Lifestyle Travel

Should We Cancel Our Trip to Japan Because of the Coronavirus?

The cherry blossoms in full bloom in Yokohama (photo taken on our 2018 trip to Japan)

March 11, 2020 update

As we all become more knowledgeable about the coronavirus, my opinion about it and its effect on us and the world has changed. I no longer believe this is ‘not that bad’ (as I wrote in my article below).

I’ve written a new post to share the new knowledge I’ve gained. I’ve also listed resources in the post so you can also get informed and do your part to slow this pandemic down.

Read: The Coronavirus is a Bigger Deal Than I Thought

March 10, 2020 update

Sadly, we’ve decided to cancel our trip to Japan (you can read all about how we came to this decision below). 

In my follow-up post, How We Maximized Our Refunds After Cancelling Our Trip to Japan, I walk through how we’re getting over 90% of our money back.

Coronavirus hysteria

Normally, I follow the low-information diet à la Mr. Money Mustache. That means I consciously avoid ‘the news’ whenever possible. 

However, this little thing called the coronavirus has kept me ridiculously distracted in recent weeks. As much as I try to ignore it, I can’t! That’s because this outbreak has directly affected us. 

We’re going… no we’re not… wait, we are… maybe? 

As my regular readers know, we’d long-ago planned a trip to Japan for Spring Break. But over the last few weeks, I’ve flip-flopped countless times over our decision to cancel or go.

All these thoughts have been going through my head:

  • What if one or both of us get sick and need to be hospitalized in Japan?
  • What would happen to the kids? Would we have to fly someone over to get them home?
  • What about the language barrier? We can barely remember how to say hello and thank you in Japanese! How would we discuss tests and procedures with nurses and doctors?
  • What if we were quarantined in Japan, then again in Canada? Would we and the kids be able to miss that much work/school/life?
  • Could we afford the costs of a quarantine in Japan? (From what I’ve heard, we’d be on the hook for any expenses related to a quarantine.)
  • What about Mika? Would M’s uncle and aunt be able to look after her for another 2–4 weeks if we were quarantined?
  • What if everything’s closed when we’re in Japan? It would be a very expensive trip, just to end up stuck in our Airbnbs!
  • Do we really want to go on a trip where we’ll have to be constantly vigilant?
  • What about the overall vibe in Japan? The country will be in a cautious, semi-lockdowned state. Will the sombre atmosphere ruin our trip?

What happens if we cancel?

We could avoid all of the worries above if we simply cancelled the trip. But that’s not so easy of a decision! Some significant factors come into play when considering a cancellation:

  • Flights from Vancouver: Thankfully, JAL will offer a full refund for our roundtrip tickets from Vancouver (this was only updated a couple of days ago). Potential loss: $0.
  • Flights in Japan: Our flights to and from Okinawa through discount airline Jetstar are 100% non-refundable at this time. Potential loss: $700.
  • Airbnbs: We’ll only get full refunds if Airbnb decides to add Japan and our specific booking/check-in dates to their extenuating circumstances policy. Potential loss: $2,000.
  • Booking.com: For our apartment rentals through Booking.com, we’ll get free cancellations up to 14 days before check-in. Potential loss: $0.
  • Hotel: We booked two nights of hotels in Yokohama using the travel credit from our CIBC Aventuras. These are free to cancel up to 48 hours before check-in. Potential loss: $0.
  • Japan Rail passes: We’ll get 75% of our ticket price back if we cancel now. Our Rogers World Elite Mastercard will cover the 25% cancellation fee—but only if the Canadian government raises the travel advisory to 3 or 4 for Japan. (It’s only at 2 right now.) Potential loss: $361.
  • Priority Pass lounge passes: If we don’t go to Japan, we likely won’t have any use for the 8 free lounge passes that came with our CIBC Aventura cards. At a value of $32 USD each, that’s about $340 CAD going to waste! Potential loss: $340.

If we were to cancel today, we’d lose over $3,000 in non-refundable costs and would likely have to let the $340 in lounge passes go to waste. That’s a lot of money to walk away from!

Other factors

Money aside, there are other important factors influencing our decision: 

  • We’ve poured so much time and effort into planning this trip. Just the thought of throwing all those plans away is heart-wrenching.
  • This is our last chance to pull Kid 1 out of school. Once he starts Grade 10 next year, it’ll be too disruptive and stressful for him to miss school. 
  • We love Japan and just really want to go!

