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What would you do...planned trip to Italy 3/18???

So...

Looking for some opinions, advice, facts, etc.

I have a 15 day trip much anticipated first trip scheduled 3/18 for Italy...

Sorrento, Capri, Positano, Amalfi, Rome, Florence, Bologna and Venice.

I have been committed to going despite what's going on, only considering modifying going more North to Florence & Venice.

My main concern is coming back to the US and the chance of delay, quarantine, etc.

What would you do?????

Posted by
964 posts

I would make sure what I planned to see/do is still an option. My concern would be if they close major tourist sites out of an abundance of caution and I had traveled all that way to see it. I am not concerned about being exposed or my chance of coming back, just that my experience may not be what I had planned. The Italian Riviera portion of your trip there is no Major sites to see, mostly beauty, beaches, so I can see that being what you expect, even add in Cinque Terre (not sure about march) to hike the trails? I think your plan to cut out the Florence, Bologna and Venice portion is a good compromise. No one can tell you what to do, but I think it is wise to be concerned based on your health, age and the warnings.

Posted by
5019 posts

considering modifying going more North to Florence & Venice

That would be the opposite of how I would modify plans - the north is where most of the outbreaks have been. I would shift my focus a bit further south. But things are changing, and it's anybody's guess how things might look in a few days.

Personally, I would just follow common-sense recommendations and would not make any radical changes. I'm headed to Paris on Monday, then on to Turkey for 2 weeks and I'm not making any changes to my plans (my biggest concern right now is the weather forecast in Paris, my wife is worried it's going to be rainy on our day there).

I would not be overly concerned about your return to the US. Flights might be tweaked but the airlines aren't going to strand you completely, even if your specific flight is canceled, you can find a way home. As for being re-admitted back to the US or quarantine...as long as you are a US citizen, I would not have any major concerns. There's a lot of Americans in Italy, it's hard for me to imagine being turned away (the US flew people back from Wuhan). Yes, things are evolving but I do not forsee the US shutting its borders to returning citizens who were vacationing in Italy.

Posted by
18 posts

Agree...I meant consider modifying my trip to not go North to Florence, etc.

As of right now my itinerary is:

  • 3 days Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi
  • 4 days Rome
  • 3 days Florence, Bologna
  • 3 days Venice

Where would you all recommend going from Rome other than Florence & Venice?

Posted by
2362 posts

In October of 2019, I went to Rome and Florence. If I were leaving for that trip again today, I would still go. I would not go to Venice-not sure about Bologna. I would definitely still go to Florence.

Posted by
333 posts

We have a trip to southern Italy the latter part of April. We are not in a high risk category (immuno-compromised, etc.). I am keeping an eye on the situation but as of now we plan to go on our trip. As far as Florencce, Bologna and Venice, if it were me, I may plan on sticking more to southern Italy. I too would be concerned about my return to the US and being quarantined.

Posted by
706 posts

Having lived through an earthquake and knowing how the media covered that disaster - what my family saw on the news was nothing like what reality was - sensation sells .... this was posted today from the WHO So far, there have been more than 83,300 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the world and at least 2,858 deaths -- the vast majority in China.

We have friends who live in Bologna who post every day about how they are NOT impacted by the virus.
I wouldn't change a thing... & wash your hands

Posted by
32 posts

I have posted on other threads. My husband in currently in Florence and landed in Milan yesterday morning. Took the train from the airport through Florence. He says things are almost normal. Crowds are down, but people are not fearful etc. He is a licensed pharmacist so does have a medical background.

Anyway, he basically said the picture they are painting in the media is not what is happening. Life has to go on. Wash your hands, don't get too close to people - leave some personal space and of course if your aren't feeling well, stay home.

He will be in Italy through March 24th, I will be joining him, I hope on the 12th. We are even hoping to keep our plans which are in the North but not directly in the quarantine zones.

What would I do? I would (and am) going. But I am factoring in my age, health and most importantly risk tolerance. I also have no high risk factors. I am not trying to downplay this at all, but for most people it is like the flu. I am not sure we can completely avoid it or lock ourselves up for weeks on end. I am going to live life, but pay attention.

