US Department Of State Warns Against Travel Abroad

Filed Under: Travel

Update: The US has now issued a “Level 4” advisory.

The US State Department has issued a pretty drastic warning, though it’s not necessarily for the reason you might assume…

US advises Americans to reconsider travel abroad

The US Department of State has issued a Global Level 3 Health Advisory, advising Americans to reconsider travel abroad.

This comes after President Trump has announced a travel ban on foreigners who have visited the Schengen area of Europe in the past 14 days.

Here’s the warning from the Department of State:

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.

For those who decide to travel abroad, the US is issuing the following recommendations:

  • Review and follow the CDC’s guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus
  • Check with your airlines or cruise lines regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions
  • Visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security
  • Visit Embassy webpages on COVID-19 for information on conditions in each country or jurisdiction
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the U.S.

How should we interpret this travel warning?

It would appear to me that this warning is more about travel restrictions resulting from the current situation, rather than the spread of coronavirus as such. As noted, this is being done because countries may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions.

Logically if this were purely about limiting the spread of coronavirus, the government would be warning against all travel by air, closing schools and other public areas, etc.

Thoughts on my upcoming travels…

A lot of readers have been asking whether or not they should reschedule their upcoming travels, etc. I’m obviously not qualified to answer that, everyone has to decide for themselves, and this situation is also evolving hourly, so what’s true now might not be true in a few hours.

Let me share my general feelings about two upcoming trips.

Next week I’m supposed to go to Chicago for a couple of days for some important appointments (they’re not life or death, but still important). As of now (though that’s subject to change) I still plan on taking that trip, and will of course exercise normal precautions.

Then in just over a week, Ford and I are supposed to go to Peru. I’m not sure what I’m planning to do with that just yet.

I guess my perspective differs based on how we’re going to view this whole situation in the US:

  • If we’re at the point where people are told not to take any flights (including domestic), schools are closing, any public areas with a big number of people are being closed down, etc., then I guess I should just stay home, lock my door, and call it a month
  • If we’re just going to take precautions but continue with our lives, then I think we should still take this trip

Working in favor of this trip is that:

  • I don’t view Peru as being any higher risk than the US, and if anything, I actually think it’s lower risk than the US
  • I don’t view a flight between the US and Peru as being any riskier than a domestic flight within the US
  • Ford and I are both healthy, so unless we’re going to lock ourselves up, I don’t think we’re exposing ourselves (or others) to significantly more risk by going

Working against this trip is that:

  • If there are major travel restrictions put in place that limit movement, that could be tricky; at the same time, I don’t expect the US to somehow “ban” Americans from returning home (beyond a self quarantine, maybe), and ultimately I’m pretty good at booking flights, so returning to the US wouldn’t be that challenging if that’s what it came down to

The truth is that I don’t have to make any decisions this very second with the Peru trip — most of the trip can be canceled till a few days out, and the portions that are non-refundable are that way whether I cancel now or in several days.

Again, the above is only my personal view as of now, and that could evolve in the coming hours and days. Personally I’m not quite at the point of feeling like “return to the US this second no matter what” (assuming you’re not in a high risk zone), but others obviously feel differently.

Bottom line

The Department of State is now advising against international travel. This policy seems to primarily be about restrictions that could be put in place by other countries, leaving people stranded.

Everyone will have a different take on what exactly to do with this information.

Where do you stand on this situation — are you locking yourself in a bunker? Are you still considering traveling at all, and if so, under what circumstances?

Comments
  1. Personal question: How are you handling contact with your parents after being out in the world? A lot of us who are younger/healthier are worried not for ourselves, but for more vulnerable elders.

  2. I think your post misses the largest concern with travelling abroad now which is the possibility of being quarantined or detained in a foreign country, even if you are not sick. Cancelled a dream trip because of that concern.

  3. Ben, be aware that some treatments for cancer can cause the immune system to be suppressed. It may not be wise to travel if one of the people close to you is undergoing treatments. We all should cut back on non-essential travel, even domestically & avoid social situations like going to pubs to watch a game.
    All the best to you & yours.

  4. Agreed with GoAmtrak – didn’t you post about your mother having health issues recently? Potentially exposing her to it could be catastrophic.

  5. I would also add in the ‘working against this trip’ column that you may pick up the virus, and because you are both healthy, only show very mild symptoms or even be completely asymptomatic. Then you would be traveling to different regions/countries and spreading the disease to those who are more vulnerable.