Why not just postpone the trip? 

Some of you are probably wondering why we don’t just postpone our trip. That seems like a wise and sensible decision, right? Why not just go at a different time of year or another year altogether? 

Unfortunately, those options wouldn’t be ideal for us. Here’s why:

  • Spring is the best time for us to visit this area of Japan. (Summers are too hot and humid, and winters are too cold.) 
  • When we travel such a long distance, we prefer to stay for more than two weeks. This gives us more bang-for-the buck with our flights and the jet lag.
  • Since we want to go for more than two weeks, we have to pull the kids out of school to extend their two-week Spring Break. Going back to my point above, this year is our last chance to do that with Kid 1.

This is a bigger deal than I thought

As I’ve learned more about the coronavirus and the ripple effects this pandemic will have on our world, my tune has changed. It is serious. While I have no concerns for my immediate family’s health (we are young and healthy) I am worried for other important reasons:


So, what are we going to do?

The situation seems to change on a daily basis and no one can say where it’s headed. But for now, we’re still planning to go. Here’s why:

It’s not that bad

  • While the coronavirus is scary, it’s nothing our planet hasn’t previously dealt with. It’s also not nearly as widespread as the flu or as deadly as previous virus outbreaks. 
  • Mr. Money Mustache, ever-rational and scientific, lays this out beautifully in his latest post.
  • It’s actually not that bad in Japan. If you look at the stats, Japan is nowhere near as bad as the top four (China, South Korea, Italy, Iran). 
  • Update: As of March 5, 2020, Japan has been surpassed by Germany and France in coronavirus cases, yet neither of these countries has travel advisories:

Screenshot taken on March 5, 2020 from worldometers.info

It’ll be okay

  • At the moment, Japan seems to be doing the right things to control the spread of the virus. They’ve closed schools and attractions and have stepped up sanitation efforts.
  • The closures are scheduled to end by the time we arrive. That means we probably won’t be faced with the problem of having nothing to do. (Ever the optimist, I’m hoping that the virus will remain under control even after schools and attractions reopen.)
  • The weather will be warmer when we arrive in a couple of weeks. This could help to slow the spread of the virus. 

We’ll be okay

  • If we practice good hygiene, there’s a very low chance of us getting sick.
  • Being young(ish) and healthy, even if we catch the virus, it’s unlikely to harm us.
  • At 12 and 14, our boys can mostly be trusted to not lick all the railings or eat food off the ground. Ha ha—all kidding aside, they are more than old enough to know how to stay healthy. They’re also not in the danger zone (as toddlers and babies would be) if they were to be infected.
  • We’re well-stocked with sanitizer, wipes, and masks (to remind ourselves not to touch our faces). 
  • We plan to spend most of our time outdoors, exploring on foot. This will help to minimize our exposure.

We’re mostly covered

  • I’ve thoroughly checked the details of our travel medical insurance coverage, and we’ll be well-covered through M’s work policy. 
  • We also have some trip interruption insurance through our Rogers World Elite Mastercards.
  • If anything isn’t covered, we have the funds to cover those costs.

We can deal with the quarantines

  • The boys are doing fine at school. If we were quarantined for two to four weeks, it won’t hurt them academically. (Besides, nothing counts towards their post-secondary credits until Grade 10—so there will be no long-term repercussions.)
  • M has actually been told that he is not allowed to return to work unless he self-quarantines for 14 days after we come home. Fortunately, he’s already set up to work from home. Though it won’t be ideal, he and his team will make it work.
  • I’ll do my best to keep the blog and podcast running. Since it’s all online anyway, I don’t think this will be an issue. (And I’m pretty sure you’ll all understand if I need to disappear for a few weeks!)
  • If M’s uncle and aunt aren’t able to keep Mika for longer, my sister said she can step in (thanks, sis)! 

We’re better off waiting for now

  • If we were to cancel today, we’d lose a lot of money and miss out on a (very likely) safe and wonderful trip.
  • If we wait until the last-minute, there’s a chance that we’ll receive 100% refunds on all our bookings.

Final thoughts

Wow… how did this turn into a 1,000+ word post? Clearly, I’ve been obsessing thinking about this a lot! With a week and a half left until we leave, it’s both a long way away (because the news changes so fast) and much too close (there’s so much to do, whether we decide to go or cancel last-minute).

