To Travel or Not to Travel In the Time of COVID-19

With the dawn of spring in sight, my thoughts turn to travel

It was just over two months ago that I made all my travel arrangements for my husband and me to fly out west to visit family in Boise. It is a trip that I have made perhaps a dozen times in the past decade. My younger brother has lived there for many years. My father lived in the Veteran’s Home there during the last several years of his life before he passed away in 2011. And, more recently, my sister and brother-in-law moved to nearby Caldwell a few years ago. I always enjoy the opportunity to connect with family (and sometimes escape the cold Maine winters or the messy mud season) even though the logistics of flying between the relatively small cities of Bangor and Boise can be challenging. You can’t get there from here without without several connecting flights and/or layovers. Which means either racing to make a connection or sitting around crowded airports. And it’s those challenges in large part that have made my husband loath to fly in recent years, not just to see my family, but really anywhere.

So it was a pleasent surprise when I suggested the trip to Boise this spring that he agreed. Of course there were a few concessions. I planned a side trip of a few days to Bodega Bay near San Francisco so we could also have a bit of quiet, alone time, in one of our favorite places. And I also agreed to stay in hotels rather than with relatives when we were in Idaho. Once he agreed to accompany me on my travels, I rushed to make all the necessary arrangements before he had a chance to change his mind. It was just days after I completed all the reservations, that the Centers For Disease Contol (CDC) announced that the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) had made it’s way to the United States. Still, it was an isolated case in Washington State. As of yesterday, 423 cases have been reported in 35 states, resulting in 19 deaths. With a population of over 331 million that seems like a minuscual amount, yet to listen to the news, danger lurks around every corner. Cruise ships and nursing homes seem to be at greater risk. Is it old people or confined spaces that present the greater risk? Or perhaps it’s a little of both.

I certainly don’t want to take unnesssary risks. Between flights, hotels and rental cars we have a decent amount of money commited to this trip. So do we travel or to we try to recoup as much of the costs as we can and aquiesece to giving up our anticipated trip out west. For now I am taking a wait and see approach. As of this morning, neither Maine nor Idaho had a confirmed case of COVID-19. Delta Airlines has committeed allowing customers to exchange tickets for later dates without additional costs. I  can wait another week to cancel our hotel reservations (if necessary). The same is true of the rental car (I think). In any event we are both healthy and taking all the recommended safety and hygiene precautions to prevent infection. I wont live my life in fear, but want to make the decision whether to travel (or not) one on which we both agree. I’ll worry about my planned trip to Southern Italy in September based on the facts available at that time. It’s always something isn’t it.

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