When the travel ban was announced I wasn’t a fan. But it turned out to be the right thing for me. Put down your pitchfork and keep reading.
The Travel Ban Kept Me Home
I was flying non-stop from Los Angeles to Doha on Qatar Airways in Business Class. My out of pocket cost was only $7.65.
Plus 67,500 miles. I booked the flight last March before American Airlines changed their award chart. A Business Class flight from the US to the Middle East now costs 70,000 miles.
The departure date was January 30, 2017. This was three days after President Trump issued the travel ban.
The executive order restricted entry from:
Although, I wasn’t flying to any of the banned countries, I was flying to Doha, the capital of Qatar. In Qatar, the religious majority practices Islam. And it’s only 698 miles from Yemen. Which is about the distance from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City.
Yemen is one of the restricted countries on the travel ban. And on the US State Department’s travel warnings list of countries you should not visit. Yemen is so dangerous the US Embassy in Yemen closed on February 11, 2015.
I was spending 8 days in Doha. Then flying to Auckland on Qatar Airways in Business Class for 45,000 American Airlines miles and $38.05.
Yep, pre-devaluation prices. That same flight now costs 80,000 miles.
My return flight wasn’t booked yet so my options were open. I’ve visited the Muslim countries of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Turkey, and the Maldives. The travel ban wasn’t sitting right with me.
Read my posts on Dubai and the Maldives:
- Sandboarding in Dubai
- How to Buy a Ticket on These Airlines & Get a Free Hotel Room
- Top Luxury Hotels in Maldives to Stay on Points
Fly or Stay Home
As a solo female traveler, I have to be more cautious.
Should I stay home or should I go? I debated that question over the next two days.
All sorts of thoughts ran through my head. “What if I went and the other countries retaliated and I couldn’t get back home? I’d be stuck in the Middle East in possible a very bad situation.
“What if I went but had problems getting back into the US.”
And of course, the one that mile junkies and travel hackers always fret over, “But it was such a good deal.” Because those same flights cost 150,000 miles!
What to do, what to do.
The Travel Ban Meant I Was Home When My Father-in-Law Died
Because of the uncertainty, I canceled my flights. The taxes and miles were refunded.
But, over the course of the next few days, I was starting to rethink my decision. Had I made the right choice? Should I have gone anyway?
Until we got the call from my mother-in-law telling us that my father-in-law passed away. I talked about him in my post on emotional support animals and comfort golden retrievers.
Then Saturday I got a text from the credit monitoring service I use saying my credit score had changed. I hadn’t applied for any new cards and I made my payments early because I would have been traveling. So, something was up and it wasn’t good.
Someone decided to open a new card in my name. Yep, I’m a victim of identity theft. I spent all day yesterday trying to get things sorted out. Fun. Not.
I’m working on a series of posts on what to do when someone steals your identity. So, stay tuned.
Long story short, I’m glad I had canceled my trip.
All politics aside, while I don’t agree with President Trump’s travel ban, it worked out to my benefit.
Had the travel ban not be in place, I would be in New Zealand right now after having spent 8 days in Doha. So I wouldn’t have been in the United States my father-in-law died.
And I wouldn’t have found out that my identity got stolen until I got home next week or the week after. Who knows how many credit cards that person would have opened?
Did you change any trip plans because of the travel ban?
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