Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu and travel woes

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a Phase 5 for the outbreak of the current swine flu situation, the second highest in its threat scale. This means that a pandemic could be imminent unless there is drastic improvement in the next few days. This will also mean that there will be uncertainty in the travel plans of many holiday makers especially those travelling to places where there are confirm cases of swine flu.

Since travellers normally make plans months ahead of their travel, they are always wary of such sudden change of events. These will fall into three main categories - natural causes, man-made causes and those in between. The first will include natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, hurricanes and other sudden adverse weather conditions. The second will include terrorist attacks, demonstrations and other political unrests. The last case will include this current swine flu outbreak which occurs in nature but propagated by humans.

When any of these events strike, the hapless traveller will be caught in long queues in the airport because of tighten checks and screenings and delays in their flight. Worst still, they may become a suspect and found himself detained or quarantined and there goes his holiday plans.

I still have about 20 more days before I start my holiday in Turkey. What do I do now? Cancel my trip early and get some refund or just wait and proceed as planned? Will it then be too risky? I suppose it is still early to make any decision since there could be two possible scenarios. First, the situation will improve and I will be able to travel as planned or alternatively it can become so bad that all unnecessary travel will be banned and I will be grounded. So all I can do now is just sit tight, wait and hope for the best and maybe let the travel agency make the decision.

I suppose it is not so bad if things happened after you have started your trip as you would probably just carry on unless it is something so bad that you need to turn back. It is actually harder to decide if you have not started since the choice is entirely yours. So while waiting for the next development, I will post on my previous travel to Eastern Europe and hope that I will have my travel memories of Turkey when the time comes.

Here are just some teasers from my Eastern European trip.

Budapest, Hungary

Bratislava, Slovakia

Prague, Czech Republic

Scenic Austria

Ronald Kwok

No comments: