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Everything you need to know about booking cheap flights right now (Hint: Don't do it.)

By Kyle Valenta, Oyster.com on

Published in Fashion Daily News

If you're an avid traveler, chances are you've seen plenty of cheap flights in the past few weeks. As COVID-19 continues to have wide-reaching effects across all aspects of life, airlines are slashing prices in hopes of enticing travelers. For people with travel dreams, these deals can be incredibly enticing. However, there is a lot to consider before you hand over your credit card number and make a booking - and these questions involve everything from protecting your investment to the public health risk you pose by taking a leisure trip right now. Read on for everything you need to know about travel deals in the age of COVID-19.

Flight prices are cheap and dropping fast

It's impossible to ignore bargains on flights right now. Routes that historically cost several hundred dollars to well over $1,000 can be had for 25% to 30% less in many cases (and sometimes even cheaper than that). Domestic flights are also available at bargain prices now, with transcontinental trips averaging 14% cheaper during the openings weeks of March, according to Hopper. Certain routes were offered at even steeper discounts.

Travel restrictions are expanding - rapidly

While you may be able to snag an incredibly low fare, you should be aware that new travel restrictions are emerging around the globe daily. As of March 13, the United States Department of State gave the entire globe a Level 3 travel warning. This equates to "Reconsider Travel." That designation aside, you'll also have to contend with new policies that are announced every day. As of March 16, the U.S. no longer allows travelers from Europe and the U.K. to come into the U.S. for a period of 30 days. Israel and India have both closed their borders to any foreigners, as have many countries in continental Europe and Latin America. The signs are that this trend will continue, despite the WHO questioning its efficacy in stemming the spread of COVID-19.

You could be a vector of infection

 

We know that COVID-19 affects different populations differently. Those with underlying health conditions and those over the age of 60 are at highest risk of dying from the disease or developing severe complications. This is made worse by the fact that asymptomatic cases have been reported, and thousands of cases go untested because mild symptoms so readily mimic a cold (or because countries lack the ability to test at scale). In areas of active community spread, you have no true way of knowing if you are carrying the virus without being tested, and thus risk spreading it to people who are a higher risk than yourself of developing severe illness. What's more? By potentially spreading the infection, you're increasing the likelihood that any given area's health care system could be overwhelmed by a sudden influx of cases.

You may get stuck abroad without being evacuated

As the U.S. travel restrictions from Europe were announced on March 11, confusion rapidly set in among American tourists who were currently abroad. The U.S. State Department stated that it will not always evacuate U.S. citizens if they are stuck in an area experiencing a crisis. While there were large evacuations from Wuhan, China, and for the passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, these are the exception and not the rule. The situation is rapidly unfolding and subject to changes and abrupt cancellations at any time. You may very well be stuck abroad, and if you get sick, will have to navigate already overburdened health care systems.

You will likely be quarantined - upon landing, returning or both

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