Traveling in the Midst of the 2020 Corona Virus Pandemic

young woman traveling with surgical mask during corona virus pandemic

We are in the midst of the 2020 Corona Virus pandemic as I write this.  Just about everyone around the entire globe is being told by government and healthcare officials to stay and home in an effort to help slow down the spread of this dangerous virus. 

While I love to travel, this virus spread has certainly curtailed my trips.  Already I have cancelled several planned outings.  However, it is plain to see that not everyone is following the stay at home advice.  Maybe you can see that on social media, as I can, when friends, loved ones or others post current pictures from airplanes or hotels as they continue to ignore the warnings.  Maybe you even know someone who is still planning on going on their trip next week.  How do we convince them to stay at home?

Why travel now is so dangerous during the pandemic

Those still traveling, or planning to travel, just might not still comprehend the seriousness of the situation.  If that’s the case, they must be living in somewhat of a fantasy world.  Already there have been over 1,600,000 confirmed COVID 19 infections and over 100,000 deaths around the globe and the numbers continue to climb.  However, I still know some people who do not believe that the virus is a problem where they live or in the place they are planning to visit even though we are in the midst of this corona virus pandemic.

According to the experts everybody should operate under the assumption that the virus is in their community even reports are not yet so indicating.  No one really knows who is infected and who is not. 

The elderly and those with predisposed health conditions certainly should not be traveling at this time.  Everyone else should restrict their travel unless it is absolutely necessary.  Each traveler is at risk for spreading the virus and everyone should avoid “unnecessary” travel.  Already many cities, states and even our federal officials are asking, and some are declaring, that all discretionary travel be avoided.  Some even go so far to say it is prohibited.  And all international travel should be avoided at the present time.

But what is “unnecessary” travel?

While nonessential travel is the mantra of the day, the definition of the term is a bit subjective.  Some edicts attempt to define it.  However, because the concept is so subjective, the meaning has different interpretations.  What is essential varies by person.  Is it work?  What kind of work?  Is it family related?  Health related?  Is it activity related? 

So many of these interpretations depend on the context.  It really comes down to personal responsibility.  Is your friend’s travel really necessary?  Is your loved one’s travel really necessary?  Ask them.  Remind them that regardless of their interpretation and reasoning, any traveling at this time is a bad idea.  Yep, we are at the point where everyone needs to do their part in stopping the transmission of this virus. 

What are the risks of corona virus for travelers?

There are many risks involved in travel at this time.  Maybe the potential of become infected is not enough to keep your loved ones at home.  However, lockdowns are now becoming so common that you might find yourself trapped in places for a longer period of time.  You might get stuck, especially internationally like so many have already experienced.  No one can accurately predict what might happen as the situation is changing daily in places. 

How to talk about it

While we really cannot control another person, we might be able to change someone’s mind. 

First understand just what the other person is feeling and why they are choosing to travel at this time.  Then explain how you are feeling.  By setting these parameters up front it may be possible to ultimately find a middle ground.  Be sure to phrase your conversation from the “I” perspective—“this is what I hear, this is what I think, this is what I feel,” rather than telling people what they should do using “you should, you need, you have to” phrases.

Because of this worldwide pandemic condition, it is urgent to talk with any friends, acquaintances or loved ones who have not yet cancelled their immediate travel plans.  At this point it really is a matter of life and death. 

However, this corona virus pandemic will come to an end.  There will be plenty of opportunities to travel in the future when traveling is safe, not only for the traveler, but also for everyone that comes in contact with the traveler.  We all should try to see the bigger picture.