Travel Agent: Don't Let Coronavirus Cancel All Your Plans

San Diego-based agent says now is a good time to plan a trip, maybe not take one

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Cruise lines, or any other businesses, don't want to share a headline with the deadly virus that is forcing Americans to clear the shelves at Costco and cancel expensive vacations.

Yet, there she sits off the coast of San Francisco. The Grand Princess with almost 3,500 people on board. The Princess Cruises ship cannot dock until dozens of people are tested for the coronavirus. A passenger on the same ship during a cruise last month became the first Californian to die from the virus.

“It’s not an easy time, but this too will pass,” said travel agent Charlotte Goldstein of Charlotte’s Web of Travel.

Goldstein said she understood why people are hesitant to travel or cancel trips all together. However, she said she sympathizes with the cruise ship companies.

“It’s big business and it is a tough time,” she said. “The only one who seems to be profiting from all this is Costco.”

Charlotte Goldstein doesn’t want people to panic. She suggested now is the best time to capitalize on deals because the coronavirus fears are hurting the industry.

“The incentives are better than probably what they’re going to be any other time,” she said. “There are some great promotions the cruise lines and tour companies are offering to get you to book at this time.”

She said cruises are also leaving all the time on regular trips.

“There’s no warnings in the Caribbean. There’s no warnings in the United States. There’s no warnings in Northern Europe," she said.

“When we go through the screening process, it’s probably one of the safest places to be,” said San Diegan Victor Moore, who has a trip scheduled to Italy this summer.

Italy is one of the countries with a coronavirus warning.

“We’re watching it until we get to the point where we either have to go or we need to cancel,” said Moore.

“You just have to be careful but also you can’t just live in a state of paranoia either,” said Mississippi resident Tony Gray while on vacation in San Diego.

Goldstein agreed. She suggests purchasing travel insurance, but said people should also use common sense. Goldstein said companies won’t insure you if you head to a place with a current coronavirus warning. She equated it to trying to get travel insurance to the Caribbean two days before a trip when a hurricane is about to hit the island.

In light of the coronavirus, Goldstein said a lot of cruise lines, airlines, and hotels are working with travelers, not against them.

“Many of them are relaxing their cancellation terms," she said.

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