While media coverage of the fast-spreading Coronavirus, referred to as COVID-19, continues to intensify, many travelers’ concerns have begun to grow about planning their future trips. Here at Yampu, we are vigilant of the current situation in the countries we operate tours in, and we also recognize everyone’s concerns and wish to put travelers at ease.
From car to airport to plane to baggage claim, keeping yourself and your space clean is essential to avoid any unwanted illnesses, regardless of the season. To do so, simply keep travel-friendly hand sanitizer on you along with sanitizing wipes. Airlines like Delta are taking measures to ensure healthy flying with new fogging procedures in their cleaning process, how they sanitize aircraft between flights, and how they respond if a customer is displaying symptoms. Although cabin crews take cleaning their aircraft very seriously, and COVID-19 only survives on surfaces for 30 minutes or so, it doesn’t hurt to wipe down your armrests, screens, or other surfaces while you prepare for takeoff.
Here are some other helpful tips to avoid illness while on a plane.
If you cannot find hand sanitizer in store, make your own!
Mix 2/3 cups rubbing alcohol, 1/3 cup aloe vera gel, and add a little essential oil of your choice for fragrance.
Keep the air above your seat on.
Contrary to belief, air on an airplane is quite clean and should be circulated. According to Ask the Pilot, nearly 99.9 percent of airborne microbes are captured in a plane’s filter system. Thankfully, COVID-19 is not airborne but passes through droplets.
Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and sodas.
Airplanes tend to dry your sinuses, allowing easier access for the germs.
Take a nap!
Sleeping makes it easier for your body to fight viruses.
Don’t touch your face.
This point is important. The virus goes in through your nose and mouth, so don’t help it get there!
Ask at the counter if there are any empty rows you can switch to.
A bit extreme, but if you are feeling uncomfortable sitting close to others, it never hurts to ask.
If possible, book business class or get on a list for an upgrade
Not only will you have extra room, you won’t be near as many passengers as in economy.
We are pro-active to show our clients we are also taking precautions on the ground all around the world by briefing our guides, drivers & operations support team on how to keep our travelers healthy during their trips.
Guides and drivers are asked to stay home if they are showing any signs of illness
Our swift operations team is always in touch and will immediately organize suitable replacements.
Local Hygiene Practices
We offer hand sanitizers to clients or offer to bring them to a local shop to purchase some. We remind clients to wash their hands as often as possible, especially before a meal.
Flexibility with itineraries
As always, Yampu is flexible with custom made itineraries and can make any adjustments for your comfort. From replacing activities in crowded places with secluded nature experiences to rerouting your itinerary entirely.
Yampu Co-Founder Monica goes into detail about a recent itinerary update due to the virus.
Yampu Travelers, Imran and Casey were headed to Vietnam, flying via Seoul, Korea. We felt great about their travel there since, at that time, Vietnam’s cases of the virus had gone down and they had been one of most strict countries protecting its citizens. Some flights had been canceled because Korea had a recent surge in cases, but monitoring their flight, it was still ok, so they continued on. During their flight, Vietnam had changed their rules stating that anyone coming in from Seoul would be quarantined! So Yampu’s emergency team advised the two to fly into Bangkok instead while their Yampu Travel Expert began designing a new adventure for them in Thailand and Laos for their arrival.
Luckily, Yampu was swift and negotiated with every hotel, transportation and guides in Vietnam to have the two’s payment applied to them making a trip in 2021. They were so happy traveling Thailand and Laos this week that they decided to not return home, but to continue their voyages into Africa. From Kenya they wrote;
‘Monica, Imran and I are upset. You’ve made it impossible for either of us to take a normal vacation now. This is too amazing 😊’
Don’t Live in Fear and Have Peace of Mind
The information on the Coronavirus changes daily and Yampu is here to keep travelers who choose to decide to travel safe by updating itineraries as needed to protect your investments. It’s worth noting that the World Health Organization says that restricting the movement of people “is ineffective in most situations” and that restrictions “may disrupt businesses, and may have negative social and economic effects…” Ultimately, the decision to travel is up to the traveler who should consider their own circumstances.
Yampu’s travel experts continue to quench their thirst for adventure and have noted that airports are operating as usual. Yampu Co-Founder, Jose recently returned from a fun-filled ski trip in Switzerland, and Yampu Groups Coordinator, Stephanie will be exploring the wonders of Italy this month (sanitizer in hand, of course). You can take a look at their suggested destinations to visit during this time for fun-filled seclusion away from the crowds.
For those who are looking to travel but are still wary, Yampu also offers Cancel For Any Reason Trip Insurance up to 21 days after booking. Many airlines are also offering to waive fees for those who wish to reschedule their flights, some as late as December 2020. Yampu travelers have a similar option with their bookings during this time and can rebook for a different date at no additional cost up to 30 days before their departure.
Why it’s Actually a Good Time to Book Travel
For the devoted world traveler, now is actually a good time to plan your next trip. Those who are price shopping can save a lot of money through the numerous deals being offered by both top airlines, preferred hotels and luxury lodges.
Take advantage of these unique offers and plan that dream trip you’ve been wanting to go on or book multiple trips going to destinations you may have not even thought of while prices are at an all-time low and crowds are at a minimum. Ask our travel experts for good places to weather the storm and take a look at their top trips for spring break for inspiration! For those who want to travel, we highly suggest destinations with fun outdoor activities away from groups of people like Costa Rica, Peru, and Argentina.
Things to Keep in Mind
Always assess your own personal circumstances when deciding to travel. If you have a comprised immune system or work closely with children or the elderly, play it safe. However, if you don’t find yourself in these categories, understand taking the standard precautions can be enough to keep you healthy and able to enjoy your destination to its fullest.
As far as the Coronavirus, information is coming in every day, with a lot of it being sensationalized. The risk of being infected with the virus is low, and, according to Harvard Medical School, it is weaker than the Flu. The most dangerous aspect of COVID-19 is the panic surrounding it. Many local businesses within our destinations depend heavily on tourism and risk suffering financially due to the hype. They are parents, couples, individuals, passionate lovers of special places – who want to continue to provide for their families, staff and community during these uncertain times.
A Message from Yampu Co-Founder, Jose Irauzqui
The situation at hand should be taken seriously by those with underlying health conditions. However, those who are healthy and take the proper measures to avoid any illness like the flu or the current virus should certainly take advantage of the unique travel opportunities stemming from this apprehension. Travelers can experience the world and book trips with no restrictions or obligations at some of the lowest rates we’ve seen in some time.
To summarize, take the usual precautions with common handwashing etiquette while traveling, avoid touching your face, revert from crowds of people with fun outdoor activities within your destination, and know that your friendly tour operator is there for you while you make new travel memories. We want your trip to be perfect, but rest assured that when things do not cooperate, The Yampu Team is there.