It’s been a while… again, but what’s new? And since many of us are in lockdown, self-quarantine, social distancing, or whatever you want to call it, I thought it would be a good time to share some of my thoughts about trip planning during the Coronavirus, Covid-19. I mean, do you have anything better to do right now? ;)
First off, a rant
It feels like LIFE has been canceled. If you’re in a high-risk area, you probably have been feeling that way too. Events canceled, get togethers canceled, jobs canceled, yoga canceled. Everything is canceled!
And going to the grocery store is just insane and even less enjoyable than usual. Even if I wanted to stock up for two weeks of self-quarantine, it seems like everyone else has taken away that option from me. In reality, it is probably just a few selfish individuals who just want to “save” themselves by hoarding everything, leaving nothing for the rest of us.
Anyway, I can’t seem to get ahold of decently priced hummus, but at least I already had plenty of toilet paper before this happened. And I already had my eye on this bidet-like toilet experience, so I went ahead and got one. Haha! By the way, if you click through this link (even if you don’t buy this item), you will be supporting Tracie Travels at no extra cost to you. ;)
The trip I was supposed to take
I am only trip planning now because our trip to South Africa, which would have started next Monday, has been essentially canceled. South Africa, though already infected with the dreaded virus, has closed its borders those of us coming from the United States, among others. So, I had no choice but to cancel that trip.
I had about 90% of our trip already booked. Fortunately, most of our accommodations were through Airbnb and they have been AMAZING regarding cancelations and refunds. Not only do they make it obvious that Coronavirus could cause an issue with cancelations before booking, but they are very clear about offering 100% refunds for accommodations already booked. Before all this started getting really crazy. Kudos to you, Airbnb!
The other bookings have not been canceled yet, but I am hoping for the best considering these extreme circumstances. As much as I don’t want the airlines to go under, I’m really hoping Emirates gives a full refund, because South Africa is one of THE most expensive places you can fly from Seattle! They are certainly trying to work with people for re-bookings, but I’m not sure if we’ll be able to do that within their timeline. It is unclear to me whether they offer full refunds for cancelations to everyone affected.
Planning a new trip
With countries popping up left and right with new Coronavirus restrictions, my first instinct as a young-ish healthy person was to run away to Hawaii since we still had two weeks of intended vacation time available. Despite some admirable last-minute hustling to come up with a decent Hawaii plan, that fantasy quickly slipped out the door with rumors of domestic flights stopping. I mean if I were to be stranded anywhere, I’d love for it to be Hawaii, but I suppose that we do have obligations at home. And I had also started hearing that the virus may be transmitted even if you don’t have symptoms, so I didn’t think it was a very responsible plan to hop on a plane.
So, with said obligations in mind (mostly being the dog), I turned my trip planning to the mainland of North America. Before I could even say “Banff”, Canada decided to close their borders to us too. At least deciding on a destination, which is normally the biggest challenge for me, wasn’t much of an issue anymore!
In the end, I decided on Oregon. I know that the areas we’re staying will offer those wide open spaces that we seek while social distancing. I know we don’t have to go inside much at all, and that we can get groceries or take out, even when restaurants aren’t seating people. And I know that Chex will love the dog-friendly beaches, even if he is a little handicapped now.
I figure it would be pretty difficult for Oregon to close its borders to Washington, so I think we’ll be fine. And though we’re only traveling for a week now, it will be a much needed escape from the isolation we’ve had at home. Probably a lot safer too! And if the Apocalypse is coming, I will be happy to go on a beautiful Oregon beach with Dave and Chex by my side! ;)