I’m not going to beat around the bush: if you are currently traveling or staying abroad, come home quickly!
That’s what Audrey, the kids and I will be doing in the next few days. And it’s really not with joy that we prematurely end our 5 months mini-tour of the world which will have lasted only 3 and 1/2. Believe me. But unlike others, we were lucky to get away. So all is not lost.
I was one of those, surely carefree, who thought that COVID-19 was just a flu. Something that would not affect us, young and healthy. Without necessarily thinking about the fact that we could be vectors of this disease, putting weaker people at risk.
Then, gradually, as we saw the countries closing in on each other, but even more so as we saw the strength with which the virus hit Italy, then France, then all the European countries: our plans gradually changed. 4 times to get to the obvious: we have to go back.
With the family.
And isolate ourselves in quarantine as soon as we arrive.
Things are heating up: Canada has issued an official global travel warning:
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
While this notice should make it easier for you to cancel and apply for travel insurance(such as credit card insurance), it also implies a change in the dynamics of managing this crisis and your future travel.
Some insurance companies now indicate:
As of March 13, 2020, if you are traveling outside of Canada and there is a travel warning to avoid “all travel” or “non-essential travel” for all destinations outside of Canada at the time of your departure, you will not be covered by emergency medical insurance for an illness or injury related to the coronavirus
For example, if you are traveling to Hawaii on May 10, 2020, and there is an international travel avoidance or non-essential travel warning in place at that time, you would not be covered for an illness or injury related directly or indirectly to the coronavirus, but other medical emergencies might be covered, such as breaking your leg while surfing.Tugo
While other insurers are now relying on this to opt out of all coverage 10 days after the official warning on March 13, 2020. If you stay abroad beyond that date, you may not be covered by your insurance.
If a travel warning is issued after departure, health insurance coverage for that destination is limited to 10 days from the date the travel warning or official notice is issued, or for any period reasonably necessary for you to safely evacuate the country, region or area in question.RSA Group
And now, Ottawa will limit the ports of entry to Canada to 4 airports: Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, advised travellers to return
“by commercial means while they are still available”.
We would never prevent a Canadian from returning to Canada. But it’s important to know that the airlines will be making decisions in the coming days or weeks that could make this difficult.Justin Trudeau
Drastic reduction in the supply of seats
And this is already the case: all airlines have cut many flights due to lack of demand. SAS and Austrian have suspended all operations until further notice. Norwegian laid off 90% of its employees and cancelled all its long-haul flights.
Air France would reduce its operations by nearly 90%, American by 75%.
Closing of many borders
And this is without counting the progressive closure of many borders.
During the last few weeks, we wanted to continue our trip while making sure we were in a country with good medical facilities… just in case.
One of our first options was to go to France (before it became a major focus in Europe). But many countries have begun to ban entry to anyone who has passed through France in the last 14 days.
Our second option was to go to the Dubai area to stay with friends for a month. This option closed very quickly on us, the Emirates refusing to issue any new visa, the day before our expected arrival!
Little by little, we have seen the doors close and the Government’s advice has only confirmed this: we must return as soon as possible. If the situation were to drag on, it could quickly become problematic by being caught abroad, with diminishing financial resources and possibly health concerns not covered by insurance! In addition, a country will seek first to protect its citizens before helping foreigners on its territory.
In short, it appeared that the only smart thing to do was to go home. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of the largesse offered by the airlines and hotels to change our plans.
We were able to change our Aeroplan ticket 4 times, without any charge (but after long waits each time),
And many community members have used points & miles to return home without having to pay huge sums of money. For example, Gautier showed us how Aeroplan Miles can help in this type of situation:
Travelers and temporary residents abroad (hello Snowbirds): come home while you still can.
And when you arrive, think of the others: put yourself in a“fourteen“! During this period, you can, for example, take the opportunity to improve your knowledge by reading milesopedia! Or by exchanging virtually with other members of the community!