Posted by
1510 posts

I can only advise on the trip itself (we all have to decide based on personal health and life disruption risk), and three days is woefully brief for the Amalfi coast. I'd put more time there--good news being with all the other people cancelling it won't be as crowded as usual. Then fly out of Rome.

Posted by
27 posts

I will not cancel my Best of Europe in 21 Days Tour which begins April 14. The financial reason I will not cancel is that I would not get my money back. It is a big chunk of change, and most tours I would want to go on are full during the times I can travel. I trust RST 100% to make the decision to cancel on their end if it becomes necessary. At that point I would get a full refund. I hope the tour is not canceled. It is a long way off. The tour went from "wait list" to "filling fast". Don't know if I believe the filling fast part.

Posted by
2313 posts

Everyone has a different risk tolerance. I am risk averse. We are booked on a RS tour to Tuscany late May with some independent travel to Emilia-Romagna afterward. If this trip were earlier I’d cancel and probably kiss a lot of money goodbye, but that’s me. Right now in a wait and see mode having not paid the final payment (due early April). I look at it this way-I assume I’m going to get this or one of my three traveling companions will. Where do I want to be when that happens? I think it’s going to be as likely you can get this here as in Italy, but we will see how that plays out. We don’t have enough critical care beds in containment units, and Italy sure does not. Having said that I’d rather take my chances here.

Posted by
6141 posts

The tour went from "wait list" to "filling fast". Don't know if I believe the filling fast part.

I cannot find it now, but at one time I think I saw that "filling fast' meant there were 6 or fewer slots open. So it could indicate that one person cancelled. I have noticed that tours that do NOT include Italy seem to have a lot of 'join wait list' postings.

My main concern is coming back to the US and the chance of delay, quarantine, etc.

The situation is such a rapidly changing one, the question of being put in quarantine , either in Italy, or on return to the US makes your question akin to asking 'how high is up'. Your answer ( guess?) is as valid as anyone's. Only you you know your comfort zone/risk tolerance level. If you have the flexibility to avoid the northern areas, that is definitely worth considering

Best of luck!

Posted by
341 posts

Perhaps this is a minority opinion, but honestly, I would not go. There are too many unknowns. To me the money is a small factor in comparison to the chances of getting quarantined in a country where I don't speak the language and don't know anyone - or being unable to get home. Not to mention the chances of getting stuck sitting next to someone on the airplane who had just been in the coronavirus zone.

We have been expecting to take two overseas trips each year, but now I am thinking this year we will just stay home.

Posted by
18 posts

well...so far the majority is go...be diligent and careful and wash your hands.

I truly appreciate the all messages especially from people currently in Italy (or family there).

If I was leaving tomorrow I'd go and depending on what transpires over the next two weeks that's my plan.

I welcome more comments & opinions.

Thanks!

Posted by
71 posts

If you go hope your trip is outstanding after all this worry.. please post afterwards to tell us all how the tour was and any recommendations. It’s so stressful right now for those leaving soon.

Posted by
11680 posts

It is a highly personal decision.

We were scheduled to depart for Italy a few days from now. We have canceled the Italy part and postponed the rest of the trip by a week. We have the luxury of doing that as our flight tickets were bought with miles and could be changed for a small fee. So we have little financial loss. Also, we have another trip to Italy coming up in July.

I won't go into all the reasons, but I will say that the continued rise the number of cases in Italy ( now up to 650) and the appearance of cases all over Europe, has reinforced our choice. The great majority of the cases in Europe involve people who traveled to Italy recently. The case of the German couple who have been diagnosed and have no known ties to Italy remains an anomaly.

We travel for pleasure, and thinking of my state of mind during the trip did not call up images of pleasure. I would be worrying about the person in the next row on the plane who is coughing, and constantly sanitizing my hands after touching surfaces, as well as wondering about the health of the server who is bringing my dinner or my glass of wine, and so on. Too much stress for us.