    I know this whole situation really, really sucks, especially for those who rely upon travel for business – I had a business trip to Italy which is still likely to lose me a small fortune, not least because technically the insurance won’t pay out until they extend the quarantine post-April 4th.

    But the bigger picture here is that many people with underlying health conditions are incredibly vulnerable – is it really worth that risk? If you had a relative with a health condition, would you really be willing to travel through high-risk zones (airports) to see them?

    The fact that the governments are reacting so slowly to this (why hasn’t the UK shutdown schools/travel when it has more cases than the Hubei region did when it went on lockdown? – and why is Trump still allowing UK-US travel, when the UK has so many more cases than other EU countries? And where is the guidance on public gatherings and schools like Ireland have just announced?) – shouldn’t put you at ease about traveling, it should do the opposite…not to scaremonger, but just stay safe/hygienic in your local area and avoid non-essential travel for a few weeks, just to give it time to see the bigger picture and allow health service to cope/put in plans. Surely?

  6. For an upcoming international trip we have many of the same considerations you’ve outlined here. One you don’t mention however is the chance that since the US actually maybe has more cases than some other countries that those other countries in the subsequent weeks will put travel restrictions, or quarantine restrictions, on any non-citizens who have arrived from the US. Similar to what French Polynesia has done, or similar to what most countries have in place for Italy, South Korea, Iran, and China. How are you weighing that in your decision-making?

  7. I’ll be in Mexico next weekend. Staying relatively close to the US, or just in the America’s for that matter doesn’t really scare me.

  8. The risk of disrupted plans, cancelled flights, or suddenly being quarantined in less sanitary conditions than you’d have at home is what’s putting me off.

    I was in Hanoi on Sunday, due to be there all week. When a street 2km from my hotel was put in lockdown, and all but 1 daily flight to Singapore was cancelled, I decided it was time to jump and booked a seat on that flight.

    This story is a warning to those who think that the biggest risk is actually getting the virus: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/09/british-couple-contract-virus-on-flight-from-heathrow-to-vietnam

    Purely being on the wrong flight, in the wrong hotel, or in the wrong restaurant at the wrong time could land you in some pretty dicey situations.

    Each to their own, but I won’t be going anywhere for a few weeks.

  9. How are you sure that you’re not going to expose yourself to others?
    Are you going to wear masks?

  10. While the risk of you contracting it is similar whether you go to Peru or not, if you were to get it, you would be exposing it to a lot more people on a plane. That’s my take atleast. But I’m still booked on a domestic round trip weekly between Orlando and Atlanta. I’ll probably just cut that to biweekly and drive soon though.

  11. I’m in flight to MSP as we speak to see my daughter. Other than that I am not going anywhere and i just closed my office in NYC to better support social distancing. Until this settles down it’s all of our jobs to limit movement and contact. I thought long and hard about this trip and decided to go through with it but we will stay very close to home even while here.

  12. I am an American living in Berlin, DE and I want to return to the US and surprise my niece (who will be at WDW in MCO) and was planning on taking a long weekend to FL at the end of March. I have booked my flights and will take the trip. I have been in DE for the past 1.5 mos since my last trip to the US (with the exception of a long weekend in Cape Verde) and am healthy so I am not going to let 45 dictate to me when I can can’t travel. Just taking normal precautions.

  13. Basically, the absolute media freak out over COVID-19 is unwarranted and is doing a ton of damage to the economy, particularly the travel industry. In the case of Lucky and Ford, even if you caught the coronavirus, it would likely be a little worse than a bad cold. However, the bad part about it is how contagious it is, which will prompt officials to place you in isolation for an extended period of time. Anyone you’ve been in contact with will possibly be quarantined. And don’t come anywhere near your parents or anyone else who is elderly or has underlying health conditions.

    It is highly contagious, so traveling by plane – much like going to a large public gathering – increases your risk of exposure. And it’s not merely the aircraft. It’s the TSA area, gate areas, the lounge; airports see a lot of people come and go and they leave germs. So, weigh the risks. In your case, the actual illness probably won’t be nearly as bad as the reaction to you having it will be.

