It’s impossible to ignore everything that is happening right now in the world with the media screaming coronavirus everywhere. And as a travel professional, I’m being asked a lot of questions about everything from the best kind of travel insurance to “Should I travel to Dublin?” So rather than post an article on a destination or travel experience, I thought I would address the elephant in the travel room: Covid19. But I’m actually going to look on the upside of coronavirus and list 10 GOOD things that might come out of this pandemic. Yes, you read right: 10 good things!
Don’t get me wrong: I am not making light of the seriousness of this pandemic, and my heart goes out to all the people who have actually suffered or even lost loved ones because of this disease. I’m just trying to see the glass as half full. Because there’s enough of the ‘half-empty’ glasses out there already. So let’s think about the good that may come out of coronavirus.
1. People will wash their hands more
Believe it or not, there are plenty of people out there who just don’t wash their hands even after using the bathroom. Yes, it’s true. So maybe with all the advice to wash your hands, more than just the coronavirus can be avoided. Even the spread of everyday flu may be reduced.
2. People will stay home when they are sick
You see them sneezing and snuffling on the subway, hear them coughing up a lung in their cubicle, the lunchroom, or the boardroom, and be honest, you probably try to avoid taking the chair next to them. Maybe after this, those employees AND their employers will recognize it is better for sick people to STAY HOME when they are sick! The same goes for travellers: travelling while sick is not fun for you, and certainly not good for people you meet. At the very least, maybe sick folks will adopt the habit that is common in many Asian countries: they’ll wear a mask if THEY are sick.
3. Airlines might actually CLEAN their planes
We’ve all read enough horror stories about people’s bad behaviour on planes, from putting their bare feet on tray tables and seats, to just being slobs in general. (Don’t get me started on what’s been found in seat pockets.) So maybe airlines will start to actually clean their planes more thoroughly after this coronavirus crisis passes. Wouldn’t that be nice?
4. Passengers may clean their own seat areas, too
I always bring anti-bacterial wipes along when I fly to clean my TV screen, tray table, seatbelt and armrests. (Sometimes I even do my neighbour’s!) If more people do this, it will help to stop the spread of germs of many types. So even if the airlines don’t do it, maybe travellers will.
5. You have time now to plan a bigger trip
If you are postponing travelling right now, this could be a good opportunity to plan your next bucket-list adventure. Many of these types of trips require a bit more planning to research the best time to go, which might actually be 8-12 months out from now. Take safaris, for example: if you want to see the great migration in Tanzania or Kenya, the best time is in February, so you can start planning that trip well in advance. Or if you want to hike to Machu Picchu, you’ll want to find out how far in advance you need to get your Inca Trail permit, which may be many months from now.
6. There will be travel deals to come
One of the biggest upsides to the coronavirus crisis is that when it is over (and yes, this too, will pass), I have no doubt there will be travel deals out there, since the travel industry will need to get people moving again. So keep your eyes open for those deals when they come – because I’m sure there will be some.
7. People will get travel insurance
I’ve always said you need to get travel medical insurance ANY time you travel, even between provinces in Canada, but some people don’t always heed this advice. In fact, an alarming number of travellers don’t get medical or travel insurance. Now, I think more people will.
8. People will actually READ their insurance policy
Having insurance is one thing, whether it is medical, trip cancellation or interruption, or even ‘cancel for any reason’ insurance. But now people may actually read their policy to see exactly what is covered, and what all the details and time frames are. They might also check travel advisories to countries on a more regular basis before booking travel, because a significant risk travel advisory is another reason why their insurance may not cover them, especially if the travel advisory was already in place when you booked your trip.
9. The medical community will see advancements
Whether it means more investment into medical research, preventative vaccines or improving procedures in medical facilities, I think there will be positive outcomes in the medical community following this outbreak. Our research and medical communities have brilliant people working within them, and there will be positive advancements that come out of this.
10. Over-tourism gets a much-needed pause
There has been a lot of pressure put on many destinations around the world because of over-tourism: crowding, resentment by locals, strain on infrastructure and resources, to name a few. With this pause in global travel, it is a moment for both destinations and travellers to rethink how they approach travel. This may mean people could start to choose smaller, less trafficked places to visit, spreading their travel dollars around more, (which would certainly be a welcome thing to be spreading…)
So there you have it…the upside of coronavirus
Maybe I’m being overly optimistic by talking about an upside to coronavirus, but I wanted to at least try to see the bright side amidst all the negativity in the news these days. Whether these ‘good things’ happen, or whether they last is not something I can guarantee, but I do know one thing: people are resilient, and we will come out of this. Hopefully better and wiser.