Is It Safe to Travel Anywhere Right Now?

Is it safe–or even legal–to travel anywhere right now? The Wall Street Journal just published a comprehensive guide that should answer just about all your travel-related questions, such as:

  • Is there any place abroad that’s safe to travel right now? In a nutshell, no. The novel coronavirus has spread to more than 100 countries and every continent except for Antarctica. In March, the U.S. State Department issued its sternest warning against international travel.
  • Are there any guidelines for traveling domestically? There are currently no nationwide travel restrictions, but the CDC cites several reasons to avoid or delay trips. Among them: “Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase chances of getting COVID-19.”
  • Should I avoid flying altogether? Health authorities, including the CDC, maintain that the risk of infection on airplanes is low. That may be even truer now that most flights are far less than half full. And contrary to popular belief, cabin air is less of a concern; virtually all international jetliners are equipped with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, similar to those used in hospital operating room, capable of blocking more than 99 percent of airborne microbes.
  • If I have to fly, should I wear a mask? After extensive debate among health officials, the CDC revised its recommendation and now advises everyone, feeling ill or not, to wear a cloth face-covering when you might not be able to stand—or sit—at least 6 feet apart from another individual. Face masks, or even cloth coverings, might not be a fail-safe, but they can help reduce transmission.
  • Are there any “safe” vacations I can plan? Health experts caution against traveling now, even via domestic road trips. Instead, take a cue from Jerry Seinfeld, who recently announced on Instagram that he’d be postponing his shows at New York City’s Beacon Theater, adding, “Let’s do this another time when we can relax and enjoy it a lot more.”
  • When will it be safe to travel again? What are the odds that we’ll still be housebound this summer? The short answer is: It depends on whom you ask. No one really knows for sure and predictions vary wildly. Based on reports that China is slowly reopening, however, travel industry leaders, such as Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson, have been cautiously optimistic that at least some major hotel properties will be up and running again by summer.