You’re scheduled to travel in the coming weeks or months, but you’re not sure you want to travel with coronavirus on the loose.
You’re conflicted between missing out on your trip and the possibility of contracting Public Enemy Number One, Covid-19. Sure, you may only be at risk of suffering from mild symptoms if you do happen to catch the illness. But what about those around you who are more vulnerable?
No doubt you’ve considered all these things, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to travelling in a world with the coronavirus.
1. “I’m going to travel soon anyway – I’m more at risk catching coronavirus here than in the country I’m headed to.”
This may well be the case, but there are a few risks that you must consider first:
- Getting infected whilst travelling: Even if your home country has a higher number of infections than where you’re flying to, exposing yourself to travelling may put you at an increased risk of catching the virus. You don’t really want to spend your trip feeling ill…
- Think of others: Even if you are among the lucky ones who will not suffer long term from the virus, you run the risk of spreading it further. This put more vulnerable people at increased risk.
- Flights returning home in mid-air: Flights to Spain with Jet2 had to turn around mid-air when the airline decided to cancel all flights to the country, which is now in lockdown. With countries updating their travel advice daily, flight cancellations will continue to take place.
- Being quarantined upon your arrival, like this British couple who flew to Malta.
- Finding upon your arrival that restaurants, leisure services etc. are running reduced services: although many countries have not imposed lockdowns, some businesses are making the decision to temporarily close independently.
- The situation changes daily, and while you may have a successful trip, you may have trouble getting back should flights home be cancelled due to the changing situation.
2. “I want to cancel my trip, or at least change the dates”
The key thing to know is, if you cancel/rebook your flight before travel restrictions from your country or your destination country are in place, you are very unlikely to get a refund or waiver of rebooking fees.
However, in light of the current coronavirus pandemic, an increasing number of airlines are offering free rebooking if you are booked to travel within the next few weeks. Check your airline’s website for their latest coronavirus update. Twitter is sometimes a faster way to get the most up to date information.
3. Don’t be hasty!
If your flight is still scheduled to go ahead as normal but you don’t feel it’s safe to travel, hold off changing or cancelling your flight booking for as long as possible. Given the changing situation, it’s likely that travel restrictions will be put in place within the next few days and weeks to even more countries. If and when your flight becomes affected, you will at this point be more likely to secure the option to rebook free of charge. This list is regularly updated with the latest travel restrictions.
4. Check your travel insurance
Didn’t book any when you made your flight booking? If you have health or home insurance, you may already also have travel insurance as part of a package, and are worth checking. Read your policy very carefully. When booking new flights, be sure to check the terms and conditions, as some insurers will be restricting claims related to coronavirus.
In the event you cannot avoid travelling in the coming days and weeks, follow the experts’ best practice. with regards to handwashing, social distancing and wearing protective face masks.
As Muslim travellers, we know that while we make plans, Allah is the best of planners. Many of us will be hit financially due to this crisis. The best things we can do is make preparations, look out for one another and put our trust in Allah. For a great resource on Prophetic guidance and duas on epidemic disease such as this one, check out The Legacy Institute’s research into this right here.