2020 hasn’t been a great start for Canadians who love travelling. Since the Coronavirus Pandemic became a worldwide problem, our ability to travel has been hindered greatly.
Besides people going crazy buying up all the toilet papers and hand sanitizes, most Canadians have also been cancelling their travel plans as a result. And of course, this makes perfect sense. You don’t want to get Coronavirus. Or even worst, be a carrier of the Coronavirus and pass it on to the vulnerable age demographics.
Because of the massive travel cancellations, the travel industry has been hit hard. I’ve never seen cruises and flights cost so cheap. But do you want to take the risk of travelling? Let’s take a look at the facts and make a decision from there.
Coronavirus pandemic facts and results
Fact 1 – March 15, 2020 cases, deaths, and recovery
Top 20 places with the most Coronavirus cases and deaths
Looking at the chart above, it is clear that you want to avoid going to any of these top 20 places affected by the Coronavirus. Interestingly, the Diamond Princess cruise ship has tons of cases and you may want to avoid booking a cruise to affected regions in the world.
Looking at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website, you definitely want to avoid going to countries that are in the level 3 category.
Japan is at level 2 at the moment but I think it’s safe to say, that it’d be a good idea to avoid travelling to Japan until it falls to at least level 1.
Fact 2 – Coronavirus death rate
Source – Vox
Looking at the figures from China, it looks like the people most at risk for getting Coronavirus are individuals ages 60+. If you are 59 or under, it seems that the death rate is relatively low. However, that doesn’t mean you should go risk getting Coronavirus. Even if you don’t get sick or only have mild symptoms, you might still be a carrier of the virus. And if you work with an older population or have elderly parents or grandparents, you want to either avoid travelling or self-quarantine yourself upon returning to Canada.
Fact 3 – Canadian government travel advisory
Source – CBC News
According to CBC News, the Canadian government’s travel advisory is not a travel ban but instead, a recommendation to avoid international travel. Apparently, borders to the US remain open and if a flight is flying, you can still catch a flight. However, the Canadian government is reducing the number of airports accepting international flights.
No travel insurance covers Coronavirus so consider that when taking the risk to travel. And finally, the government of Canada is advising Canadians to self-isolate for 14 days after returning from travel. While this is not enforced by the Canadian government, it is enforced by many organizations so it’s best to check with your employer before travelling.
Fact 4 – Countries with travel bans
If you decide to travel, do check to make sure you’re not going to a country with a travel ban. Not only will you be barred from entering the country, but you might also miss a connection or get stuck in a country you don’t want to be stuck in. I recommend looking at travel.gc.ca and look at the individual countries you’re visiting to see when their travel ban will end.
For example, I have a flight booked in April that has an overnight layover in El Salvador. Looking at travel.gc.ca, it looks like the travel ban will end on April 1, 2020. Does this mean I’m in the clear? No, it doesn’t. It means I need to keep checking and see if they’ll lift the ban after April 1.
Fact 5 – Travel industry takes a hit
Thanks to the Coronavirus epidemic, the travel industry has been hit hard. According to CNN, airlines are projected to take a $113 billion hit from this epidemic. The Washington Post claims that up to 50 million jobs could be affected worldwide.
So what does this mean for you? This means that travelling will be cheaper than normal. A lot of people are taking a risk to go on a trip of a lifetime on what would normally be too expensive outside this epidemic. Of course, your travels will have to be outside of level 3 and 2 countries as well as cruise lines that have Coronavirus cases. This means that travelling to places like South America or Africa is probably your best bet at this point.
Fact 6 –Economic recession
On Monday, March 9, 2020, the stock market crashed sending the world economy into a recession. Canada has been hit especially hard by this because we sell commodities and raw materials. And because the global demands for raw materials have dwindled as a result of halted manufacturing, Canada is in trouble. This also means that many Canadian’s jobs are at risk.
As a result, this might not be the best time to go on vacation if money will be tight for the next while until the economy recovers after the Coronavirus epidemic ends.
Fact 7 – Weaker Canadian dollar
Source – XE.com
Looking online, it looks like the Canadian dollar is trading at $1.38 CAD for $1 USD. This makes our Canadian dollar extremely weak making travel even more expensive. Again, this is a direct result of the most recent economic recession. You’d have to see if the savings from flights, accommodations, and daily expenses outweigh the increase of cost as a result of a weaker Canadian dollar.
Who should and shouldn’t travel during the Coronavirus pandemic
If you’re a senior age 60+, then you might want to avoid travelling. I know some seniors are fit and healthy so if you’re in that category, then just assess the risk yourself. The death rate is still relatively low between 60-69 years old but anyone over 70 should probably stay home.
Level 2 and 3 countries or top 20 places with the highest Coronavirus cases
If you plan on travelling to countries that are on level 2 and 3 lists, I’d recommend you delay your travel until conditions improve. The same goes if you plan on travelling to the top 20 places with the highest Coronavirus cases. Even if you are not likely to get sick because you’re young, you might be a carrier and pass it on to others when you return home.
Work with seniors or live with senior parents, grandparents or relatives
If you work in a facility with seniors or have senior parents, grandparents, or relatives, you may not want to travel. You don’t want to be responsible for getting other people sick. This is especially true for the vulnerable population. If you do plan on travelling still, do make sure to self-isolate yourself when you come back. This is assuming the Coronavirus cases hasn’t gone down by then.
Big financial burden
If you’re forced to get quarantined for 14 days upon return by your employer, this might cause a big financial burden on yourself. Since we are in a recession right now, earning money might be tough and to play it safe, staying home might be the best decision for you.
Who should travel
If you’re under 60 (or healthy and fit under 70) and want to take advantage of the amazing travel deals right now, this might be the best time to travel for you. Sometimes, you just need to live your life and this might be a rare moment that travel becomes affordable.
Most tourist places will also be empty allowing you to enjoy it with peace of mind.
The most important thing is that when you return home, you self-isolate yourself for 14 days to avoid getting other people sick.
The opinion on the Coronavirus is so mixed right now. Many people are freaking out while others think it’s no big deal. I personally have travel plans in the next three months so this pandemic puts a damper on my travel plans.
I’m personally going to take it day by day and watch the situation unfold. If things look better in 30 days, then I will definitely travel. If the areas I plan on travelling to are relatively safe from Coronavirus, then I will, of course, travel still.
The worst-case scenario for me is I shorten my trip. I’m definitely still going to travel because my booking for Easter Island is once in a lifetime and I don’t want to miss that. I will do everything in my power to at the very least, make that part of the trip. But I’m willing to be flexible for what happens to the other segments of my trip. And I think in this situation, flexibility and rationality are what we need to decide whether we should travel or not.