Coronavirus: How It Is Affecting My Travel Plans To Mexico For 'Spring Break'?

So, this year (2020), we decided to visit Mexico to see the Chichen Itza pyramids. Our plans were made during my yearly India trip in October 2019 (much before the coronavirus outbreak happened) and since then we had started making all the reservations, i.e. flight tickets, hotels, local tours, etc. Based on our Mexico travel dates, my parents also booked their flight to the US. They arrived here in February when the coronavirus news was still at a nascent stage. However, since last week, both coronavirus and news about it have suddenly spread like a wildfire.

With over 3000 people dead worldwide, a lot of countries have issued travel bans. This has led to airlines and cruises canceling their routes. Therefore, we are wondering whether we should opt out of going to Mexico even though there are just twelve confirmed cases of Covid-19 there. Moreover, the U.S. State Department has maintained its Level 1 travel advisory- exercise normal precautions- for most of Mexico. Likewise, the CDC has maintained its Level 1- practice usual precautions- for Mexico. While there are no restrictions in place as a result of the wordwide outbreak but as you know, things could change overnight. 

How Coronavirus Is Affecting My Travel Plans To Mexico For 'Spring Break'?

What worries me is that the virus breaks out in Mexico at the time of our visit which in turn leads to the US imposing a travel ban and/or Mexico announces a lockdown. If that happens we could be stuck there indefinitely. This would affect my husband's office, my parent's return flight to India, them running out of prescription medications for their existing ailments. Also what if we get infected, which would lead to additional expenses for extending our stay or for hospitalization, etc.  

I know that I sound very pessimistic at this time but I have to think about these things before traveling so I can understand whether or not to cancel our travel plans. 

To decide if I going to travel or cancel the trip, here is a list of what I am going to be doing:

  1. I am going to make a list of all my pre-paid bookings. This includes fights, hotels and the local tours.
  2. Of the above, I will identify the ones that are non-refundable or cancellable for a full/partial refund. I think the hotels and local tours can be cancelled for a full refund. 
  3. Next, I will be reaching out to the airlines and check if I can get a refund from them. As there are no travel bans in Mexico at present, I would imagine that the airlines are unlikely to allow me to cancel flights without a fee. Read my next post on 'How to cancel your flights due to the coronavirus outbreak?'
  4. Lastly, I am going to closely monitor updates and alerts from these websites for the current information on travel to Mexico. CDC travel FAQ's  | CDC list of travel destinations based on the assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area | Mexican Ministry of Health (in Spanish).

Should you cancel your spring break trip due to coronavirus?

Whether you cancel your trip or not is a matter of individual calculation. It depends on a number of factors such as is this trip absolutely essential? what is your travel destination? is it one of the level 3 countries? who all are the traveling? are the travelers senior? do they have pre-existing respiratory conditions? and more...need to be taken in to consideration for decision-making. The current situation is unpredictable and it is evolving quickly, therefore, having latest information is extremely important. Monitor WHO and CDC websites closely and regularly to assess the situation and arrive at a decision. 

If at all you have to travel, I strongly recommend the following:
  1. Buy Travel Insurance (something that I should have done) as in some cases, a trip cancellation insurance can protect your financial investment on a trip if you need to change your itinerary in the event of an international outbreak. 
  2. If you haven't booked your flight and hotel yet, then please pay more and buy refundable airfares and hotel rooms. 
  3. Pack extra two to three weeks of medicines.
  4. Doing things like wiping down surfaces on the airplane, not touching your face, and hydrating will make a difference.
  5. Practice standard hygiene protocols even if you are hitting the road.
How Coronavirus impacted your travel plans? 
Are you still unsure about whether you can or should travel now or in the near future? Tell me about your situation and you can be a guest writer on Spoken Query.