I don’t think we’ll get the clarity we want before we leave, so we’ll have to make our best decision based on the most current info. For now, we’re going… so keep your fingers crossed for us!

If we end up going, I plan to post photos and updates on my Instagram feed, so follow me there if you’re interested.

March 6, 2020 update

Well, we made the final call last night… we’re cancelling our trip to Japan. I’m disappointed, but also extremely relieved. After almost a month of agonizing over this decision, I look forward to being done with it and moving on.

Now, you’re probably wondering what happened, for me to have so quickly changed course. Well, as you know, I’ve been closely monitoring the situation. And I learned some new info yesterday that sealed our decision:

Quarantine worries

Even if we were to self-quarantine for two weeks after coming home, coronavirus fears are mounting. I think that others will feel uncomfortable around us if they knew we’d recently visited Japan.

While we were prepared to deal with quarantines upon our return to Canada, I am not prepared to deal with my kids possibly being ostracized or avoided at school, as some families have experienced.

Closure worries

Though businesses and attractions are scheduled to reopen in Japan when we would have arrived, there’s no guarantee of that. I also watched livestream recordings by two Japan travel vloggers showing empty streets and shuttered shops:

My worry is that the closures will continue and we won’t be able to do many of the things we had planned to do (eat at the local markets, explore shopping streets, visit museums, etc.)

My husband (crazy man!) would still be happy to visit Japan even if most of the country is shut down, but we both agree it’s not ideal. 

Medical care worries

This was something my sister and a Japan travel vlogger brought up—if the coronavirus grows much faster in Japan than it is now, the medical system may become overwhelmed. 

If we needed any kind of medical care, virus-related or not, hospitals and clinics in Japan may be too full or overrun to take us in. This happened in China and is happening in South Korea, so it’s a very real concern.

Kari’s comment

My blogging friend Kari from Money in Your Tea left this wise and helpful comment yesterday:

“It’s a tough decision, Chrissy! In Ontario, the only high school marks going to post-secondary institutions are the grade 12 marks. We pulled the eldest out of school for 1 week in grade 10. In grade 11 they might be taking a grade 12 course to work ahead, so it’s harder then. But that’s a family decision about what’s right for you. As for the money you would lose, it’s hard psychologically to face that, but it’s a sunk cost regardless of your decision.”

In one fell swoop, Kari addressed two of my biggest hangups about cancelling the trip: 

  1. We didn’t want to cancel because I believed we wouldn’t be able to redo the trip next year. However, Kari’s right—we will be able to pull Kid 1 out of Grade 10 next year and he’ll be just fine. Knowing we can rebook the same trip next year made the decision to cancel so much easier.
  2. Being the frugal people we are, the high cost of cancellation fees was huge in my mind. However, Kari’s point that they’re a sunk cost was absolutely right. Just because we’d already lost some money didn’t mean we should just keep forging ahead.

Thank you, Kari, for your wise comment and for sharing your personal experience and knowledge!

We won’t lose as much as I’d thought

Kari’s comment prompted me to revisit our cancellation policies to see if there was anything more I could do. As it turns out, there was.

Airbnb

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t take the time to figure out the exact details for cancelling our Airbnb bookings. That’s because they’re very detailed, with various deadlines and, depending on when you cancel, different refund percentages. 

At first glance, it looked too complicated to figure out, so I just assumed we’d lose all our money. But, as is often the case, it pays to look into the details! It turns out that our bookings had moderate or flexible cancellation policies. 

That meant one was fully refundable and the other would only cost us the Airbnb service fee of $127. As long as I cancel by March 10, we will get everything back, minus the service fee.

So I’ll wait until then to see if Airbnb changes their extenuating circumstances policy to include Japan—then I may also get the service fee refunded.

Jetstar flights

I’d booked the discount airlines flights to get us to/from Osaka through Flight Network. These flights are still 100% non-refundable. However, I remembered that I received partial refunds for these flights through the Price Drop Protection dollars I’d earned from Flight Network!

The Price Drop Protection dollars were sent to me via cheques, which were safely deposited to my account months ago. The amount I received covered about half the cost of these Jetstar flights, so we’ve really only lost about $350 for these flights.

Japan Rail Passes

There’s unfortunately nothing I can do about the 25% cancellation fee for these. Unless the Canadian government raises the travel advisory for Japan to level 3, we won’t receive a full refund. 

