Some parents are left grappling with where they’ll send their kids for spring break with school closings, flight cancellations and travel bans as a result of the spread of the new coronavirus.
Celia Celler, 45, a mother of five from Monmouth County, New Jersey, was set to spend spring break starting Monday with her kids and 10 family members in Tel Aviv, Israel, to celebrate her 13-year-old’s bar mitzvah, but when the country’s prime minister announced the complete closure of Israel’s borders Monday, she had to cancel her trip, losing $2,700 worth in flights.
But with schools closed indefinitely, she’s planning another domestic trip to keep the kids busy and out of the house.
“We’re going to stay calm. We’re still going to plan something. Life has to go on,” Celler told FOX Business.
Travelers are becoming more and more uneasy about taking off with the continued spread of COVID-19 prompting many to cancel, postpone or rebook their trips.
Jack Ezon, the founder of global travel agency Embark Beyond, said that a little over 70 percent of clients have rebooked their trips since most travel insurance policies won’t cover cancellation because of the virus.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” Ezon says. “For every two cancellations, we get one new booking. As schools close, parents are in a panic to figure out what the right thing to do is.”
Ezon said clients have opted to extend their spring break at all-inclusive resorts like Baha Mar in the Bahamas where travelers don’t have to venture off the resort.
“We’re seeing growth in a few key markets like Miami, the Bahamas and Anguilla. There’s also been an increase in the road trip market. People are saying, ‘I’d rather be stuck at a beach where the kids can go swimming in nice weather,'” Ezon said.
Celler's first rebooking option is Texas in the small city of Sonora to stay at a family-friendly ranch with an action-packed agenda like horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and adult accommodations like wine tastings and spa treatments.
While Celler has a relentless approach to planning a trip for her family for spring break, the industry is facing a number of hurdles with travel and transportation companies canceling trips altogether. Carnival Corporation announced Thursday it was suspending operations of the Princess Cruises line of ships after passengers on board two of the ships were infected with the coronavirus. The news comes after the U.S. State Department urged people not to travel onboard cruise ships to manage the risk of the virus spreading.
Airlines are also getting hit hard. American Airlines, the world’s largest airline, said it would cut its international flights by 10 percent this summer and eliminate 7.5 percent of its domestic flights next month. Delta Air Lines, meanwhile, is slated to cut international flights by up to 25 percent and slash domestic flights by up to 15 percent. Amtrak train travel bookings have dropped by 50 percent and cancelations surged up to 300 percent.
Countries that have a Level 3 Travel Health Notice where there’s widespread and ongoing transmission of the virus include China, Iran, Italy and South Korea as of Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.