  14. I think another concern is getting quarantined in country for coming from the US. I have a trip to Argentina coming up that I wasn’t seriously thinking of canceling until I got an email from the State Department/embassy there stating:

    “Public statements by Argentine government officials noted a 14-day self-isolation quarantine for anyone, regardless of nationality, arriving in Argentina who has visited a country with sustained transmission, including the United States”

    I don’t want to arrive and spend my entire trip in quarantine.

  15. Lucky, I have to echo what others have said here about the risks not to you, but to OTHERS.

    It does not matter one bit that you and Ford are healthy. It does not matter that you are young. It does not matter that, even if you do contract the virus, you will likely be perfectly fine. This is not about you.

    If you do contract the virus, and have minor symptoms or are asymptomatic, you will be spreading it in to other people. They, or their grandparents, or their friends, may be vulnerable.

    You have written extensively that your mom recently underwent chemotherapy, that your father is 75. They are vulnerable. And so are many people you will come in contact with, in Peru and elsewhere.

    It’s not your job to protect yourself so you don’t get sick. It’s your job to protect yourself so OTHERS do not get sick, so that we can limit the incidence of severe illness, spread it out over time, and not overburden a healthcare system that is going to be severely challenged.

    If you don’t need to go to Peru, don’t.

  16. Statistically Peru might be lower risk than USA. However, the point you miss is that if you go to Peru as a tourist, you are more likely to be exposed to public places.

    If you stay home and live your daily routine, you won’t be facing many situations where you are near lots of people. But as a tourist, you will constantly be in public places like tourist sites, hotels, planes, airports etc.

  17. I think it’s only a matter of time before every South American country follows the lead of Argentina. Maybe if you left for Peru today, you could slide in, but… destinations have a right to protect themselves from visitors originating in countries that aren’t properly testing or controlling for transmission of the virus. And you could get caught up in that and end up stranded in quarantine somewhere.

    The trip to Chicago is just a bad idea. Yeah, let’s fly around a country with known community transmission and a lack of test kits.

  18. If Peru doesn’t ban or impose mandatory quarantine on travelers from the US, their government is as incompetent as ours

  19. Take the trip Ben. Obviously if you travel to a country you run the risk of flight changes, etc., but the precautions to be taken should be no different than what one should be doing for the flu and don’t feel there’s enough there to warrant cancellation of plans.

  20. Most of or all of the early cases in the US were from Americans who came home from an outbreak area. That is how the virus is spreading, plain and simple.

  21. @stogieguy7

    “Basically, the absolute media freak out over COVID-19 is unwarranted and is doing a ton of damage to the economy, particularly the travel industry.”

    Yeah, and that speech the media gave last night shutting travel from Europe….oh, wait…..

  22. Wow @Marc, so selfish. Fine, you will feel like you had the common cold. But how about the mother or grandmother that you passed the virus onto who then have to fight for their life because you may have slight symptoms and pass it on to other people?

  23. @kevinS “Yeah, and that speech the media gave last night shutting travel from Europe….oh, wait….”

    No, don’t wait. Trump did what he had to do in the face of all this panic. But the panic and resulting groundswell has been manufactured by a frenzied media. Your slap at Trump was fun, but I have a feeling that you’d find a snarky comment to hit him with no matter what he did or didn’t do.

    Covid-19 isn’t that bad for MOST people. Not all, most. But it’s hardly the black plague. You won’t die from it unless you have other serious health issues or are elderly (and even that’s a maybe). Just like the flu.

  24. Ben, the thing to remember about traveling internationally is that the number of infections here in the US is going to get worse – much worse – in the coming days and weeks. The US government has done a terrible job staying on top of the virus, unlike countries like Vietnam and Singapore, and at this point we’re likely to see infection rates similar to Italy.

    What this means for travelers is that you’re likely to see a lot more restrictions from other countries being placed on US citizens, and that’s likely to start happening in the coming days. I’d love to be proven wrong on all accounts, but you should plan for the worst and hope for the best.

  25. @EC2

    Except for the fact that the mortality rate for seasonal flu is about 0.1% of patients, whereas for COVID-19 it’s somewhere between 2-4%

    And the fact that we have a vaccine for the flu which works pretty well, compared to not having one for the coronavirus.

    And also that we have quite a lot of experience of dealing with seasonal flu and knowing its symptoms, whereas with the coronavirus we are still figuring it out.

    Plus also that the reproduction rate (transmittal to others) for COVID-19 appears to be about double that of seasonal flu.