On top of that, I have to send the vouchers to them via certified mail to get our 75% refund. Since I have three months to send in the vouchers before they expire, I will wait to see if the government raises the advisory level. 

If they do, I may be able to get 100% of our money back. And if Japan Railpass Canada won’t refund the 25% cancellation fee, our Rogers World Elite Mastercard may cover that. So… more waiting for now.

The final tally

For now, the final tally for our cancellations looks like this (this may change in the coming days if more advisories are issued):

  • $335 Jetstar flights
  • $361 JR pass cancellation fees
  • $20-ish to mail the JR passes back to get the refund
  • $127 Airbnb service fee
  • TOTAL: $843

Also, we likely won’t use our 8 lounge passes, which are a $340 value. While they didn’t cost us anything, I hate seeing them go to waste. I’ll try to find a way to use them before they expire.

Moving on

Now that we’ve made the decision to cancel, we’ll need to decide if we want to travel somewhere else for spring break. I think we’ll avoid flying, but we may venture down to the US in my in-laws’ motorhome.

However, Vancouver’s looking nice and safe compared to other US cities along the west coast… so the best plan may be to just stick close to home. At the moment, our plans will remain TBD.

Thanks to all of you for your supportive and helpful comments. Who knew that sharing my thoughts here on my blog would play such a big part in our trip planning! Thanks again, Kari!

What about you?

Do you have Spring Break travel plans? Are you considering changes or cancellations? Let me know what you plan to do, and if you have any other useful resources to share!

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38 Comments

  • Reply
    Sarah
    March 4, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    We rarely make spring break plans but I feel even less inclined to this year. I know there’s still a lot we don’t know about the coronavirus but I prefer to err on the side of caution, especially since both myself and my son have severe asthma, so we do our best to avoid things that can affect our lungs and coronavirus falls heavily into that category. We might do a local day trip but we won’t be traveling abroad. I hope you are able to get your Japan trip in and everything works out. Japan is high on my want to visit list.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 4, 2020 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Sarah. If any of us had asthma or other health concerns, I would’ve cancelled weeks ago—no question! It’s not worth the risk, especially since it attacks the lungs.

      To be honest, if we hadn’t already booked and didn’t have so much on the line, there’s no way we’d be headed to Japan right now.

      But we’re stuck now, and after weighing all the risks, we will likely take our chances and go! Let’s hope it all works out and that everyone stays safe—wherever they are.

  • Reply
    Mr. Tako
    March 4, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    I think you’ll be fine. Everything is kept super clean there, and I can bet they’ve even stepped up efforts to keep things sanitized.

    The Japanese healthcare system is actually really good too… and I speak from personal experience.

    Just avoid crowded trains during rush hour, and I bet you’ll have a great time!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 4, 2020 at 4:13 pm

      Mr. Tako—I know you have a lot of personal experience with Japan, so I trust your judgement. 😉

      Great point to avoid the trains at rush hour. Coronavirus aside, it’s also no fun having to push through the crowds to squish into the trains!

      Despite everyone around us worrying, I can’t help but be excited for the trip. We LOVE Japan and can’t wait to go back.

  • Reply
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life
    March 4, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    I was already planning to stay home for Spring Break because I have too much going on but I’m also wondering if it’s a great idea for PiC and JB to take their trip. I’m immunocompromised so I’m not a huge fan of the idea of them flying and potentially carrying back an extra disease. But I’m not panicking either, since it’s not so widespread at this point that I would feel firm in wanting them to cancel. We still have some time to wait and see so that’s what we’ll do! If you end up going, have a great and safe trip! Japan is still at the top of my list of wished for destinations.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 5, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Revanche—I hope PiC and JB will be safe and will return home to you virus-free. I agree that, right now, it’s not so widespread that everyone needs to cancel all travel plans. Most important right now is to pay attention to real stats and what official agencies are recommending. The news makes it seem so terrible and scary!

  • Reply
    Tawcan
    March 4, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Definitely bring hand soap and hand sanitizer with you for the trip. We noticed many public bathrooms didn’t have soap when we were there.

    Japan is very clean and I’m sure the government stepped up with the overall cleanliness even more with the virus. Just avoid super crowded area. And who knows maybe this will be good to visit Japan because it won’t be as crowded.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 5, 2020 at 9:19 am

      Bob—good reminder about BYO soap! This was an issue the last time we visited Japan, and in Korea as well. There’s also typically no paper towels or hand dryers either!

