Gambling with COVID Travel

The Wall Street Journal recently had an article titled “How to Play Travel Roulette”…and that certainly provoked a lot of thoughts on my planned and desired travel for 2022.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

Summary: With Omicron running rampant around the world, vaccinated or not as well as masked or not, it is hard to predict what might be possible in the next 3-6 months.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

What do we know so far?

  1. Major in-person conferences like the RSA Conference in San Francisco which was planned for February has been postponed and re-scheduled for June.
  2. Various local in-person venues and concerts at the Seattle Symphony are now being cancelled with one major artist (Itzhak Perlman) being postponed from late January until April.
  3. Cruise lines like Norwegian and Royal Caribbean are cancelling voyages until as long as April. On cruise was just cancelled in the middle of the cruise due to COVID!
  4. Looking at the CDC map, it appears that most countries risk are high or very high with the exception of India and China, two of the most populous nations.
  5. Major companies were all planning to allow people to return to the office in January and February and according to the WSJ, all those plans have been scrapped.
  6. Many airlines are now starting to cancel flights and routes. The points guy blog noted some this week already.
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

But on the good side, some airlines like Delta are providing much more ticket flexibility for changes, etc. Tour companies like Abercrombie and Kent have book with confidence flexibility.

What is next? How to make a choice? When could or should you plan travel?

It is appearing to best estimate a trip at the base of the infection curve based on the released UIUC model that was built based on the collected COVID infection data. What do I mean by that?

I am sure you do not like my simplistic drawing above, but take a look at this ABC article that shows the “waves” in Washington state. Once an outbreak starts, it takes about 2 months to reach its peak as per this NYT article. The decline starts from there.

You want to carefully estimate, and I hate to say “predict” on when you believe the Omicron wave will end and have a lull before the next wave starts. They seem to be very consistent over the past 2 years.

Now the waves to start and stop at slightly different dates by states and countries as noted in this article, so you also need to monitor and track that carefully on a per destination basis. It is starting to look it has peaked in the UK based on this article which was a few weeks ahead of the United States.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

Conclusion: if you need and want to travel in the upcoming months or summer, you will need to map out the current and expected upcoming waves and target your travel dates and destination carefully based on the COVID infection data to have the best “luck” in exploring and attending in a safe and open way.

This entry was posted in COVID-19, planning, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Gambling with COVID Travel

  1. JC says:

    In the past few weeks, I’ve been on six flights, numerous train and subway trips, stayed in several hotels, and took many Lyft rides. I remained masked the majority of the time, including during entire flights.

    I’ve tested myself along the way, including today, and have been negative each time. I’m drawing no conclusions from my experience, merely providing a data point for others.


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