    But other than that, yeah, just treat it the same as a completely different well-known disease…

  26. @Lucky – I “get” that you & Ford are both healthy adults, but that’s not really the point. If you plan to be in contact with any elderly or those with underlying health issues within 2 weeks post-travel, you’re being reckless with your decisions.

  27. @stogieguy7

    “Trump did what he had to do in the face of all this panic. But the panic and resulting groundswell has been manufactured by a frenzied media.”

    Let me get this straight. Trump did something he should not have done on the merits because he caved into the media panic?

    And that actually was not a slap at Trump. I have no idea if this the right policy. It was a slap at those who think this nothing but a media induced panic.

  28. Your views are egocentric. You did not mention the case that you can spread the virus to Peru as the French guy did in Mongolia.
    You can have the virus and feel ok and therefore spread it.

  29. To correct myself, it was another S. American country that included the US in the quarantine list. Peru’s only has China, Italy, Spain and France.

  30. There are many cases in the US. The health security of Peruvian people and not spreading the virus is higher priority than you travels.

  31. All the comments about “even if you don’t get sick you will be spreading it to others” show the denial that people are still in (or lack of education on the issue). Of course nobody can say for sure, but the experts believe that pretty much everyone is going to get this thing. So the ONLY thing we are doing by avoiding large group contact is trying to spread the effect out a bit so hospitals can respond better. I personally haven’t seen a good explanation/evidence that that approach works, but regardless, that is what they are trying to do. So to blame someone who is not sick for continuing to travel is unfair and missing the point. Personally I worry that with the majority of the world living paycheck to paycheck, the economic disruption caused by the fear is going to kill even more people, when their jobs are gone and they can’t afford food, heat and medical care.

    What you should be focused on is ensuring your immune system is as strong as it can be. And learn about sepsis. The majority of people who are dying are dying of sepsis and there is an IV treatment for sepsis now (vitamin C, thiamine and steroids) that has an 80% cure rate. There is very strong evidence for this treatment and additional clinical trials are on-going.

  32. I call it the bat rat and cat theory. You sell this stuff life in markets in China then cook.it at home you gonna die. Dirty practice

  33. Cancel now. Anything else is completely irresponsible.

    Safer there? Cool you might bring them the virus and have no idea.

    Just cancel now. The trip can wait.

  34. Advice or thoughts.

    I just recently received a dream job offer in Europe. They want to fly me out for a meet-and-greet, etc. to see how I like the city and then maybe sign the contract while in town. I want to get this process moving as fast as possible. They are connecting me with their mobility consultant on next steps. I’d fly into Scandinavian City A and then train over to Scandinavian City B. I’m not worried about the traveling portion of this trip, however, I wouldn’t want to get quarantined on my way back to the US. Obviously, if I get stuck in Scandinavia, there could be worse places to be as respect to human rights, healthcare, etc.

    I’m both a U.S. and Canadian citizen. So thoughts on this: I fly to Vancouver or Toronto (enter with US passport), get another ticket r/t to Scandinavian City A. Enter SCA with my Canadian passport, return to Canada with my Canadian passport, then onward to the US as normal. Is this too much effort/deception, or a smart move to re-enter the US? Assuming CBP will have no idea of my travels to Europe?

    Thanks for the advice.

  35. I have an award flight with ANA US-JAPAN in May so rescheduling wouldn’t work out. The availability of seats get booked out so far in advance that a reschedule window would be a miss.

  36. Every interaction you have we someone is a chance we pick up or spread the virus. This isn’t about you or me or individuals getting the virus it is about the ability of systems to cope. We are all going to get this (Ok most of ours) and most of us will be just fine, but if everyone gets it at once then the healthcare system will be overwhelmed and more people will die. Not travelling is about doing our bit to slow the spread and saving the lives of our vulnerable loved ones and vulnerable people everywhere.

    I’m bummed not to be going to japan next month but I’ll go when this is all over.

    There’s plenty of info on ‘flattening the curve out there’. Read it.

  37. A.G. Pennypacker, your scheme might work, except that I’m reporting you to US Customs and Border Patrol. Screw you and your dream job trying to circumvent the law. You aren’t better than any of us. Now get out our Canadian passport and apologize.