Posted by
23 posts

@wpayos,I'm flying to Rome on March 9th and have also decided to keep my plans and just go. One thing that makes me feel better is that WHO has rated Italy's health care system as the 2nd best in the world and the US is rated as 37th, so it's not like we're traveling to a developing nation. :-)

Anyways, I'm keeping an eye on things and will cancel if Coronavirus situation changes significantly in Rome, and I don't think it's affected Rome except the catacombs are closed. I will admit I am nervous about the sanitation on airplanes. I suspose I will try to bring lots of sanitation wipes with me. Anyone have any good ideas about keeping as germ free as possible on a plane?

Posted by
23 posts

I asked a similar question in this forum. @wpayos, we are also leaving for Italy 3/18, flying into Milan, heading to Venice, Florence, and Rome. We aren't changing it as of now, but as it gets closer and sights we want to see in Venice aren't open, we'll head directly to Florence.

Have a great time!

Posted by
18 posts

@karlye & @katgbh

Thank you for your input...I think we are all on the same page. Let's keep each other updated as our trips get closer.

To answer your question....I purchased a filtered air mask for the plane as well as lots of hand sanitizer...not sure what else to do but open to all suggestions.

Posted by
98 posts

Our trip isn’t until mid-June so it’s easy for me to say I’m going come hell or high water! UNLESS, I feel there would be a chance of being put in quarantine at some point along the way. That’s the only thing that would give me pause.

Posted by
30 posts

Following this thread... My husband, two kids (ages 9 and 12), and I have plans to visit Rome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast in mid June before heading to Paris and London. Everything is up in the air now so we're just monitoring the situation. I have my heart on going and hope things are resolved by then, but who knows? Those who are traveling in the near future, keep us posted. I hope the situation is much better in person than on the news. Thanks!

Posted by
26 posts

We are a family of four, kids ages 8 and 10, flying into Venice April 15th. We are planning on spending two nights in Venice, four nights in Rome and then a week on the Amalfi Coast flying home out of Naples. So much is up in the air right now but we are still hoping to take our trip. We have considered not going to Venice but we are using all of our airline miles through United to fly into Venice so we would hate to get there and have to take a trip by train to Rome after all that air travel. My husband is a type 1 diabetic and isn't overly concerned about the situation but I do have some concerns if we would get quarantined and he would run out of insulin. Praying things change for the better soon.

Posted by
122 posts

You asked for opinions, here is mine: I would not go, for all the reasons you posted. Follow your gut on this one...

Posted by
122 posts

Rick Steves is on top of it: Italy tours that commence the first half of March have been canceled, just updated on the Coronavirus FAQ...

Posted by
11680 posts

Well, I guess we made the right call.

One factor I did not mention is that my husband is a physician, and has been talking to friends and colleagues in the areas of epidemiology and public health. Their expertise and opinions were factors in our decision.

Posted by
18 posts

Well...with a heavy heart, I think it’s time to call it...bottom line...why risk it.

So...gotta go somewhere...thinking D.R.

Posted by
23 posts

@wpayos, I know how you feel. I think I'm going to call off my trip to Rome. I was really looking forward to it; it would have been my first visit.

Posted by
1036 posts

I think you made the right decision. There are too many unknowns right now. If the trip was later in the summer, your decision would be a lot easier. If you were in the United States during an outbreak, you would probably go to the grocery store and stock up on extra food. Traveling in foreign country would make stocking up on extra food very difficult and you would have eat out for most of your meals. From what I have seen where the outbreak is bad, eating out is not an option.

Posted by
935 posts

At this time, I think I would go. Cases are still low. It’s not yet like China. My only fear would be stuck there and not being able to get home due to a quarantine situation.

Posted by
350 posts

I think you made the right call. Not sure your age but the fatality rate for those in the 60 to 69 age range is 3.6%. Not good enough odds for me. It’s so highly contagious, why take the chance.

