Should I still travel to the US for my holiday or work trip?
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At TPG, whilst we are not medical experts, we follow the very latest developments in the coronavirus situation and use our expert travel knowledge, combined with the advice of the real medical experts to assist you in making travel decisions. While we can’t tell you whether or not to travel, we can help you with some things to consider.
The current pandemic has led to a quagmire of rules, restrictions and advisories, many of which are changing by the hour. If you have a trip planned to the U.S.A. in the coming days and weeks, we are here to cut through the noise.
The latest Europe to US travel restrictions
Following the announcement this week by President Trump banning travel by foreign nationals to the U.S. from some European countries, most foreigners who have visited a Schengen Area country, Iran or mainland China in the past 14 days will not be allowed to enter the United States from midnight on Friday 13 March. As of today, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are excluded from the ban.
The situation could quickly change, but right now, you must start your journey in the U.K. or Ireland and must not have visited any of the Schengen Area counties in the past 14 days, or else the ban will apply to you. These counties include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The restrictions do not apply to “legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation”, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
I’m not caught by the restrictions, now what?
What is the purpose of your visit?
You may be eligible to enter the U.S., but will your trip still be worth it? This may depend heavily on your ultimate destination. Various containment zones are rolling out across the U.S.A. Washington State appears to be particularly heavily locked down with a ban on gatherings and events of more than 250 people in some counties in an effort to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak according to local news sites.
This may be particularly key if the reason for your visit is a sport or music event, or an industry conference. These types of events may well have been cancelled. For example, the curtain is down on Broadway shows in New York City, and all Disney parks are now closed.
It is very important to visit local government and news websites for the latest information on the restrictions of specific states, cities and counties, as they differ greatly and change regularly. From there, you can make an informed decision on whether there is any point in still travelling.
Can you still get there?
As the new restrictions come into play, there are likely to be a swathe of flight cancellations. Many European airlines such as Air France, Finnair, Norwegian, SAS and Lufthansa have slashed U.S. routes. U.S. airlines are also following suit with American Airlines announcing major European flight suspensions, along with Delta and United.
American Airlines, for example, has reduced its services from London Heathrow to Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth and New York JFK.
You should check in with your travel agent or airline to ensure that your flight will operate. If you decide to still travel and your flight is cancelled, your airline should help with rebooking on available routes.
Are you showing symptoms?
Anyone showing symptoms of coronavirus should follow the advice of their local health organisations, and this will almost always preclude travelling.
Arm yourself with knowledge
Before making a decision, arm yourself with lots of information to ensure your choices are well-considered. These articles will help:
- Complete guide to travelling during the deadly coronavirus outbreak
- Coronavirus: Is my airline waiving change fees or cancelling flights?
I’m going, how do I travel safely?
Once you have weight up all the facts, you may still decide to travel. You should still exercise caution if you choose to do so. You should carefully follow the advice of public bodies like the World Health Organisation, the NHS and Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Take extra caution with washing hands, touching surfaces, being in contact with other people and cleaning aeroplane seats and surrounding areas.
It is also important to ensure you have the right travel insurance policy that will protect you if you need to cancel your trip, whether by choice or not. It will also be vital in the event that your fall sick and require medical or other assistance. Medical care in the U.S. can be eye-wateringly expensive, and so this sort of protection is of utmost importance.
Many people will no longer be eligible to travel to the US from Europe, but for those who are there are many more considerations at play. Can you actually still get there, and is there still a purpose to your visit?
If you decide to defy the increasing lockdown on global travel, please stay safe and do share your experiences with us.
Featured image by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy
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