A Message to the JourneyWoman Community

Published March 15, 2020

By Carolyn Ray, Publisher, JourneyWoman

Welcome to our new normal -- as the world takes a pause, we have an opportunity to come together and look to the future with optimism and hope.  I just returned home from a week-long media trip to Cuba late Friday night, and I've never been happier to touch down on Canadian soil. I can't tell you how hard it was to be away from my family, particularly in those last 48 hours, watching the posts on social media and responding to anxious messages from my daughter as her university was shut down. I felt helpless and disconnected, knowing there was little I could do from another country.   

This is a journey like none other. Never have we needed each other as we much as we do now.

In these trying times, we are so fortunate to have each other - a safe haven of women -  rich with ideas and experiences. I want to make sure we are supporting each other and sharing our feelings and knowledge as we face this time of uncertainty and anxiety.

Who better than a JourneyWoman to help other women?

Starting this week, I am planning to start a series of Facebook Live sessions so that we can stay connected. I also want to invite any JourneyWomen who have experience in a particular area to actively participate and share their stories. 

Please let me know:

1. WHAT topics would be of interest for us to share with each other?

Some thought starters:

  • Dealing with loneliness and isolation
  • Staying safe and healthy on the road
  • Being a traveller in your own city
  • Things to do at home (writing, fitness, online learning, virtual tours, etc) 
  • Planning solo travel for newbies (do any of our experienced JW want to participate and offer advice?)
  • Guided creative and spiritual exercises 
  • The ins and outs of travel insurance
  • Planning ahead: Are there any off-the-beaten path destinations or countries you'd like to learn more about? 

2. WHO would you like to hear from?

As one of the world's most influential women's travel magazines, we have access to a broad range of travel-related experts, tourism boards and industry associations around the world. That said, we are not medical experts and leave that to the professionals.

  • Would any of our JW tour operators like to participate?
  • Would YOU like to co-host a Facebook Live? 

3. What time of day would work best for you?

  • Morning, lunchtime or evening?

To participate in these sessions and receive notifications, you will need to 'like' our JourneyWoman Page on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/Journeywoman

If you are not on Facebook, please send me your questions and we will answer them in the session. The video will be posted on the JourneyWoman YouTube channel as quickly as possible. We will also post notifications of sessions and videos posted on our social media channels, and transcribe them onto our website so that you can read them.  As a reminder, we also have the JourneyWoman Travel Group on Facebook here, where you can pose or answer questions from our community. 

 

Please send your ideas and suggestions to me directly at editor@journeywoman.com

JourneyWoman is a community of women who love to travel and share a common set of values and interests, in service to those of us who want to experience our world on our own terms. I've seen first hand how much you care about each other, even if we haven't met in person. This is a moment where we need to come together and share, support and help each other. Please be safe, take care, and look after those around you. 

Sending you gratitude and love,

Carolyn Ray, JourneyWoman Publisher




Update on COVID-19: Society of American Travel Writers

Published March 4, 2020

By Carolyn Ray, Publisher, JourneyWoman

March 4: Today I attended a special webinar on COVID-19 hosted by the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), of which I am a member. The webinar was hosted by Catharine Hamm, Travel Editor, LA Times, and included three panelists: Julie Loffredi, Manager of Media Relations, Insuremytrip.com; Erika Richter, Senior Director, Communications, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA); and Gabe Saglie, Senior Editor, TravelZoo. Obviously, COVID-19 is a topic that is of great concern, particularly for those of us who travel frequently, and health and safety is paramount as we await a vaccine.

CDC COVID-19 Global Outbreak Map
CDC global map of confirmed cases of COVID-19

Several topics were discussed:

Should I cancel my trip? Yes, no and maybe. With so much changing so quickly, the panel's advice is that you should do what makes you comfortable, based on your risk tolerance level, and what is best for you personally. This is not a situation for bravado – just be yourself. The consensus on the panel is that it's too soon to tell if the majority of people are actually cancelling or postponing travel right now. They mentioned that thankfully they had observed an increase in handwashing and sanitary techniques when travelling, such as wiping down trays, covering your mouth while coughing, etc. It goes without saying that you should check your destination for potential risks, as with all travel.

What are the most trusted sources of information? This is a highly fluid situation, with data constantly changing. As a result, we are being bombarded by information, not all of which is accurate. The top three sources recommended (keeping in mind this an American panel) were; the Center for Disease Control (CDC), State Department (US) and World Health Organization (WHO). A world map of confirmed cases is here and a risk assessment of each country is here. Canada's page on COVID-19 is here.

What does my travel insurance cover? This is a tricky area and there's no simple answer. Insuremytrip, which has seen a 245% increase in policies sold since January 21 (the 'known date' for Covid-19 in the US), reminded us that doing 'add-on' insurance to a plane ticket isn't the same as buying a separate third-party insurance policy. If you purchased a plan prior to the outbreak in your country, you will likely have more options. If you are concerned about Covid-19, make sure your policy includes 'cancel for any reason.' Some insurance companies are changing their coverage policies daily, so going to a comparison site can help you understand your options. One question was whether travel insurance covers quarantine situations. This is something you need to check with your specific insurance provider. It is always recommended that you buy insurance as soon as you book a trip.

What should I do if I still feel wanderlust? If you want to travel, this could be an opportunity to stay closer to home or try a destination that is off the beaten path. Travelzoo noted that it is seeing an increase in inquiries related to 'drive markets': road trips, short distance trips, and train travel.

How can we prevent the spread of the virus? According to Health Canada and the CDC, coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze; close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands; touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.

To reduce the spread of infections

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands;
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • cough and sneeze into your sleeve and not your hands; and
  • STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK to avoid spreading illness to others.

If you choose to travel, I hope you do so safely and well. I'll do my best to keep you apprised of information and advice from credible sources.

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