The outbreak of the Coronavirus has led many people to decide to stay inside, avoid large gatherings and brace for the worst. Yet, what if we have travel planned? What if we only have a week or two of planned holiday time off that we must take? Where is it safe to travel during the Coronavirus outbreak and should one attempt travelling if it’s for tourism purposes?
Travelling to countries where the amount of cases is the highest such as China, Italy, Iran, or South Korea should most definitely be off your list if you can help it. These countries should be avoided at all costs in order to stop the spread, but international travel itself shouldn’t be considered dangerous especially to countries where there are fewer cases. If you are curious about where the epicentres are and what the numbers for Coronavirus COVID-19 cases are for each country, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University has created an interactive website so that anyone can track the outbreak across the world. A map shows the countries where there has been a confirmed case and several other helpful tools are listed on the website.
So, should I cancel my travel plans? No not exactly, there are plenty of cities and countries where the outbreak hasn’t reached or there isn’t a serious amount of cases. Just avoid overcrowded places and follow good health practices. The best places to travel during the outbreak include Portugal, South America, and Morocco.
In the last few years, Portugal has been gaining more recognition in the tourism industry. With beautiful beaches, seaside routes to explore and beautiful architecture in cities to admire, this European country has sparked the interest of a lot more tourists. There are only 59 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of March 11, 2020 and no deaths, which is why Portugal is one of the best getaway destinations for those wanting to escape the rainy spring season of northern Europe.
If you’ve never been to Portugal, the top two cities to visit include Lisbon and Porto, the former being the capital and the latter being the second largest city. Lisbon is the second-oldest European capital city which means that there is a lot of history and culture to absorb in the city centre. Porto is significantly smaller than Lisbon and has a quaint Mediterranean town feel all while having the conveniences of a larger city. Porto is known for its sweet dessert wines. The best way to get to know new cities is by doing a walking tour. OK Free Tour offers a handful of free walking tours in these two cities in Portugal that will help you get acquainted with their history and layout of the centres.
Yet if you want to stay out of cities, the beaches in south western Portugal are quite spectacular. The Faro district, the southernmost area of the country, is easily accessible from the capital by train, bus, or car and has many gorgeous beaches and resorts to offer its visitors.
Being that there are relatively few confirmed cases in South America, taking a holiday to Colombia, Peru, or Brazil might be just what you need. Take in a little bit of sun on a beach in Rio de Janeiro or go hiking in the Andes mountains in Peru for a thrilling experience. Stay away from capital cities as those are where most of the confirmed cases and travellers coming from high-risk areas will be conglomerated, just to stay safe. Smaller and lesser travelled cities may even be able to offer you the off the beaten path experience you need! Local cuisines, fewer tourists, and more contact with nature and cultural traditions isn’t such a bad trade-off.
The African continent has seen much less growth of the coronavirus spread. There have only been five confirmed cases in Morocco, which means that travelling to this exotic African country doesn’t incite concern. The capital city is Rabat, yet Casablanca is the largest city and easily the most visited by tourists along with Marrakech. Morocco also offers a unique blend of city-life, costal hideaways, and mountainous areas to explore which is why this diverse country should be on the top of anyone’s travel list despite the virus. Meandering through local spice markets or lounging on a sandy beach could be the perfect getaway for those seeking the best of both worlds.
As the fear of the virus spreads, try to remember that if you are travelling it is best to keep up with regular hygienic practices, especially while passing through large cities and largely populated areas. Yet don’t let that keep you from continuing to explore and experiencing new cultures. Be safe and stay healthy!