  38. It;s looking like I have a contrarian view of this entire situation, so here goes —
    Take that trip to Chicago. Then, see where things are with regards to your trip to Peru.
    I’m a mom of two kids and we’ve got tickets for spring break in Kauai. We live in L.A. We’re GOING on the trip. If necessary, we will quarantine in Kauai (no problem with that!) or quarantine back home in L.A. We will not break the law. We have NO elderly relatives near us, and no immuno-compromised individuals with whom we come into contact face-to-face. So we won’t be interacting with any populations at high risk for this particular virus. Unless the airline cancels our flights from LAX to LIH, we ARE going next month. Naturally, we will take a lot of precautions when passing through LAX, TSA, the plane, etc. We’re armed with packets and packets and packets of Clorox wipes and will leave those seats, trays, armrests as clean as a whistle. Having said all this, if we get the virus, then we get it. So then what happens. We get sick, we take of ourselves at home -in quarantine, without going outside-, we eventually develop antibodies, and we’re done.
    It’s one thing to be prepared, which I think our family is, and to take basic precautions like thorough hand washing and disinfecting of frequently used surfaces/door handles/etc., but another thing entirely is to go into total PANIC as entire nations have done. This situation is insane. This is not the plague. This is not ebola. If it were, then, yes, it would be a different level of risk. Entire economies are tanking. It’s ridiculous. People hoarding toilet paper and paper towels and hand sanitizer. Insane….
    I’m obviously NOT talking about immuno-compromised individuals or the elderly. Those populations need to be careful because their risk profile is higher. I have ZERO direct contact with those populations.
    Good luck with your decision-making, Lucky!

  39. I think a bit of sanity is required in these times.

    If you get sick, you get…the flu! Not Spanish Flu from 1918, not Polio, not Ebola. The flu. More people will have died from regular seasonal Influenza A/B in 2020 in the USA than will ever die from CORVID-19. 88% of people who get CORVID-19 will have zero to minimal symptoms. This is MUCH less than the seasonal flu!

    Anyone remember SARS from 2003? I bet many reading this post haven’t ever heard/dealt with it. That also was a Corona Virus and had a 9.6% death rate. There weren’t lockdowns, there weren’t mass runs on toilet paper, nor events cancelled around the USA. People avoided travel to Asia for a time, but it wasn’t terrible.

    The current 2019 CORVID-19 outbreak has a death rate of around 3%, less than one third of the 2003 SARS outbreak, and dropping as more tests are run and we’re learning that newer strains of it aren’t as severe. BTW, the actual name of the current outbreak is SARS-CORVID-19.

    So what’s different socially now from 2003? The media, social media and the herd mentality it produces, and millennials who’ve been over-protected by their parents and have learned to fear the outside world.

    So… Don’t panic for crying out loud. This is just another type of flu, one you should actually be worried LESS about than the regular seasonal flu. Good hand washing (with soap and water, not that alcohol-based crap) and good hygiene are a good idea, as they always are. At least I’m seeing people wash their hands after using public toilets…finally.

  40. In washington the early data is 15% need hospital and 1/3 of those are critical. This according to an ICU doc in Washington.

    Even if you don’t get that sick, do you want to spread that risk ?

  41. It’s a bit glib to frame this as “locking yourself in a bunker”, Ben. I’m a science journalist, and the C.D.C., the W.H.O., Johns Hopkins and Harvard Medical School regard this as the most serious health crisis in generations.

    The way you prevent pandemics is by not spreading them. Cancelling your travel is a bit like getting your flu shot, or voting. You don’t do it for your sake. You do it because unless everyone does it, we’re all screwed.

    Northern Italy is several weeks ahead of the US. It’s coming. A good primer on the value of earlier action is here: https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

    No need for a bunker. Just practice social distancing, cancel all mingling with crowds, and stave this thing off.

  42. Don’t listen to the people saying getting the virus is not a big deal. IT IS A BIG DEAL. During the incubation period, you could pass the virus onto anyone, and you could expose the virus to elderly/immunocompromised people.

  43. Thank you @Josh – some sensible advice shared – this is about ‘flattening the curve’

    @AlexS – you ask for some sanity and then make some certifiable claims…you don’t get the flu if you get coronavirus – they are different diseases. And just because more people have died of seasonal flu so far (and do so every year), it doesn’t mean that flu deaths stop to make way for coronavirus – more people die of diarrhea than malaria, so shall we stop bothering to help those with the latter?

