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When this is all over, the first place that I’m going to visit is (insert city/country).
To be honest, I’m having a hard time filling in the blank. I think about it daily and it changes by the hour.
Kigali, Rwanda….yeah, that’s it. I’ve heard so many great things about the country and it’s been at the top of my list for some time. Wait, maybe I should go to Dubai. I’ve been there several times and have had great experiences but a lot of people are hating on Dubai and saying “there’s no history.” Should I let their opinions affect mine? Maybe I should go to their sleepy cousin that’s right down the street…Abu Dhabi. Every time I see the Louvre in Abu Dhabi I get excited. Plus, I have a stash of miles that I’ve been waiting to burn on Etihads Business class Apartments.
Japan…but this time Osaka and Kyoto. No, no, no…Pakistan! I have a friend in Karachi and he keeps inviting me so he can show me around. Wait…maybe I should stay closer to home. A scuba diving trip to Bimini sounds amazing! But that wouldn’t involve any cool airlines. Scratch that! Ok, let’s go back to Africa…Namibia and Botswana. Yeah, I think that’s it. You know what…I think I should go off the beaten path. Faroe Islands…I love the outdoors!
Should I share my experience in these cities (or countries) on the blog? Once tourists find out a place is “cool,” they ruin it. Maybe I should check to see if these locations are ‘hotspots‘ for COVID-19? Wait…Japans borders are closed to tourists!? Let’s start all over again.
I’m not kidding when I say this is a daily conversation and how my mind works.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
Last week, Georgia “re-opened” it’s economy. We’ve also seen the numbers of passengers increasing exponentially at TSA checkpoints and I started thinking…does this mean I should book an airline ticket?
Let me be clear in saying, I don’t have my mind made up and I’m not leaning more in one direction or the other but I value dialogue and I’m interested in your opinion. So lets walk through my thought process.
Health is something that I take seriously. It’s one of the easiest things to take for granted and when you don’t have it, it’s rare that you can get it back.
Although there have been reports that “young, healthy people” are less likely to get it (or be affected by it), I’m don’t like taking chances so I’ve been social distancing and have rarely left my house for the last two months.
Additionally, we also know that it seriously affects our more senior population. Understanding this, I would feel extremely bad if I contributed to giving it to anyone’s mother, father, grandmother, etc.
I say all of this because I want to make it clear that I don’t take this lightly and I’m doing everything in my power to follow the guidelines that have been set.
BUT WHEN IS THE “RIGHT” TIME?
I’ve had several conversations with friends and family about travel. Some have said they wouldn’t travel until there is a vaccine (which could be years down the road), while others have essentially said “we’ve seen the worst of it. Put on a mask, you’ll be ok.”
Personally, I think those are the two extremes so when is the “right” time?
Should I/we travel because many people are, literally, depending on the world to travel?
Did you know that 10% of the world’s population are directly or indirectly employed in the tourism industry? In some countries, tourism means so much that it is a major percentage of their GDP. What would the impact be on countries and the world if people simply stop traveling?
Just to be clear, I’m not an economist so I can’t calculate how this is affecting the “economy” but I do recognize at the most basic level that many people don’t have healthcare or the ability to feed their families and their jobs are on the line as time continues.
I’m considering making some travel plans but is June (two weeks from now) too soon? How about July? September? December?
Airplanes are risky because it’s a confined space. But if no one is flying, am I at more risk being on a plane than being on a subway or going to the grocery store?
Italy plans to open its borders in mid-June. They had an unnerving number of cases so should I avoid Italy even though their numbers have been declining steadily (even more so than the US)?
Iceland is another interesting example. The country also plans to open it’s borders in mid-June but is very different than Italy. The country:
- Has few active cases
- Have tested a large percentage – roughly 15% of their population – (as opposed to the US, which is less than 1%)
- Will test passengers upon arrival (or you can agree to 14-day quarantine)
- Has implemented contact tracing via a smartphone app.
South Korea was one of the first countries to implement contact tracing via smart phone. They had major success and curtailed transmissions so much that their system has been recognized around the world.
Let me be clear, I totally understand that people will have differences in opinion. But I’m conflicted and I’m curious to see how you view the situation.
A vaccine could take years. But if we don’t travel, it could be hurting not only ourselves but the world, as a large percentage of people directly and indirectly depend on travel for livelihood.
Is it more responsible to just travel in the US? Is flying in the US taboo too? Should I stick to road trips only?
I simply don’t know. What do you think?
Glad you wrote this article because these are my daily thoughts as well. When I travel again,( I decided since Asia is off my list for now) I’m going with one of my top destinations. Switzerland. I’m leaning towards countries that weren’t greatly affected although I live in the United States. I feel if this will be the last time we can travel again for awhile I may as well visit a country I’ve always been wanting to go. I’m hoping for late July, August or early September travel dates but that’s TBD. It’s not a matter of being scared at this point it’s more “is the country 100% opened to enjoy my destination”.
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@J.O. You always have great input. You’ll love Switzerland. Although, it’s expensive and sticker shock is real, it’s one of my favorites. You bring up another good point that hadn’t thought about…is the country open enough to enjoy!? It just got a little more complicated.