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Coronavirus, Travel, & Social Responsibility

I’ve gotten a lot of heavy criticism from subscribers stating that I’m irresponsibly encouraging travel during this critical time and I wanted clear a couple of things up for anyone who might feel the same.

One of many responses

To be clear:

I completely agree with the social distancing that is going on. Given what we know about the highly contagious aspect of COVID-19 – I agree that – even if we aren’t showing signs of being sick – we have a social responsibility to avoid crowds and unnecessary travel in March (possibly April). If you still feel that the shutdowns are an overreaction – two of the most compelling articles I read are this one about Philadelphia vs St Louis’s response to the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, and this more recent one from the New York Times about Italy.

HOWEVER…

“The JGOOT Way” of travel has never been about last-minute travel, and we’re certainly not encouraging last-minute travel now.

“The JGOOT Way” of travel is about two things: Planning ahead by looking for deals every day, and being flexible to take advantage of those deals.  Those are the two most important pillars of affordable travel, and they’re even more important given these current events.

In fact…

If you like to travel without breaking the bank – you’re missing out on the best deals of this decade if you’re not watching for future travel deals now.

That’s what everyone else is doing, and two things are going to happen as a result:

  1. The very second scientists get a hold of this virus, people will resume their travels again. But the damage to the airline and hotel industries will already be done.  There will be few good travel deals for those who react quickly enough, but the surge in demand will cause prices to skyrocket higher than they’ve been in a long time, and they’ll remain that way for a while to come.
  2. The people who are watching for deals right now will snatch up Summer, Fall, even 2021 Winter trips – and those trips will likely be the most affordable trips they’ve ever taken in their lives.

So am I encouraging unnecessary travel in the next month? Absolutely not.  (In fact, we canceled plans for two trips in March, and if necessary – we’re prepared to cancel a trip we booked for May.)

But am I going to discourage my subscribers from watching for future trips that could very well be the most affordable trips they ever take?

Hellllll no.

Sure – sit the rest of March out. And if you book a trip in April or May, make sure it can be canceled or changed.  But if you’d like to take a vacation this Summer, Fall, or even winter – the time to watch for those deals is right now.

My Two Cents:

At this point – Coronavirus has the potential of doing the same thing to the airline industry in 2020 that 2008 did to the auto industry. (But instead of encouraging Americans to buy cars to stimulate the economy, I predict that politicians will start encouraging us to get back on planes and start staying at hotels again.) However, by the time they start telling us to do that – prices will have already skyrocketed. Everyone dreaming of affordable travels will have to push those dreams off even farther.

Mark my words: There will be a small group of people who will be at the forefront of re-stimulating the economy by traveling after we side-step a Coronavirus disaster. It will be the people who booked their late April through January trips in the next 30 to 45 days.

In summary:

Should you travel in the month of March? Not unless you absolutely have to.

Should you be looking for future travel deals every single day during the month of March and April? Abso-freakin-lutely.