The Coronavirus and my 2020 Plans

This post was originally planned in December and was going to be about my planned around the world trip for Summer 2020 and my other plans for 2020. I procrastinated so long on writing this post that current events have made the plans I was certain of in December 2019 to be rather doubtful now.

Last November I found a flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo for just 16k Delta Miles. That is a great bargain since the price is usually at least double. It was too good of a deal for me to pass up. Since I already had plans to hike on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) right after the end of tax season I booked the ticket to Japan for the first week of June, giving me a little over a month to hike and prepare for my Japan trip. Since I was planning so early I was able to select a bulkhead seat for just $40. On a transpacific flight having the extra legroom that you get with a bulkhead seat is easily worth $40. My plan at that time was to buy a cheap ticket from Japan to Thailand leaving after about a week in Japan.

I had over 60k in Virgin Atlantic miles from a credit card signup so I started looking at my options to use those miles to get home from Thailand. The drawback to using Virgin Atlantic miles is that they tack on huge fees and surcharges from most destinations. After doing some research I discovered that I could fly with them from Hong Kong to London for just 22,500 miles and about $40 in fees. That gave me the idea to make this trip an around the world trip and I booked that flight leaving in early September.

Later I booked a flight from Japan to Singapore in business class on Japan Airlines. After a six hour layover I continue on from Singapore to Bangkok in Cathay Pacific business class. I was able to book both of these flights as one business class ticket using 30k American Airlines miles I had from another credit card sign up bonus. I thought this was a fantastic deal since it would be my first time experiencing long haul business class and I’d get to experience business class on two different airlines with highly rated business class. Additionally, I’d get to enjoy the business class lounge in Tokyo and Singapore. I also wanted to see Singapore Changi airport since it is a tourist attraction itself.

When I booked the first two flights I hadn’t even heard of the coronavirus. When I booked the third flight the coronavirus was in the news, but it didn’t seem like that big of a deal yet. Now it is a pretty big deal and might derail my travel plans for the Summer. I’ve delayed booking any more flights or hotels. It is still over two months before my trips begins so perhaps the situation will be better by then. I still plan on going on this trip as long as travel as still allowed to Japan and Thailand and the spread of the disease isn’t significantly worse there at that time. By the time I leave the coronavirus might be a bigger concern here in the U.S. then in the countries I’m visiting.

Although many airlines have announced fee waivers for ticket changes, none of them have extended the fee waiver to June yet. If I do decide it is unsafe to travel and have to cancel my trip I’m hoping they will have extended the fee waiver by then. All I can do now is wait and see what happens.

If I do cancel my Asia trip, I intend to extend my hiking trip. Instead of going one month, I will hike for two months. If I hike for two months, that should be long enough for me to finally finish hiking the A.T. I’d be pretty happy if I accomplished that. Also, if I cancel my Summer Asia trip, I intend to make an Asia trip in Winter instead. It would be nice to be in sunny Thailand while it is freezing back here in Missouri.

My other plan for 2020 is buying a house. My mom wants me to buy a house with her. She would basically be giving me the 1/3 of the house that I’d one day inherit now. I’d have a small mortgage to get me from being a 1/3 owner to a 1/2 owner. This would be a great deal for me financially. There are still a lot of details we need to figure out. We were planning to do this in the Fall after I returned from my trip. If I end up canceling my trip, we will buy the house sooner.

Although buying the house would be a good deal for me financially, I’m not 100% certain I want to do it. One reason for that is that I don’t especially want to live in that small town or even in Missouri. I’ve been wanting to live somewhere warmer, like Florida, for several years, but have never made the move. Buying a house would ensure that it would be a long time before I made that move. Another reason is that my mom can be rather bossy, and I can see her unilaterally making all the decisions regarding the house and coming up with lots of projects around the house for me to do. Overall, I think the positives of buying the house outweigh the negatives, but I’m going to think about it some more before making a final decision.

That is my 2020 plans for now, uncertain as they are. What are your 2020 plans? Would you visit Asia this summer?

4 thoughts on “The Coronavirus and my 2020 Plans”

  1. My husband and I usually visit Asia during the winter months. I have family still living there. If there is a death in the family this summer, I will go regardless. We do what we can to protect ourselves (which is common sense precautions that should be done all our lives anyway) and then hope for the best.

    Good luck on the house buying. It’s definitely a major decision for anyone. And with interest rates possibly going down further, the timing couldn’t be any better.

    • Thanks, I’m hoping everything will work out with the trip and the house buying. I’ll delay if it seems necessary.

  2. Your trip is far enough away that you might be okay. I sure hope it works out for you. By June we might be laughing about how much a panic this all created. I don’t have a good enough relationship with my mom to buy a house with her. Having a mortgage would take away some of the flexibility you have, but might be a good investment for you.

    • I’m just going to wait and see on the trip. If I have to cancel it, I should be able to get all my miles and money paid for fees back with the new cancellation policies.


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