      I agree with your thoughts on the cleanliness in Japan and staying away from crowds. Too bad we’re not headed to Kyoto this trip—it’s normally horrendously mobbed with tourists, but is quiet and serene these days.

  • Reply
    Joe
    March 5, 2020 at 6:37 am

    Good luck! Yeah, bring some hand sanitizer. It’ll probably be hard to find over there.
    We’re canceling our trip to Thailand, but we haven’t booked anything yet.
    Also, our kid is still young. We have plenty of time to travel later.
    Stay safe!
    ps Covid-19 is more deadly than the flu. The latest numbers from Korea show about 0.6%, better than previous numbers. But still worse than the fle.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 5, 2020 at 9:33 am

      Joe—RB40 Jr. still has many years to travel, so I think you’ve made a good choice to cancel. Yes, you’re right that COVID-19, while not as widespread as the flu, is more deadly. Thankfully, the chance of dying from COVID-19 is quite low for people in our age range. I wouldn’t go to Japan if we were in our 60s or older!

  • Reply
    Maria @ Handful of Thoughts
    March 5, 2020 at 7:31 am

    We like to go someplace for spring break and the corona virus had a slight impact on our travel plans. But the Zika virus is also we have to consider because we are not done having kids yet. All things considered we decided to head to the mountains to go skiing. Hubby is a skier and couldn’t be happier 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 5, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Maria—in all this madness, many of us have forgotten about the Zika virus. Yes, you absolutely have to be careful if you’re still growing your family. Zika is so scary. Heading to the mountains, far away from coronavirus and Zika, sounds like a fantastic plan. Have a great time!

  • Reply
    PhiaFreedom101
    March 5, 2020 at 8:15 am

    Great post Chrissy. It sounds like you are taking a very pragmatic approach to this situation!!

    Hopefully all will be well while you guys are there, and you can enjoy this amazing trip!!

    Fortunately for us. we had planned a wine tasting trip in Oregon, and a week at our new cottage, so it doesn’t look like our plans will be overly impacted. As you mentioned, I think we’ll employ lots of hand washing and outdoor oriented activities 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 5, 2020 at 9:46 am

      Phia—thanks for the comment. I am so excited for you to finally enjoy your new cottage! Your spring break sounds lovely and carefree. Let’s hope this part of the world continues to stay relatively virus-free.

  • Reply
    Kari
    March 5, 2020 at 8:55 am

    It’s a tough decision, Chrissy! In Ontario, the only high school marks going to post-secondary institutions are the grade 12 marks. We pulled the eldest out of school for 1 week in grade 10. In grade 11 they might be taking a grade 12 course to work ahead, so it’s harder then. But that’s a family decision about what’s right for you. As for the money you would lose, it’s hard psychologically to face that, but it’s a sunk cost regardless of your decision. Our eldest has 1 more week to get 100% of her deposit back for a summer semester in Italy. We’re pushing for her to withdraw, but she’s hoping it’ll be over by June/July. She also had a GREAT interview yesterday for a full-time job in her field at home! Fingers crossed she gets it.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 5, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Kari—you’re right! The marks themselves don’t count until Grade 12 (though it might be Grade 11 here). I got it mixed up with the number of course credits that count. That starts in Grade 10. Thanks for mentioning this! Maybe we can lighten up and consider one more pullout next year. Hmmm…

      You’re also right that we can’t blind ourselves with sunk cost fallacy. If it’s a bad decision, it’s a bad decision. I will try to keep this in mind as we evaluate the situation.

      With your daughter, I’d feel the same as you and would push for her to cancel her Italy trip. A group of Kid 1’s classmates were booked to go to Japan two weeks after us, but the school has decided to cancel the trip. As a parent, I’d be so relieved with that decision. While we’re okay with travelling to Japan as a family right now, I wouldn’t be okay with my son going there on a school trip!

  • Reply
    steveark
    March 5, 2020 at 9:43 am

    We’ve got a similar dilemma, a trip booked in June to Switzerland via Milan Italy, one of the current Corona hot spots. I’ve seen conferences in Geneva already being cancelled. I’d hope Milan will be over it by then but does that expose us to the virus which so far isn’t anywhere near our area of the US. Our kids are grown and we have no money concerns but being cooped up on very long flights and possibly getting detained or sick out of country, that puts a cloud over the whole vacation.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 5, 2020 at 10:02 am

      steveark—that’s a tough one. It’s just far enough away that it’s hard to make a decision, but close enough that you’d need to decide in order to get some money back. That’s not an easy call to make!

