KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- As new cases of the coronavirus continue to be confirmed in more states across the United States and in different countries, travel is becoming more and more unpredictable.
Prices are plunging for flights, cruises and even hotels.
“Because everyone is afraid to fly and because there are so many cancellations, airfare has gone way down, both domestically and international,” Kansas City based travel blogger Mally Walker said.
Walker plans group trips all over the world and has quite the following on her Broke Girl Travel blog.
“Right now is the perfect time to buy flights,” she said.
She just bought a flight to Cape Town, South Africa.
“My flight was pretty cheap. I booked it at the last minute. I got a great deal and I’m hoping the whole row is empty and I get to lay down and take advantage of the extra space on the flight,” she said.
Most major airlines are wavering change fees for the time being due to the pandemic, so Walker says you have nothing to lose by booking.
“If you purchase a flight, you’re either going to get to go on your cheap flight and go on your vacation, or you’re going to be able to change your flight and there’s no fee,” she said. “So, it works out in your favor either way.”
Things are not so simple in the cruise industry.
Jayme Moore and her boyfriend booked a Mexico cruise on the carnival panorama in October.
After a successful trip, they were supposed to disembark the ship Saturday morning in Long Beach, California. But they were held up at the dock due to a medical emergency.
“Every 30 minutes or so they would say no update, no update. Then they told us the CDC was getting involved and they wanted to double check and make sure there wasn’t a case of the virus on the boat,” Moore said.
Passengers were finally allowed off the ship Sunday morning, 24 hours after Moore was scheduled to begin the long drive back to Kansas City. The ordeal was nerve-wracking considering she is set to start a new job on Tuesday.
“I think we were all just nervous. Because I figured we’d been on this boat for a week with everybody. So, if someone had it, we probably all had it,” she said.
Moore will likely wait to cruise again until the pandemic is contained, but says she understands why some others would see the benefits of traveling for cheap.
Walker said she’s had a few clients cancel plans for her group trips due to coronavirus concerns but has also had a lot of people reach out about planning a trip due to lower costs.
“I hope that people get to scratch some expensive places off of their bucket list,” Walker said.
The CDC is discouraging older adults and people with underlying health issues from any kind of travel. The agency’s website has a page where you can see the travel advisories regarding COVID-19 for every country in the world.
If you are planning an international trip, the State Department recommends enrolling in their Smart Traveler Program which will send updates from the U.S Embassies where you are heading.