Oct 15, 2021 Travel Updates in our Covid 19 times
While flying domestically in most countries of the world is getting back to normal, International travel still has a lot of extra hurdles.
The only real difference in domestic travel these days is that masks are required in most cases. Flying internationally however also requires Covid testing of various validity lengths. In most cases the destination country is requiring that Covid tests be done within 72 hours of final boarding time to thier country. Some of the best and most update information can be obtained from the airline websites themselves. After ticketing with us or another service you can go directly to an airlines website to see the most updated rules for your destination. Airlines will have the most updated requirements as they are acting as the gatekeeper for that country in allowing you to board. Also keep in mind that if transitting, the country of transit may also have some requirements or restrictions with regard to Covid. Some countries, may require that these tests be done with thier authorized labs in your country. Usually there is an ISO certification involved in these cases. When planning your trip it is best to keep in mind the labs turn around time and that you will be able to recieve your test electronically by the time you are ready to board your first flight. Additionally will it also be within 72 hours of your final boarding time on your international journey? As an example let's say Tim is flying to Hong Kong. He decides he best fly on a Friday in a week without holidays. His first flight will be Friday evening and his final flight to Hong Kong will be in the early morning hours of Saturday. Tim works backward and finds that as the lab will probably only open at 8AM he will choose Wednesday morning @9AM to get tested. Thursday goes by, Friday goes by and now he stands at the ticketing gate for his first flight around 60 hours later! Woola! His electronic covid test result has been delivered electronically. He is allowed to board and after a transit he boards his final flight to Hong Kong now 66 hours later. Great within 72 hours so still valid.
Quarantines and Hotels
Tim also had to show before boarding that he has a 21 day reservation with an approved quarantine hotel in Hong Kong. Note that Hong Kong is one of the most difficult and most countries are allowing quarantines at friends homes or other faciiities but it is good to find out before you go. Again check what the airlines are going to request of you when checking in. It is good to plan for this extra cost in the event that when you are in that country there are quarantine requirements you need to submit too. At minimum you may be looking at one week of hotel and food service. Before leaving for your destination find out also what measures are in place by the local government if you should begin to have symptoms and/or need to have a Covid test.
Covid Insurance and Riders
In these times it is even more important to have a travel insurance policy. Many travel insurances are offering special Covid coverages with riders to cover extra unexpected expenses such as quarantine or accompanying care giver when in a foreign country. it is good to consider specific Covid issues when deciding where to get your insurance.
Covid Flight Conditions
Thankfully most airlines are taking a very lenient course of action when it comes to cancellation or change. in fact don't be surprised by the airlines themselves cancelling many of their international flights. In such a case of course you will not have to pay any extra fees for the rebooking. Even without it, airlines are often offering the first change with no charge anyway. Charges may occur if you change a date from a low seasonality to a high seasonality however. In this case you may need to pay a fare difference. One consideration during Covid times is to consider the humanitarian fare. Often the humanitarian fare is a bit more costly but it has special provisions such as changing more often with little or no fees and of course greater luggage allowances.
Group Travel in a Pandemic
There will be a lot more dynamics for your group travel. Be aware of the possibility of someone contracting Covid and because they are part of your group you may all need to be quarantined or at the very least make a plan B. Airlines are not as enthusiastic to give group airfares but they are still possible. You may find that unlike in the past a full payment for the group fare may be required much faster than the old days you were use to. I.e. paying a 10% deposit and then paying the final a couple weeks before departure. This also means you may need to be prepared with names and details of your group earlier.
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