Travel, particularly international travel, is increasingly more stressful during COVID-19. Between testing requirements, countries opening and closing and the possibility of testing positive, it’s more important than ever to have a plan b, c and d when it comes to travel. So what do you need to do to make sure you’re prepared? Read on to find out.
Book refundable fares & room rates
The number one key to success during international travel today is making sure you have flexible travel arrangements. I have personally never been a fan of booking anything other than the cheapest rates for flights and hotels, but those fares are often non-refundable. In today’s travel climate, it’s imperative to have flexibility in your planning. While hotels will typically offer you airline credit if you need to make adjustments to your flights, many hotels are claiming COVID-19 is not a reason for allowing changes to non-refundable reservations.
My recommendation for booking room rates, in particular, is to book the refundable fare ahead of travel. 1-2 days out from your reservation, check the rates of the hotel and if it’s still cheaper. When you are confident that your trip is actually happening, feel free to book that non-refundable rate if it’s a valuable enough savings. Then, you can cancel the refundable booking you already made.
Pack extra prescription medications and toiletries
The biggest question on most travelers’ minds right now is, “will I get COVID during my trip?” That can be a scary thought. Most people think it can’t possibly happen to them, but let’s say for a second that it does. Do you have enough of your prescription medication and toiletries to make it through the quarantine?
Many prescriptions can be pre-picked up for a “vacation dose”. Ask your pharmacy to give you a month extra for your trip to make sure you don’t end up without it. Keep in mind, some destinations will not have affordable or comparable drugs.
Make sure you pack extra of your favorite toiletries or clothing items as well. Something we always do is bring packets of laundry detergent (like this one). This allows us to do laundry on the road, should we need to. Sheets like this is a clever way around the no-liquid-on-planes rules as well.
Understand your hotel insurance and your options
Lastly, it’s important to understand your hotel insurance options. A number of hotels in the Dominican Republic, for example, offer complimentary insurance in the event you test positive abroad. Hilton La Romana offers a $30 insurance plan that guarantees you a nice room and all your meals if you test positive. Some hotels offer discounted rates, while others do not.
My recommendation is to choose a hotel that has a good insurance policy for COVID. If this is not an option, look into travel insurance that does cover COVID. Remember, most credit card travel protections will not cover COVID-related issues.
While we all would like to think that nothing bad will ever happen to us, COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire, even to double vaccinated and boosted people. Understanding your options, staying prepared and making sure you are ready if you do test positive is critical. Don’t be like the traveler spending $5000 to quarantine in St. Lucia. Be the traveler who gets to quarantine in a nice all-inclusive hotel for free.