Posted by
114 posts

We were supposed to leave for Italy March 17 staying until April 8, with visits of a little over a week each in Florence, Rome and Sorrento.
We are cancelling, not so much in fear of the virus, but as someone else said, the possibility of a long quarantine period. Or the inability to fly home as scheduled.
So far, the hotel in Florence let us cancel without penalty. The hotel in Rome basically said we would get a 40% credit if we rebooked before April 22. Haven’t heard from Sorrento yet.
Walks of Italy was quick and easy to cancel with. We had a refund email within 10 minutes.
Unfortunately, our Trenatalia tickets were not refundable.
Sad to say, but at this point, we won’t reschedule because we have already lost too much money and can’t afford to pay for hotels and transportation again.
We have learned the hard way that bargain airfare and train passes aren’t such a bargain in situations like this.

Posted by
30 posts

My sister and brother-in-law were meant to go to Rome March 11 but will cancel, in part because he has mild COPD (respiratory condition). I think what is noteworthy on the CDC recommendation is the concern that accessing medical care there, if needed, may become more problematic because of the burden this outbreak may place on its system with their own citizens needing care. The other factor is how much the status of this virus is changing each day; there may be few cases in a location this week and many more next week...it is still very much evolving.

Posted by
21 posts

I just cancelled my trip to Rome/Florence/Venice. I was supposed to go 3/8. I didn't make the final decision until the US CDC raised travel alerts to Italy to levels 3 and 4. At that point the decision was made for me :(. Also, airlines are beginning, sadly, to cancel flights to Italy. I would cancel. My main concern hasn't been getting the virus. Mine has been the same concern as yours, which is travel disruption etc. That is beginning to happen. This was my first much anticipated trip to Italy as well, but I want to go when it doesn't have this air of doom and gloom hanging over it.

Posted by
5 posts

We have a trip planned for March 23 - April 5. Fly into Milan for one day and then on to Cinque Terre, Florence, Siena, and Rome. We are going unless the U.S. issues an outright travel ban to Italy. Unless you are in the risk pool for any influenza, this virus is no different. Follow universal precautions.

Posted by
23 posts

This is definitely a case by case decision. This is just me and how I'm currently assesing things, but I'm starting to follow other countries travel guidelines, which seems to be geared towards regions rather than entire countries. Northern Italy is closer to parts of Switzerland and France than Rome. So for now, I'm still planning on going to Rome on March 9th. Unfortunately Coronavirus is showing up in California, my state off residence. I don't believe we have adequate testing available to the public at the moment in most of the US. Hopefully that will change.

The local hospitals near me always seem to be at capacity as it is, so I shudder to think about how it will be if there's a severe outbreak near me.

Posted by
32 posts

My husband is still in Florence and I was supposed to fly to Milan to join him from March 12th-24th. He says things are relatively normal and that Italians are saying it is bad in the quarantine zones but others are trying their best to remain somewhat normal. (He speaks the language is has citizenship too). My mom was born in the Veneto and we FaceTimed relatives today and again their towns are trying to be as normal as possible, but another week of school closing and work stoppage will have an impact. My cousin who lives and works in Milan says crowds are definitely way down as people stay home.

Our original plan was to stay north basically Alba, Bolzano and outside of Trieste and I guess I could consider flying to Rome and head somewhere South. My issue is that we go to Italy frequently ,and I do not want to force a trip now just to go. I am not worried about getting sick at all. i am worried about getting home due to lack of available flights and the potential of even having to quarantine at home. It isn't that I am going to lose my job or anything, they would let me work from home. However, I have some work responsibilities when I return that are much more effective in person.

As hard as it is, I just need to sit tight I guess and see what unfolds in the next few days. It is hard to believe that is was only last Friday night when Italy reported its first hint of a problem. My how things have escalated. Who knows what we will be saying by next weekend?

Posted by
23 posts

It's crazy how this has all changed travel to Italy within one week! If I change my Rome trip that commences on March 9th to say, Paris, I'm worried that might become the next hot spot. I also worry about stigma associated with being someone that has traveled to Italy recently. It will be interesting to see this unfolds.

I can only imagine how devastating this is to the travel industry in Italy.

Posted by
5019 posts

It's crazy how this has all changed travel to Italy within one week!

I think the pace that things are changing is only going to accelerate. In the USA, there has been nearly zero testing done until the last 24 hours. Now, suddenly (it would seem), there are cases popping up everywhere - because more widespread testing has begun. I suspect that in fact, infected people have been in the community for a while, it's only now that we have a tool to start discovering that, and we have been blind to the spread of the virus up until yesterday. Which means that it has been spread undetected for...who knows how long.

