Answer Bank: Travel issues during the coronavirus outbreak
Wang Yutong

Even when preparations have been made and precautions taken, trips don't usually go as planned during the coronavirus pandemic. So how to deal with travel problems caused by COVID-19?

Countries have border restrictions in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus and many travelers are stuck somewhere they didn't expect. Here are some tips when you are stranded abroad. 

No.1: Contact your airline or travel agency. Some airlines are offering repatriation flights. But, most will at least have alternate routes that use connecting flights to get you back home.

No.2: Contact your embassy or consulate if the airlines can't help. Charter flights have been arranged by some governments to bring citizens back. You might also be given assistance on accommodation and routes by your country's representatives.

No.3: If going back home is out of the question, find a safe place to stay and observe local regulations. Ensure your contact details are valid so you can always get updates.

The World Health Organization is providing continuous updates on travel warnings throughout the world. Keep an eye on its website for information about what's happening around you.

If you have to cancel or postpone your journey, here are some tips to help reduce your losses. 

No.1: Ask for a refund. Many airlines have relaxed their cancellation and refund policies, and major hotels and travel agencies are also introducing refunds and compensation measures.

No.2: Consider accepting credit instead of cash. Tourism is one of the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic and some travel agencies have run out of cash. Consumers may consider getting credit and using that for future trips.

No.3: Contact your travel insurance provider and ask them for insight and advice. It may be possible to claim on your travel insurance policy.

Since some countries have reopened to tourists and scrapped mandatory quarantine periods, the biggest question now is: Should we be travelling again?

The United Nations World Tourism Organization called on governments to ease travel restrictions in a timely and responsible manner "when it is deemed safe to do so." So before your next trip, ask yourself if it's essential.

Perhaps it's still too early to pop off to a resort for a summer holiday.

Video filmed by Zhang Yi; Cover image designed by Pan Yufei)