      The worries you have are real and need to be considered. I hope you get more clarity on your situation soon.

  • Reply
    Kris
    March 5, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Being that Japan is on top of their hygiene practices I think you guys should be fine on your trip. And plus with the coronavirus being on high alert worldwide, Japan will be more aware of their cleanliness.
    We may take a road trip to the snow(4 hour drive) later in March but we haven’t decided yet because we are wary about TwC missing preschool. The cornavirus may factor in to our decision but we’ll see as the month goes by and impact the virus will be at that time.
    If you indeed go, stay safe and enjoy Japan with the family, Chrissy!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 6, 2020 at 9:56 pm

      Kris—thanks for your vote of confidence. But unfortunately, our optimism and trust in the excellent hygiene standards of the Japanese was not enough!

      There’s too much uncertainty, and it’s not worth it to put ourselves in a situation that could get very messy very fast.

      You are true tiger parents to be worried about TwC missing preschool! Ha ha, just teasing. I know, it’s important to maintain a routine and you have to be confident that pulling him out of school is worth doing.

      Whatever you decide to do about your getaway, I hope it goes well and that everyone stays healthy and safe.

  • Reply
    Triple B
    March 6, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Ah man! One upside is you may be able to buy a super cheap holiday when you rebook. So theres a chance it comes out cheaper in the long run, especially if you count in extra costs if you get stuck there.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 6, 2020 at 10:06 pm

      Triple B—I like and agree with your line of thinking. Always looking for the silver lining!

      Very true, it could be cheaper when we rebook, especially if we’d had to incur extra expenses if we were stuck there.

      As it stands, there will be one great benefit to visiting at another time: the Mazda factory tour would have been closed for renovations when we visited this year.

      If we rebook for next year, it should be open. So, fingers crossed that Covid-19 will be long gone by then.

  • Reply
    Court @ ModernFImily
    March 6, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    I think this update is already giving you some peace of mind. While I think you likely would have been fine in Japan (given your ages) I can completely understand wanting to rebook it – especially now that you feel comfortable pulling kiddo 1 out of school next year. That all makes sense to me and he’s not going to fail out or have his grades drop drastically just by being away for an extra week or two 😉 he may be more relaxed and rested and soar the remainder of the year because of the trip!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 6, 2020 at 10:22 pm

      Court—you’re right that writing this update helped to give me some peace of mind. I’m now excited to rebook for next year. Thanks for the supportive comment. 🙂

  • Reply
    Baby Boomer Super Saver
    March 6, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    A tough decision, Chrissy! I’m sure it’s a relief to have finally made your choice. I think I would have done the same as you and cancelled the trip, despite the financial cost. Your health & the health of your family is worth so much more!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 6, 2020 at 10:33 pm

      Kathy—it’s an enormous relief to be done with all that fretting and worrying. Now I can finally move on and look forward to next year.

      My family, on the other hand, is pretty bummed. I think they’ll need a few days to sit with it.

      But you’re right—our health and that of others around us is important and needs to be the priority. It was the right choice in the end.

  • Reply
    Ana
    March 7, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    So sorry you had to cancel your trip. It’s so disappointing after all the planning but I think you’ve made the right call. Your trip to Japan would have probably been fraught with tension. Glad you can recover a good portion of your expenses.

    I worry so much when it comes to taking the kids out of school but many families do it. Travel makes for an awesome field trip. Our spring break will be limited to local outings– should still be fun 🙂

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 9, 2020 at 8:47 pm

      Hi Ana—thank you for your sympathetic message. You’re right that the trip would have been fraught with tension. It was definitely the right decision for us to cancel.

      I also worry about pulling the kids out of school too much—especially as they get older. But you’re right that travel makes for a great field trip. 😉

      We will be following your lead and staying local this spring break—we’re heading to Vancouver Island next week for some healthy outdoor time!

  • Reply
    Anne
    March 8, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    My friend and her husband just got back yesterday from a 1-week trip in Tokyo and, for some reason, they didn’t seem worried about the coronavirus at all. Sorry to hear you cancelled your trip but I think it is worth it to have peace of mind and not having to constantly worry about the virus every minute of your trip.
    I have an upcoming long weekend trip to NYC for wedding in April and am considering cancelling it due to the recent outbreak there. I *think* my chances of getting the virus is low and I will likely survive it if I get it since I’m only 31, but the question is–Is it really worth the risk?

