It's not fun to think about, but it's something every traveler should be prepared for in 2022: If you're going on vacation, do you know what steps to take if you test positive for COVID-19 at an all-inclusive resort?
I don't write this to scare you, I just want to help you prepare, both mentally and physically. It IS possible to have a fun, safe and enjoyable vacation with just a small bit of preparation. The important part is knowing what questions to ask and plan accordingly.
Starting last January 2021, all travelers entering the United States must show a negative covid-19 test result to enter the country by air. This includes US citizens returning from vacations abroad.
NOTE: The ONLY way to skip this return testing is if you've recently recovered from COVID AND have both a positive lab test + a recovery letter; more on that in a future post!
If you've hired a travel agent to help, some of the below will sound familiar. After all, one of a travel advisor's many jobs is to help answer questions about this very topic.
In a moment of crisis, it's easy to forget all of that preparation. That's why I've assembled this quick list:
5 Things to Do If You Test Positive for COVID-19 At an All-Inclusive Resort.
0. Prepare for the worst, just in case
Before you even leave home, do some legwork.
A fun fact about me: I am a "Plan Xer". It's not enough for me to have a Plan A and a Plan B. I also need a plan C, D, E, F, G, H .. .all the way down to X. Ha! I guess it's a good thing I am a travel advisor! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, isn't that the old saying?
While airlines, transportation companies and hotels are doing everything they can to create a safe experience, traveling anywhere - heck, just LIVING - in 2022 still has risk. Before leaving home, make sure you are prepared for testing positive, just in case.
Buy Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is NOT just about cancellation. A good travel insurance policy will also include coverage for a potential quarantine, medical attention and medical evacuation. Did you know that your US health insurance may not work outside of the United States? This is not the time to skimp. If you can afford to travel, you can afford to buy insurance.
Carry Your Travel Insurance Info With You! Every legitimate insurance provider has an in-destination emergency number or concierge. Make sure to travel with this information, in case you need it. When you are sick and scrambling to make arrangements, you don't want to be digging for this information.
Understand the Resort's Policies: Does your resort include covid testing? Does it include any coverage for a potential extended stay? Does the resort have access to medical care? These are all things to understand before departing.
Have a Plan: It's important to discuss this with your spouse or traveling companion. If one of you tests positive and the other is negative, what will you do? Will one person continue home while the other stays? Will you both stay? Do you have backup child care, pet care, home care? Can you work remotely? It's important to have a plan, whatever that may be. This isn't a conversation you want to have in the heat of the moment.
Pack the Essentials: No one wants to think about being stuck in another country, but preparation is key. If you take prescription drugs or wear contact lenses, bring extra with you as backup, just in case. You do not want to be stuck without these things if they are vital to your life.
TEST BEFORE YOU GO! Even if your destination doesn't require testing, test anyway! It's the responsible thing to do and helps you avoid potential surprises at your resort. There are so many great home test options available now,
Pro tip for super travelers: Your resort probably offers the required testing to return home, but you may not want to be reliant on their schedule. If this is you, you may want to consider a proctored test like the eMed+BinaxNow partnership. This is a special version of the Binax test that comes with telehealth services, which IS accepted for re-entry to the USA.
1. If You Test Positive at a resort, ask to Repeat the Test
If you test positive for COVID-19 at an all inclusive resort, you can ask for a repeat test. While rare, tests can fail and it's important to have a second opinion. If your positive test was an antigen test, ask for a PCR test, which is more sensitive and accurate.
Additional tests will likely have a cost -- the resort typically only includes one test with your stay. Ask for details.
2. Prepare for your extended stay
If your second test is also positive, you are moving to isolation. Depending on the hotel's policies, the resort will likely move you to another part of the resort, near their medical care and away from other guests. You can expect to stay confined to your room. while you complete the recommended isolation period. Questions to ask your hotel or resort:
- How can I access medical care if I need it?
- What is the cost for additional testing and how do I schedule it? Resorts typically include the required US test in your stay, but nothing beyond that. Testing costs can add up, so be prepared for this.
- How and when will I be given a Recovery Letter to travel home?
- What meals are included and how do I order them? This is typically room service, no alcohol included.
- If the resort has pay movies or entertainment, ask if they can be unlocked.
- If I need additional supplies or medications, how do I request it? What is the cost for this?
If you are traveling with others and they are returning home, raid their suitcase! LOL Ask them for any additional toiletries, books, medication or anything they can leave with you.
3. Prepare for a Travel Insurance Claim
While you are recovering, notify your travel insurance company that you have tested positive and will be isolating in destination. Let them know that you will be changing your travel dates and eventually filing a claim.
When you notify insurance, ask them to review your coverage for additional medical care, should you need it.
Remember, nearly all travel insurance reimburses you for expenses, they do not pay upfront except in the case of extreme medical emergency. Be prepared with a credit card to cover these additional expenses.
Save all receipts and instructions, you will need these for a future claim.
4. Understand your isolation period (hint, it may not match the us cdc guidelines)
If you test positive outside the United States, your host country may not follow the same guidelines that America does. While the CDC has recently shortened the isolation period (without symptoms) to 5 days, your host country and airline may not follow these same regulations.
These regulations will be changing fluidly in 2022 so ask questions and take good notes.
Once you know what your isolation period will be, change your return flight accordingly (or if you've worked with a travel advisor, they will help with this!)
DO NOT "No show" for your original return airline ticket. You must change your departure date or you risk being a "no show". If you "no show" on an airline ticket, the airline will cancel your reservation without a refund or travel credit.
5: STay Calm, get HEalthy
While testing positive in destination can certainly be a shock, it doesn't have to be a hardship. When travelers take the proper precautions and prepare accordingly, their focus can be on rest and getting well.
After all, isolating is a good thing, it stops the spread and stops travelers from infecting others.
As part of your travel preparation, consider how you will use this time if you are isolated. Bring a book, work on a project ... you can even work remotely if you are feeling well.
Once you return home, your travel advisor can help with the necessary paperwork involved with a travel insurance claim.
stay updated on changing regulations
i'm prepared to travel, Let's go!
If you're prepared, ready and waiting to travel, let's chat! Schedule a free consultation with me by clicking the link below. I can't wait to get started!