I Was In Panama With My Family When Coronavirus Surfaced: How We Managed Symptoms And Adapted

My family loves to travel domestically and internationally. We rack up several combinations of flights and road trips a year, and we have a deal where we each take turns picking a country to travel to every other year.This year, we got extra lucky: We had the means to visit a longtime friend of mine in Panama and decided to go for it, even though international travel wasn’t part of our plans until 2021.

We booked the trip months ago and originally planned to fly in January 2020. That was derailed, so we rescheduled for early March 2020. Of course, between the original trip and the new one, COVID-19 started to snake its way across the globe.

We weren’t super deterred, because before we left the news was reporting few cases in the US and absolutely zero in Panama.

Our son has asthma, so we made sure to get an emergency dose of prednisone with us just in case, and we packed up his meds to take with us.

But, as it so often goes, things shifted while we were traveling. We were in Panama City when news that a woman had been diagnosed with the coronavirus broke, and then the next day it was revealed that another man had died from the virus. And, as it goes, the same day we heard about the first case, both my child and my friend’s daughter started sniffling.

We wanted to stay calm and logical, but we also wanted to be safe and keep others safe, too. So we started shifting our plans around and tried to see what kind of help we could get. Here’s everything we did, why we did it, and the advice I’d offer other families in the same position.