    I remember SARS as I lived in HK during the outbreak. It was terrifying – the city was on lockdown, schools were closed, people genuinely thought the end of the world was beginning in HK. House prices dropped by nearly 50%, the market crashed. I agree that social media proliferation has caused stupid incidents of panic this time round (why toilet paper?!), but I can tell you that SARS was very serious. In an ironic way, its volatility and high mortality rate helped – people tended to show symptoms quickly and die quickly, which stopped it from spreading as easily. COVID-19 has a much lower mortality rate because it benefits the virus to survive in its host long enough to spread.

    Just to clarify to anyone who is foolish enough to buy your final statement: this is NOT just another type of flu, nor should you worry LESS about it. It is a different disease, and its mortality and reproduction rate is significantly higher. It may have some similar symptoms, but that does not mean it is the same virus. Our bodies have coped with iterations of cold and flu viruses over time, and we even have a vaccine to help – we don’t with COVID-19.

    Most sensible posters here have pointed out – the reason for mitigating risk is to allow health services time to prepare and cope – which means rescheduling operations/everyday treatments too. A overwhelming rush on hospitals is what happened in Wuhan, and led to many avoidable deaths. People at risk aren’t just those with health conditions who get the disease, it’s those who need to go to hospital for other reasons too. (Also, FYI, there have been some cases of young, healthy people getting coronavirus and dying, so it’s arrogant to assume everyone in that group will be fine).

    Please don’t panic buy – try to trust those supply chains – but also please don’t spread lies (or germs).

  44. Ben, you’re being incredibly selfish taking the Peru trip. While you might be healthy, those you interact with might not be. You might even be a silent carrier and unknowingly infect other people.

    Not to mention you’re always talking about your mom. You realize you could infect her and not know it? Not only is she older but her immune system is compromised because of the cancer.

    Not sure what the hell is going through your head Ben with this blog post. American selfishness at its finest. Me me me me me me and to hell with everyone else.

  45. I am a 67 year old ex-pat living in Spain. I had a UA flight scheduled for seeing my daughter, taxes, etc booked on this coming Saturday to SFO. When “the ban” was announced (eventually clarified) I tried to move to the Friday (today) flight but UA lines were 2+ hour waits and would drop you over and over. Spent easily 5 hours on hold to eventually find no ability to move my mileage ticket up on any SA carrier and fares over $1000 even trying round trip fares. One way was crazy prices. Even then, UA had no information about the scheduling on my Saturday flight. The Trump administration is simply winging this. There is no plan. So basically I will go, hope my return on the 24th holds up. I have less confidence in the US government handling this situation than other countries. I am more concerned about going to the states than staying here in Spain. My guess is many more are sick in the states and you just don’t know yet. The lack of command is the most frightening as well as more concern about the markets than the effects of the virus.

  46. Ben you literally dont need to go to Peru, so just cancel it. For your sake, your familys sake, and the Peruvian peoples sake.

  47. I’m currently in Egypt with a tour group, having left home in the Boston area March 5. We’re told things are definitely quieter here than usual. I guess I’ve washed my hands what seems like a hundred times in the last few days. And I’m elderly! I’m wayyy more worried about my very elderly husband who is at home.

  48. I’m a physician who’s never been one to panic. After all, we’ve been through worries with SARS, MERS, ebola, H1N1 (which I contracted), yearly influenza, etc, without much change in daily life.

    This time is different. The reports out of Italy about the saturation of the healthcare system are absolutely terrifying. And this is what travel bans and social distancing are all about – reducing the chance of overwhelming saturation. Hospitals in Seattle are already cancelling elective procedures because it’s happening – the first area hit is becoming saturated, and they need every bed for respiratory care. Estimates for the US have us peaking in mid-May. Most major hospitals and academic institutions have already banned travel for their employees.

    I have a trip planned to the Canadian arctic at the end of May, literally one of the least populated places on earth, but I’m expecting not to be able to travel at all by then.

  49. @sel.D Mexico is the typical country that will underreport virus cases and if the US Government think they are doing this , they will put Mexico on the list and when you return you may be quarantined . Better to holiday in USA , you have a beautiful country

    This has already happened in UK who put Laos on the list because they had lots of workers returned from China at Chinese New Year including from Wuhan . But official Laos government cases a few weeks back were nil. Now they have admitted a few .

