Travel in the Time of COVID-19

A Slow Nomads update – 15 March 2020

We had been home from Portugal for less than one month (we returned 01 November 2019) and our plans for 2020 were already made. This time the destination was the French city of Tours in the Loire Valley, 250 km (155 mi) southwest of Paris, and we would be there for three months. By 25 November 2019, after quite a bit of research, we had finished booking our flights and apartments.

Though we had purchased travel insurance, it was for medical needs and potential evacuation only. The cost for “cancelation for any reason” coverage was far too expensive and would likely only reimburse 50% of our trip costs. However, as we have done in the past we could self-insure and absorb our losses.

As the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic increased, the wisdom of travel to Europe, or anywhere, came into question. We waited to cancel our flights and accommodations. As the situation turned more serious we anticipated that our flight would be canceled and allow us to recover the payments that had been made.

We were initially less concerned about contracting the virus than the possibilities of being subject to closures and restrictions, or worse, being unable to return back to the USA if the need were to arise. Equally importantly, we didn’t want to burden the community where we would be living – whether we got ill or not – if the situation deteriorated. Our presence would not be helpful.

The definitive decision to not go to France was made about two weeks before our scheduled departure date of 21 March 2020. We did not cancel our reservations at that time, but waited until our flight was canceled by the airline with a full refund about a week later, thus allowing us to get a refund on our accommodations as well.

As France ordered the closing of about everything the rest of the world loves about it, we knew our decision was correct. Our Florida home will provide a safe place to hunker down to wait out this disease.

Hopefully, we will be able to avoid becoming infected ourselves. We will be following the advice of the medical and scientific communities. At the same time we will do what we can to support and assist our friends, family, and neighbors wherever in the world they may be.

Wherever you are, take care of yourselves, your loved ones, and your neighbors. Use recommended hygiene techniques, don’t yield to panic, avoid blindly trusting in social-media (or propagating false narratives) by fact-checking your information, trust medical and scientific experts, be patient, and take care of each other.

Chris and Jeannie

PS – There are many photographs of Portugal and many stories still to be written. We hope that you will still join us on this blog in the future and, for the time being, even if we all are staying home we can travel virtually.

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. We have traveled to India, nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos Vietnam, each time purchasing ‘cancel for any reason’ insurance from Roamright (Arch insurers). Twice we had to request refunds for the entire value of the trip (for medical reasons) and they paid every last penny.

    In the current situation, airlines have been either refunding the cost of flights or issuing vouchers valid for a year.

    Let’s hope that next year will see you in Tours. We did a tour around the south of France, through les Alpes Maritimes, and across the south. Especially liked Arles and Avignon.

  2. I heard that Bigfoot is the cause of this virus because he never washes his hands (so far, this has not been verified).

  3. Looking forward to the next time I will see a photo of your backpack on FB.
    Your travels are so much a part of all our lives.
    In the meantime, birthday raincheck roadtrip before then!
    Love & well-being to you both.

  4. Will miss you travels but a very well reasoned and wise decision.

    1. We will travel again! Stay well.

  5. Excellent notes and suggestions. We will all be happy when it is safe to travel again. Saw an interesting chart on the reasoning for shutting down early, best way to help our facilities take care of us.

    1. Yes, we all play a role in how damaging this is and the time it takes to slow it down. Let’s reflect on travels we’ve taken and appreciate how lucky we have been.

  6. Very sorry that you won’t be able to make this journey. But happy that you were able to successfully navigate the cancellations.
    Wishing you both good health and many more travels. Best, Pat

    1. As one of our regular followers who comment, your encouragement is much appreciated.
      What a situation the world is in right now. We all need to do our part to stop the progression and aid in the recovery.
      Stay well and keep in touch.

  7. Enjoy your beautiful home and this glorious weather. Take lotsa hikes (watch out for those snakes) and we’ll take more bike rides as we wait for some trip refunds to come our way too. I was going to write an appropriate haiku but I’ll leave that to you. Looking forward to it.

    1. I’m glad you were able to visit and we took some great walks. Very glad we avoided stepping on the cottonmouth snake!
      Enjoy your bike rides and time with your family. Travel will resume in the future. Take care.

  8. We also regretfully but sure of our decision cancelled our European river cruise. We look forward to another year when we take this trip, and see this crisis in hindsight! Meanwhile, I’m doing vocal lessons all over the globe, online only now. I’m seeing the videos of Italians making music for each other from their balconies, and an incredible surge in kindness in my own community with people asking and giving help like leaving bags of food on the front porch of those self-quarantined. Perhaps there is hope for the world yet! Glad you both are NOT at any airport right now!! xo

    1. It’s good to hear from you Judy, I hope to meet you at some point. For now we will all remain at home, helping and connecting with others as we can. Travel will resume when it can, and our continued adventures will help the people in and connected to the travel industry recover. For us, it is an inconvenience, but to many others it might be quite disruptive to their lives. And yes, this is not the time to be at an airport!
      Continue sharing love through music.

  9. In short: Take care, don’t panic, and check facts – we couldn’t agree more.

    Let’s embrace the changes life forces on us – we’ll see you virtually and later physically out there!

    Jette and Niels

    1. Agree, we will meet again somewhere during our travels. Since we started in 2014, you’ve joined us almost every year. We need to find a way to meet once travel is resumed, somewhere between here and Denmark!

  10. May your wisdom and common sense reach as many people as this nasty beast. We will have to be patient in this difficult period and hope that you will both be fine and back in business asap. Take care. All the best from Reunion.
    Maria and Jean-Marie

    1. It is so good to hear from you! We do hope that we meet again, once we all conquer this virus and life settles back down, though I do expect things will have changed…
      Stay well,
      Jeannie & Chris

  11. Staying safe in Canada too. Good health to all.

    1. Hi Sandy, it’s good to hear from you. We had been planning a trip out to the Calgary area in August, but we’ll see how that changes. And we were looking at a Gate 1 trip on the lower Danube for next spring…we’ll see. It would be nice to see you again as we travel. Stay in touch, and be well!

  12. Richard and I are glad your timing worked out so well. Relieved also that we had already decided to postpone our next trip even before the Coronavirus appeared. Stay well and I hope we’ll see you somewhere around the world in the Fall!

    1. We’re glad that you and Richard aren’t having to change/cancel travel plans. We’ll let you know when we plan another adventure; maybe we can meet.
      Take care, stay well.

  13. Thanks! I’m glad (and relieved) you’re close by!!

    1. Shalom always to y’all. I think that y’all made the right decision. You two stay in my heart.

      1. And you are always with us as we travel. Hope to see you for your birthday!

    2. Agree, let us know if you need anything!

  14. I have been waiting to hear what decision you have made. Was about to text Jeannie when I saw your email. The cancelled flight made the decision for you and it is a wise one. Glad you will be here. Take care and stay well.

  15. Well said – but we will also miss your travels!

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