Testing positive for COVID-19 is still a cause for concern for travelers. In fact, as the weather gets colder and people head indoors, we’ll likely see an uptick in cases. The FDA just approved a booster to target BA 2.75, the latest Covid variant. The shot rollout is now underway. In light of this the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) may adjust their recommendations for reducing your covid risk and treating it whether you’re at home or traveling.
The stress of being sick with any virus while away from home is very real. While quarantine requirements and negative Covid tests may longer be necessary, the question for many travelers is should you travel if you test positive for Covid.
Can You Travel with Covid?
Right now there are no restrictions, so the answer to that question really relies on you. Still traveling while Covid positive is not advisable. The medically and morally responsible thing to do is to refrain from travel for five full days and isolate yourself during that time. For best practices when it comes to traveling with Covid, contact the CDC Read on to discover our top tips on what to do if you test positive for Covid while abroad.
Can You Fly with Covid?
Even though Covid cases are trending up ahead of winter travel, there are no Covid restrictions related to Covid. That could change as we get closer to the holidays so you’ll want to check with your airline and the country you’re visiting in case they’ve added restrictions. The airline may encourage you to wear a face mask during your flight but you aren’t obligated to. Remember that if you feel sick before your flight the best thing to do is get tested for Covid before departure. If you do test positive, and feel like you shouldn’t travel, trip insurance with Cancel For Any Reason can help you cancel your plans without hurting your financial investment.
Basic Covid Testing Requirements
Note: For the most up-to-date testing requirements, be sure to check the website of your destination and home country.
Covid testing requirements have been lifted worldwide. However, cases are still cropping up in every corner of the globe. This means that there’s always a potential chance that a country could reinstate some or all of its Covid testing requirements to combat the spread of the virus. It’s still smart to keep an eye on travel alerts for your destination country just to be safe.
If You Test Positive for Covid away from Home
Here’s a look at some of the best things you can do if you get Covid while on vacation. While this is not an exhaustive list, it’ll give you some good pointers on how to handle getting covid while you’re traveling.
Be prepared to test positive for Covid
Your contingency plan for what to do should you test positive for Covid or any other virus while abroad begins before you even leave your home. As you make lodging arrangements and book your flights, ask the respective representatives what their Covid protocols are. Even though we are no longer facing a pandemic, your lodging accommodations, the airlines and any other public places may have a contingency plan of their own. This could include testing resources and quarantine restrictions. Once you know what to expect you can begin to plan and pack accordingly. To be extra prepared, pack and plan for your trip as if Covid or another virus might disrupt your travels. This could entail:
- Establishing contact with a potential physician at your destination country, or connecting with your own doctor at home
- Making a list detailing the medical information and needs for each member of your party
- Packing extra clothes and extra medication
- Pack sufficient quantity of masks
- Packing a few covid home test kits ( if possible)
- Budgeting extra finances for an extended stay
- Ensuring that your children and pets will be looked after for the duration of your stay, even if it’s extended due to quarantine
Save money by getting travel insurance ahead of your trip
Since testing positive for Covid or another virus is a real possibility while traveling, one of the most important steps to take is to purchase a suitable trip insurance (for American residents only) or travel insurance. That way if you have to cancel your trip due to a positive result, or have to extend your travels due to unexpected quarantine, you’ll be financially protected. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to buy a policy, as coverage might not be guaranteed. The ideal time to purchase travel insurance is just around the time you book your flights and make your hotel or vacation rental accommodations.
Get tested if you feel sick
At the first sign of sickness, request a PCR test as opposed to a rapid test. PCR tests are considered much more accurate than the rapid tests. In some cases, travelers might test negative through a rapid test but positive via a PCR test. This is likely due to the virus not being potent enough to be detected through a rapid test.
Inform the relevant parties
As soon as you test positive, you’ll want to get in touch with anyone you’ve been in contact with, including the members of your party as they will also need to get tested right away. You will also need to inform your lodging accommodations and follow their Covid protocols carefully. This might involve being moved to a separate room away from the other guests until you test negative. If you test positive upon entry into a country, a physician might be in touch with you to assist you and to initiate content tracing.
Wear a KN95 or N95 Mask for 10 full days after testing positive
Even once you leave quarantine, wear a KN95 or N95 mask when you’re around other people. Simple cloth coverings are not as effective, and in fact, many airlines are no longer accepting them as suitable protection for air travel.
Remember, though, even if you’re asymptomatic, you could transmit the virus to people who may have a much more severe reaction. This is why you should isolate yourself from others as soon as you test positive or show symptoms. If you’re entering a country and test positive for Covid, quarantine will likely be mandatory.
But if you’re already within the country’s borders, you should self-isolate for at least five days in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines. If you’ve purchased trip or travel insurance before initiating your travels, you may be financially protected in the event that mandatory quarantine extends your trip unexpectedly. Some trip insurance plans have quarantine coverage for Covid as a specific benefit, while others include it in their trip interruption or delay coverage.
If traveling via car, book a hotel room for the infected person
Whether you’re an American taking a road trip or an international traveler touring through Europe, if you’re traveling via car, testing positive for Covid comes with specific concerns. The most important thing to do is to separate yourself from everyone else in your party. Check into a hotel room that has content-free check-in procedures, or, if possible, return home. Again, even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, you want to minimize your risk of transmitting the virus to someone who might have a more severe reaction.
Should you test positive for Covid while abroad, one of the lesser-known resources on your side is telehealth. And it is often included in many travel insurance plans. Just like it sounds, telehealth means connecting with your doctor back home or a physician in your destination country by video. Whether you need medical advice due to an infection or want to secure an acceptable proof of recovery so you can head home or continue your trip, telemedicine can help.
Testing positive for Covid while abroad is still a concern for today’s travelers. But preparation and careful, well-researched planning can go a long way to calming your nerves should you contract Covid while traveling. While these tips won’t prevent you from contracting the virus, they’ll certainly make it easier for you, if you do.