Locally, where I live, there has been the "discovery" in the past 24 hours of a half-dozen cases, one death, and another 50+ people who have definitely been exposed and are reporting symptoms - and only now they are now being tested. We'll see, but there's a good chance that there will be another 50+ cases documented here in the next 24 hours. The numbers are only going to go up.

I don't know to what extent (of any) the same "blindness" (due to lack of testing) has been evident elsewhere. But it seems clear (to me at least) that places that have not yet "discovered" infected individuals may have been enjoying a false sense of security, if they were not testing aggressively. We will see.

Posted by
242 posts

The CDC website cautions Americans who choose to travel to Italy that they must make return plans that do not count on US governments' help. I also noted that MSC, an Italian cruise and shipping company, is not allowing people who have been to Italy in the last two weeks to board their ships in Miami. This supposedly started yesterday (March 29) when 300 Italians were denied boarding on the MSC Seaside. This restriction was stated on their website and probably caught the Italians by surprise. That is interesting since many of their higher level crew staff comes from Italy.

Posted by
211 posts

Personally, not sure I would go . We have 16 days in the UK planned for May and we have 90% decided to cancel. Although our area of travel has not blown up with cases, it is just a matter of time. We are waiting to see if there are travel restrictions which may help us get a voucher back for the flight idk. I completely agree with David the lack of testing in the U.S has rendered us feeling safe since our cases here report low. However, the travel into the US from all of these other countries have continued for the last few months which means cases most likely widespread. I believe I am a healthy person but in the event I get sick on our trip, I question what type of healthcare I will be provided. The Italian media reported difficulties keeping up with hospital rooms and staff to care for their citizens. Also, the quarantine is worrisome; would you be able to make it here or get stuck elsewhere. Not to mention if you go on the trip and within 24 hours trains, planes, and towns shut down. One can not predict their bodies response to this new virus and I would prefer having healthcare insurance and the comfort of my own home in the event this occurs. There are so many unknowns at this time. Just watching the reaction from other countries does make it a little chaotic. I work in healthcare and we are anxious and anticipating the mess. We are extremely worried about ourselves as the facility is in some kind of trans that this is occurring. Since we are in an outpatient setting we are not even equip with enough PPE to protect the staff.....

Posted by
160 posts

I wonder if other countries will start to ban flights from the US? If the same pattern is followed i.e to issue level 3 (or higher) for an entire country as opposed to the Canadian government's more selective regional warning. Like some others I am more concerned about government mandates rather than the disease itself. Just a matter of perspective here in North Carolina we have had 115 deaths in the current flu season.

Posted by
8 posts

I can tell you what I am doing. I'm throwing in the towel. It's been feeling like a tussle on a daily basis. I have also been very committed to going, and I'm no chicken, but I'm changing my plans. Like you, I'm worried about the prospect of running into trouble re-entering the US. That ended it for us.
We leave March 16th flying into Heathrow, fortunately. Had planned a month of trains around Italy with a long stay in Rome. This trip's been a year in the planning. So, sad not to be going. Now, we'll see if there's any room left for us in the UK.
Best to you - whatever you decide to do and to the rest of you marvelous intrepid travelers!

Posted by
44 posts

No one can make this decision but you. However, I would suggest that once you decide, just accept it and don't second guess yourself. The situation is changing quickly and we'll never know how all of the various scenarios will play out. Go with your gut, don't look back and start planning your next trip. Good luck.

Posted by
18 posts

I agree with you both.

I’m going to Colombia instead...Bogota, Cartagena & Medellín.

Yes cancelling Italy was extremely disappointing, but I’ll go next year (already got the plans lol).
Very excited about South America!

Good luck!

Posted by
329 posts

If my trip was that soon, I'd probably cancel, delay, or modify, mainly because my government is warning against non-essential travel to Northern Italy. That would affect my travel insurance.

I'm going in early May, and I'm prepared to cancel or modify if I have to (hoping it will calm down by then, though).