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Well it’s been an interesting couple of days, hasn’t it? The novel coronavirus / COVID-19 is pretty much the only thing on anyone’s mind. I know that this is a travel blog, but with most travel being locked down, and even travel that isn’t locked down being fairly irresponsible unless it’s essential, there isn’t a lot of travel news out there. I thought I’d share a bit about how our family is handling the COVID-19 situation. I’d imagine that things are similar for many of you.
Stopping COVID-19 through social distancing
It felt like last week was then the tide turned in most Americans’ minds about whether this was a big deal or “just the flu”. Two weeks ago, on Monday, March 2, I asked Should I cancel my travel trips? and my general consensus was that I was proceeding as planned for most of them. Then on Friday, March 13, I decided I was canceling my trips due to coronavirus.
If you’re still operating under the assumption that this is no big deal, everyone is overreacting, and social distancing is stupid, these are the 3 articles that I found most meaningful and that changed my mind the most:
- This (lengthy!) Medium post – the tl;dr is that if you do nothing, then everyone gets sick all at once and overwhelms the hospitals, causing a 10x increase in fatality.
- This Twitter thread with a first-hand case of what is happening right now in Italy.
- Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve” from the Washington Post, with some awesome simulations of the effects of social distancing
Canceling my travel (and everyone else’s)
I had two upcoming trips that I canceled. The first one is a trip to Hawaii for spring break. In fact, as I write this, I should have been landing in Honolulu. Not sure how I would have survived a 10-hour flight with everyone, but I’m also quite sure I’d have taken it over the current alternative! We also had a trip to Utah in April that was going to be a special boys-only trip – also canceled.
I’m grateful that I was able to get most of my miles and points refunded. The only out of pocket costs I’m out right now are the 105,000 Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles miles I used for our trip to Hawaii. I was finally able to get a hold of someone at Miles&Smiles by calling their call center in Turkey (via Google Voice @ 4 cents/minute). She canceled my flights (so I didn’t no-show) but suggested I needed to email the sales reservation department to get my miles refunded. I have since talked to a fellow traveler who was able to get it refunded through that call center, so I’ll HUCA later this week.
What our home life is like, or, how frequent travelers like us are holding up when we can’t travel
I really think that our family is probably better prepared for social distancing and self-quarantining than probably 99% of other families. Consider this:
- I already worked from home
- We already homeschooled most of our kids
- We belong to a church who has for years encouraged us to build up a supply of food for emergencies. We’ve followed that counsel, and while there are certainly areas where we are not as prepared as we would like and things we’re missing from the store, we’re definitely less impacted than many others
So in many respects, life is not all that different. The biggest things are the addition of 2 more kids during the day, and the lack of other activities in the evenings, Most of them have been canceled and the ones that have not we are choosing to not go to in hopes of social distancing. I think it’s been hardest on my oldest son who, in the space of a week or so went from
- Celebrating his 18th birthday in Hawaii
- Touring his dream college
- Being inducted into the highest rank in the Boy Scout’s Order of the Arrow
To… all those things being canceled, being stuck at home with his annoying siblings, and I’m not holding my breath for an in-person high-school graduation in a few months.
I think that the most I can say for how things are going is that… nobody has died yet. I haven’t killed any of my kids and none of them have killed each other. Yet. Anything more than that is a bonus 🙂
Is there an end in sight?
I… don’t know. Here in Ohio, schools are closed for three weeks (at least). They postponed our primary election this week, and I am mentally planning for 2-3 months like this. I hope that I’m wrong, and I’m ready to be pleasantly surprised.
How are you holding up with social distancing / no travel? Leave your thoughts in the comments
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I have a booked cruise to Alaska starting from Vancouver. I understand Canada is blocking cruises until mine or july. Do you have information? Should I wait for holland America to cancel cruise? Or contact them?
We’ve been trying to get back to Canada since Mar 11 from Madeira.
We managed to reach Lisbon on Mar 16 but have only been able to switch home flight to Mar 21 at a cost of an extra $3000 Cdn. As of this morning’s announcement this flight will probably be allowed.
It is too late for the US and Canada. The borders should have been closed since January. Hong Kong survived almost unscathed by closing early. So did Korea. But they have been prepared since SARS and bird flu.
The complete indifference of our leaders to this difficult challenge is shocking and shows how both our democratic systems are flawed. Both your President and our PM received less popular votes than the current incumbents. Their dithering was to try to decide what path would get them re-elected rather than what was right or necessary.
Sadly this will result in many unnecessary deaths and financial ruin for many people and industry as a whole.
Everyone should immediately self-quarrantine immediately to the highest extent possible and take every precaution.
It’s ironic that every blogger suggests using wipes – we have been trying to purchase some for three weeks everywhere we go and there are NONE IN EUROPE
*less popular votes than their opponents*
I can’t believe Canada kept allowing planes from China till yesterday! Esp Vancouver as they were able to drive to Seattle in 35 minutes crazy
Hopefully the Homeland security would stop them at the border?
If not then don’t blame Canada, blame everyone not keeping us safe in the guise of political correctness.