the outbreak, getting quarantined in Italy with the financial cost of room and board, and possibility of a second quarantine back in the States. That probability is unknown but not high. But ask the passengers on the cruise ship in Japan. Moderate outcome and low risk.

The minor impact consequence are closed attractions, canceled events and limited hours on restaurants etc. as Italian authorities are trying to contain the COVID-19. Minimal impact, more of an inconvenience, but a high probability (100% in the case of some Milan attractions). Minor inconvenience with high probability.

With the above in mind, and our event being canceled, we canceled and are trying to recover financially what we can. But to each their own in terms of their assessment of risk and the importance of conferences. Each person is free to make up their own mind until an airline or government authority makes the decision for them.

Posted by
1036 posts

If you are prepared to undergo what the passengers went thru on the cruise ship and are still going thru, your trip must be very important to you. If you have watched any of the coverage from Italy, you will see hospitals in the affected areas in Italy are filled to capacity. As panic sets in, museums will close. Food supplies will become more scarce. Italy will be there next year. March 16 is just around the corner and there is no way it is going to get any better by then. I may be in the minority, but I think you are making a big mistake at this point in time. I don’t need to touch a fire to know that I will get burned. Is it really worth the stress that you will be under while you are there. If it were a couple of months later, you could make a more informed decision. Right now, you can’t. You don’t know what it will be like. You don’t know even if you will be allowed back in the United States without being quarantined. Is it really worth it when you could go next year? Sorry, but I think someone needs to tell the other side of the story.

Posted by
69 posts

So the worst plausible scenario is you are quarantined for two weeks when you get back. As long as your employer will let you work from home/you can manage two weeks of leave without pay, it's not the end of the world. Better than losing a $3000 investment and a chance to have a wonderful time.

Of course museums could close if the outbreak worsens. But it's irresponsible to say that they "will" close as panic sets in. The duomo has reopened in Milan, which is much closer to epicenter. Food supplies are fine. In Rome and Florence, bars and restaurants are open, people are out and about.

People shouldn't be pressured to cancel their trip because of a worse case scenario. We all take a risk every morning when we turn on our car and drive on the highway. Who knows what the situation will be in the US once they start performing more tests? We already have community spread; we just don't know to what extent because unlike the Italian government, our government has performed almost no tests.

Posted by
1036 posts

I posted this on another posting this morning. I think it is worth looking at. Notice the increase in just 24 hours. Does anyone expect it to go down by March 16?

CNN just posted this. Not good news for Italy.
(CNN)Italy reported a 50% increase in coronavirus cases Sunday, as the US further restricted travel and the famed La Scala opera house closed.
Italy's Civil Protection Authority reported the county now has 1,694 confirmed coronavirus cases, up from 1,128 confirmed cases on Saturday. Thirty-four people have died.
Italy has the most coronavirus cases of any country outside of Asia.

Posted by
372 posts

Our travel plans see us in Puglia starting around mid April, with Greece for the first half of that month. At this point we are ok with being in both countries in about a months time, assuming things don really blow up, but feel there are higher risks in Vancouver, Frankfurt, Munich, Athens and Bari airports with tens of thousands of others, and then with multiple hundreds of others on our various flights. We have two or three weeks to make a decision to go or cancel.

Posted by
69 posts

Here's a headline that preceded this panic by a couple weeks: https://www.thelocal.it/20200123/flu-outbreak-in-italy-half-a-million-people-struck-down-in-a-week

Where was all the alarm and panic then? Anyone going to the vast, vast majority of Italy that is largely unscathed by coronavirus has a much greater chance of getting flu, which is as bad if not worse for those who aren't elderly/infirm.

Coronavirus is a problem in the aggregate. If not contained, it will be another (possibly seasonal) virus that will be a minor affliction for millions, and worse for a small unlucky percentage. That's why it's important to try to contain it, an effort that has apparently largely failed. Epidemiologists are saying that its spread is inevitable. But again, for a healthy person in their 30s, the risk is minute, both of contracting it in Italy, and of developing serious complications from it.

This panic is destroying people's livelihoods, pushing our country to the brink of recession, and disrupting lives of millions.

Posted by
56 posts

I'm thinking that the increase in cases is due to better reporting and testing. There is a second death in Washington state. Some feel there are indications that the virus has been kicking around Washington for six weeks or so. That timing would coincide with ramping cases in China. There a good chance many of us have been exposed.

I'm sure people will make the decision that works best for them and it won't be an easy one. Good luck to all.

Posted by
1036 posts

So Daniel, you would go to Italy in two weeks, spend 4 nights in an area of Italy that is under a level 4 alert, relax and have the vacation of your life? Then you would get on an airplane and fly back to the United States with people who may also have been to the area that is under a level 4 alert in a confined space of an airplane? And if you were able to fly home, you would be willing to risk the possibility of two weeks being quarantined all for a vacation? That assumes your flight hasn’t been cancelled while in Italy. That does not sound like a vacation that I would enjoy and yes I have been to Italy twice for a total of 26 days and love Italy. I know the chances of dying from this virus is very small, but in two weeks I would expect the situation to worsen and not get better. There are risks in life that we all take. I was on an airplane that had a fire on two engines over the middle of the Atlantic. I still fly because I know and understand what my risks are flying. We won’t know what the risks are in Italy in two weeks. In the next two weeks, based on what is happening now and in the very recent past, I don’t think it is a risk worth taking. Maybe in a month we will know more, but not in two weeks.

Posted by
69 posts

As I said before, I'd personally avoid Venice. But beyond that, yes, I would go. I leave for Rome in 1.5 weeks. The only real threat you've outlined is being quarantined. It's not the end of the world to spend two weeks inside. If your employer gives you paid leave or lets you work from home, could even be a blessing in disguise.

Almost nobody thinks the virus can be contained. The sooner people accept that and realize that we are all better off treating it as an unfortunate fact of life, the better.

Just as nobody bats an eye about going to Italy when there are millions of flu cases, nobody will bat an eye next year when COVID-19 is still floating around.

And just for perspective, here's what the Canadian government says as of today regarding Italy (aside from the northern regions), which interestingly, is the same advisory they provide for the US:

Exercise normal security precautions
There are no significant safety and security concerns. The overall safety and security situation is similar to that of Canada. You should take normal security precautions.

Posted by
934 posts

Having a flu vaccine helps mitigate the effect of influenza for some if contracted and if the vaccine covers the circulating strains. No one knows if any of us has any immunity from other coronavirus infections we may have had in the past. The young really suffered when H1N1 made its debut.

Posted by
32 posts

One can only wonder the increase in flu cases mentioned several weeks ago in Italy in the post above was really Coronavirus?

Symptoms are very much the same, and maybe people get nothing worse than minor flu symptoms. Seems like it could be a distinct possibility given that the virus had been circulating for quite some time before travel to the original areas in China was cut off.

Posted by
2 posts

We are going to be in Venice for 2 nights on March 16-17. We're still going. A local has been giving us updates from Venice for the last week. Most of the cases in Veneto are in some small town he said no one goes to. The only additional cases in the last several days in Venice were doctors working in the hospitals where they are treating people.
They have actually reopened all the museums today that have been closed for the last week.
I wouldn't travel to the Lombardy region, but I think Venice is the same as Florence and Rome, which we will visit also.
At least there won't be any crowds. ¯_(ツ)_/¯