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 9, 2020 at 8:56 pm

      Hello Anne—thanks for your comment! I’m jealous of your friend and her husband! If we could’ve shifted our trip to when they travelled, it would have all worked out and we would’ve had zero concerns. It’s unfortunate that everything seems to be blowing up right now, on the eve of when we were meant to leave.

      Ah well… as you said, it’s worth it to have the peace of mind. I think I would’ve become a big ball of anxiety if we were still headed to Japan next week!

      I hope your trip to NYC sorts itself out. It’s a tough decision! April is both really close and really far away. You’re right that you’re young and will likely be just fine. I think the concern now is how we can all help to protect the elderly and health-compromised. My two cents is that you should go, and practice really good hygiene during and after the trip. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mr. Nomad Numbers
    March 9, 2020 at 4:51 am

    Hi Chrissy! I think you’ve made the right call. Visiting a country and not being able to enjoy it due to closure is no fun! We’ve been in a similar situation and decided yesterday to pull the trigger and finally cancel our trip to Japan with our parents. We’ve been contacting AirBnB and we manage to get them fully refund all of the bookings we made (a total of 4 bookings for about $2,500) even though the cancellation policy was strict. I’m hoping you will be able to also get your entire money back from them. We’ve been using them since we started our nomadic journey and have been always extremely pleased with the level of customer service we received from them. I provide more details on our latest blog post: https://www.nomadnumbers.com/traveling-during-corona-virus-outbreak-how-cov19-affect-nomadic-lifestyle/.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 9, 2020 at 9:03 pm

      Hey Mr. Nomad Numbers, I read your post and it was awesome. It’s interesting that we come from different perspectives and locations, but have very similar concerns and results!

      That is AMAZING what you managed to get from Airbnb—that gives me a lot of hope for our piddly little $127 service fee! I also share your love of Airbnb. We have always, always had top-notch service from them. I can’t praise them enough for how helpful and responsive they are.

      Thanks for commenting and for sharing your post. It’s nice to know there are others out there going through the same thing.

  • Reply
    Mel
    March 10, 2020 at 4:39 am

    I’m definitely struggling a little with this too – I’m supposed to head to Brazil at the end of the week. They seem to have a similar number of cases though, and I’ve been keeping my eye on the situation there, so I think I’m still going to go. I’m most nervous about the flight because I feel like if one person has it onboard, we’re all going to get it. Planes are so gross.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 10, 2020 at 12:57 pm

      Hi Mel—I agree, planes are really gross! I haven’t read that Brazil has closed anything, and their numbers are *really* low! If it was me, I’d have no concerns about going. But I totally get it if you’d simply prefer to stay local. There’s just too much uncertainty right now.

  • Reply
    Matt
    March 10, 2020 at 7:04 am

    Glad you made the right choice for you! I have a work trip to Vancouver coming up next week and am waffling on whether to postpone or not. The cost is relatively low (I’m in Calgary), but if I were to get quarantined there or when I get back, the impact on my family would be pretty intense, since we have two kids in daycare. I’m not sure the risk is worth it for a couple client meetings.

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 10, 2020 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Matt—that’s a tough one! But it sounds like it’d be a good choice to cancel the trip. The major disruption of a self-quarantine is something I became less and less willing to do the more I thought about it! I’m relieved that we dodged that bullet, but who knows what’s ahead for us here in Vancouver. Sigh—so many unknowns.

  • Reply
    GovWorker
    March 14, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Chrissy

    Wow- this must have been such a hard decision. Things have changed so much each day in the past couple of weeks. Hopefully you feel confident that you made the right decision. I’m glad that you’re safe and sound in Vancouver and hope you have a wonderful family break locally!

    • Reply
      Chrissy
      March 19, 2020 at 10:47 pm

      Hi GovWorker—thanks for your kind words. We are 1000% confident that we made the right decision! Wow, have things ever changed in recent days.

      I can’t imagine the hassles and stress we would’ve had if we’d ignored the news and just flew to Japan.

      We are now doing our best to enjoy our hyper-local vacation—spent mostly at home! Ah well. There’s no place like home in times like these. At least we have some beautiful weather to enjoy right now.

      Thanks for coming by to comment. 🙂

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