You don’t have to read very far, or watch the news too long, before you are struck with headlines associated with the corona virus. This fast moving virus has been trending for several weeks, and many fear the worst is yet to come. The largest industry on the planet (known as the travel industry) is bracing to take a hit due to concerns about virus transmission and spread. Particularly because of confined space in the airplane and train cabins. While travel, for many, conjures up images of idyllic sand swept beaches and bustling urban cultural centers, these vacationing pleasures may soon be cast aside as the population places more priority on their health and wellness than flying away to an exotic land.

It has been argued that people are panicking for no real reason. Traveling, for example, has always had its risks – not only related to health, but in terms of crime or weather for example. This is true. Yet, how can a person prepare for a long awaited vacation if they are booked to travel, particularly internationally, within the near future? I know I am personally thinking about this as I am set to travel internationally in less than 3 months – with the intention to volunteer while stopped in a few destination cities.

  1. Decide if traveling is worth the health risk. First, consideration must be made for your final (or multiple) destination(s). But perhaps often overlooked is the transportation carrier you will use to get there. We’ve seen the horror stories associated with the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantine and many people have been scared off from booking or stepping foot on a ship (even though I am am using this medium to go from one destination port to another at the end of May). While I am not concerned at this point about virus transmission while on route to (and back from) my port destination and the ship environment itself, I am vigilant in keeping informed about what might happen from now and until then.
  2. If you decide to go, know your Plan B. If you do decide to embark on your trip, know what your Plan B is all along the way. Often people are stressed and worried because they do not plan for the “just in case.” No one wants to be quarantined in a foreign country, for example! But if this highly unlikely scenario arises or you find yourself stranded in another place, knowing you have extras of your life-sustaining medications with you, for example, is helpful by lessening the stress of the situation. When I travelled to Tanzania three years ago for a total of 6 weeks, I took a small suitcase full of snacks/meal replacements my body is used so I could ease into the local food scene. Knowing I had access to my tiny store at any time was tremendously comforting to me!
  3. Always stay updated on current affairs on several news outlets. Before, during and after your trip, you should always keep updated as to what is going on. This means reading and watching several news channels! While you may have a favorite news channel or outlet, it is wise to read/watch information from several sources. I always check multiple sources of information (with priority given to reputable sites) because this alleviates possible bias and helps me form a better perspective as to what might “really be going on out there.”

While it is near impossible to avoid any risks associated with living/visiting any community, (local crime is real, for example) a person should be aware of world events and take proper precautions to be as safe possible. Being aware and prepared is a good way to navigate a community crisis, particularly with a global health epidemic tracking across the world. Risks are something we should all prepare for regardless if we are traveling in the near future or just staying home.

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