Virginia Tech expert weighs in on travel do’s and don’ts amidst coronavirus outbreak

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7)— As concern of growth of coronavirus, so do questions about travel safety.

If you’re booking a trip abroad in the coming months, be sure to read the fine print on cancellation and insurance policies, because a lot of times something like coronavirus is not covered.

According to Nancy McGehee of the hospitality and tourism department at Virginia Tech, airline companies are bracing for the worst.

“The airline industry could potentially lose 100 billion dollars as a result of this, and it is a long-term versus a short-term impact,” McGehee said.

She said domestic travel is fine for now, but internationally, we need to be constantly checking the CDC’s and WHO’s websites.

“The issue is changing day to day and minute by minute,” McGehee said. “Don’t rely on your Facebook friends, but rely on folks that are much smarter than me that know how the virus is moving and can give us where that’s concerned.”

Know your rights as a traveler. Find out your airline’s cancellation policy and whether your travel insurance covers the coronavirus.

“It really is case by case and it depends on sort of the level of need in terms of travel as well,” she said.

McGehee said we shouldn’t be afraid to travel.

“Because of past events that are similar to this, the industry is prepared and is ready to do what they need to do,” she said. “We do have that hope as spring comes to the northern hemisphere that it will subside.”

If you are abroad and happen to get stuck because of an outbreak, McGehee says the U.S. Embassy will be your best bet to find out how to get back home.

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