Travel expert offers advice on how to navigate COVID uncertainties

Omicron travel restrictions have caused a lot of uncertainty for travellers, but co-founder and CEO of HotelPlanner, Tim Hentschel, offers these overseas travel tips to help prepare and inform them before they go:

  • Monitor the latest CDC travel advisory list of high-risk Level 4 countries and consider delaying or altering your destination if your destination is on that list. Have a Plan B for another country you can visit in case the situation on the ground in your desired country changes.
  • Research the Covid protocols on your destination country’s Travel & Tourism or official government websites and sign up for email alerts to monitor changes.
  • Register with the local U.S. Embassy on www.travel.state.gov prior to your departure, and also sign up for travel advisory alerts for that country or region. This will alert the local U.S. Embassy officials of your travel plans, and can help expedite their assistance if you find yourself in an emergency situation requiring their help, such as losing your passport, being a victim of a crime, or perhaps even a dispute regarding vaccine/testing verification or quarantine requirements. However, if the host nation decides to close their borders or mandate stringent testing and long quarantines, American travelers are at the mercy of that host nation’s protocols. The U.S. Embassy would typically only intervene on your behalf in very unique or complex situations truly requiring their involvement.
  • Bring extra at-home Covid tests in case you have symptoms and bring extra medication and vital personal items should you test positive and be held in the country for quarantine.  Bring a good book too and perhaps some exercise bands.
  • Review the country’s Covid protocols, booster requirements, travel restrictions before booking your flights or hotels.  And then review them again in the days prior to your departure for any changes.
    • Schedule all inbound and outbound mandatory Covid tests well ahead of time, and also register your vaccine and testing status on the host country’s smartphone app of choice.
    • Make sure you have printed paperwork to prove your vaccination and testing status. Print a photocopy of your passport as well just in case you lose that.
  • Consider travel insurance, but read the fine print.  For example, some insurance will cover you if you have to cancel your trip due to a positive Covid test, but will not cover you if you are overseas, an outbreak occurs, and the country decides to close its borders or force you to quarantine.

Source: HotelPlanner

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