  50. I personally wouldn’t take the risk of traveling to Peru even absent the coronavirus situation, but you’ve been to Nicaragua, so perhaps you’re much less constrained in certain risk areas. Influencer girls with all of their millions of Maccu Piccu photos in yoga pants notwithstanding, Peru is under quite a bit of internal turmoil and hostility toward certain sections of the American public is high.

    However, I know I have some very enjoyable destinations that are considered very high risk for other people. And they’re extremely nice and peaceful for me because of that. Places that influencers can’t safely travel, usually.

  51. Its like their ridiculous travel advisories regarding violence. The US State Department should issue a travel advisory for Washington State, New York and California. Their violence travel advisories should be issued for almost every major US city.

  52. so you talk about the illness of your mother. you cancel a trip to china because your parents ask you to. in the last few days when it was mentioned that you should skip a trip with your parents in the south for her sake, you tell people to mind their own business. always signaling your moral high ground and abandoning it when inconvenient. it seems you are big on the scrutiny of others yet not so comfortable when that light is shined on you and your choices. there is a word for that.

  53. @Experienced Traveller I find it so American of you to challenged the honesty of another country with a pathological liar sitting in the WH spewing lies consistently regarding the virus. Add the CDC conveniently gives out testing kits that are worthless, or was this just a “mistake”? Americans will never stop amazing me. And please, before you try to call me out for being from another country, I admit I am from the 3rd world country of the USA.

  54. @Ray, well , I am not an American but I do agree your points about the WH liar . I am an experienced traveller and I know many countries are not reporting their virus cases . I am in Thailand now .

  55. Hey Man,

    We are actually in the same boat, my wife and I have planned our 1 year anniversary trip for Peru next week (leaving on the 19th) and I share your same thoughts as of right now. If the situation does not get drastically worse and if Peru is not requiring a quarantine of US travelers, we will likely take the trip.

    If you can, keep me updated on what you decide to do and whether you go, would love to have some first hand knowledge since we are taking the same trip.

    Thanks
    Zoheb

  56. I’m scheduled to be in Peru in two weeks, also. Getting back into the U.S. may not actually be that easy. I have been urged, by someone with very good information, not to take this trip without being prepared for the possibility that it might be 30 days+ before I could return (under future conditions that are apparently being discussed).

    Will the worst case scenario come to pass? Maybe not. But I’m definitely planning for a worst case scenario before making my final decision. Luckily, I can cancel things at the last minute, as well.

    Here’s hoping for the best, though! If you make it to Peru, I hope you enjoy your trip.

  57. We are in the middle of cancelling our trip to Peru at the same time. Some things are going easily. Some aren’t. Like LATAM. There’s currently no exceptions for flights within the country – no matter who has purchased the tickets. Looks like we’re on the hook for those tickets as well as some other pre-booked hotels.

    I suppose it’s the price we pay for not having purchased trip insurance. I could never have seen this coming. But I guess that’s the point. It’s a tough lesson to learn.

    We’ve been looking forward to a train trip on the Belmond Andean Explorer, which was meant to be a trip of a lifetime for us. They are letting us cancel or reschedule, which is great. Except that we were only able to do it in the first place because of a promotion they ran last year when we booked. I don’t know that we’ll ever be able to do it now.

  58. My flight to Peru hasn’t been cancelled yet. I want to go so bad. But it would be horrendous to get quarantined there. It just feels very risky to go

  59. Well, reading your thoughts on it, I must say I wish things had gone that way. My brother, a US citizen is currently stuck in Peru. 2 nights ago they announced that the following day was the last day to fly out anywhere, it was chaos, and he was at the airport for an entire day trying to change his flight to come to the US. He was not able to. Now he is stuck in Lima till who knows when.

    American airlines told me May 6th is when they might restart flights…

  60. I think what’s disappointing to me is the number of folks that go ahead and fly out on an International trip against arguably “better judgment” because they have “so been looking forward to their Trip”. Some leave the USA full well knowing it could be dicey and that’s just fine if you’re truly (seriously) prepared to remain in that Country to ride out the Storm. However, once they get stuck in another Country (or Region) I believe they selfishly expect (and demand) that the US State Department needs to get them home. As such, they have simply made themselves a part of the problem . . . whereas the solution was to get back home immediately or if applicable (time-wise), not fly out of the USA at all until this “Global” issue subsides significantly.

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