The Coronavirus pandemic is causing serious disruption to travel plans. Even for those in countries that aren’t (yet) significantly impacted. And this means home exchanges are being cancelled around the world as people are forced to stay home.
Regardless of your personal health status or location, the socially responsible thing to do is cancel all unnecessary travel plans that involve flights or other large gatherings of people. Here’s a good overview of why we must all act now to slow this pandemic down.
I’m a bit more agnostic on home exchanges that are done by car. Those seem pretty safe to me, depending on what you plan to do at your destination.
Many airlines, hotels and cruises are offering refunds for cancellations. And home exchange networks are also responding. HomeExchange is offering full refunds of points to anyone who needs to cancel a points booking. And they will help travelers find alternate bookings if their hosts need to cancel. PeopleLikeUs is delaying rollout of subscription fees. I’m confident many other networks will also help people faced with cancellations.
But in general there’s not much the home swap networks can do. If you have an exchange planned, talk to your swap partner directly about the advisability of the trip. And if you need to cancel, I hope your swap partner will be compassionate and understanding.
My advice right now is two fold:
- Reach out to your 2020 swap partners now to start talking about the situation. You don’t have to make a decision right now. But this is going to be with us for months. It’s hard to say what will happen in the summer but I’m not optimistic.
- Cancel your travels for the Spring if you can. I understand some people are forced to travel for work or other reasons. But if your trip is for fun, you can cancel. And by doing this you can help flatten the curve and save lives.
The home exchange community is made up of kind, generous, and worldly people. Let’s be leaders in social responsibility during this pandemic.