Could the mask mandate come back? Here’s what travelers should know.
Masks are now optional on most major modes of transportation in the US, but what does that really mean for your future travel plans?
Just the FAQ, USA TODAY
- Mask mandates are dropping across the world as new variants are spreading.
- Some countries require foreigners to have health insurance that covers COVID.
- Many countries no longer offer letter of recovery services, so getting one was my biggest hurdle.
Are you excited and ready to go on a vacation you’ve been putting off for years due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic? While many countries have eased their COVID-19 policies, groundbreaking cases do happen.
Mask mandates are dropping across the world as new variants are spreading. You are not required to wear a mask on US flights, but you must test negative for coronavirus within a day of travel – including stopovers. But before you set out on your trip, you need to know what would happen if you tested positive abroad.
Although I have had four COVID-19 vaccines and always wear an N95 mask indoors, I found out I had COVID-19 in May while waiting for my test results at an airport in Canada. I was on my way to Alaska. Being prepared with a contingency plan will make the ordeal less chaotic if you catch COVID-19 abroad.
Should I take out travel insurance in case I catch COVID abroad?
Some countries require foreigners to have health insurance that covers COVID-19. I had travel health insurance with GeoBlue and SafetyWing. Both cover medically necessary treatments if you become seriously ill with COVID-19. Neither reimburses the cost of a hotel quarantine.
SafetyWing offers customers $50 per night for plans up to 10 days.
GeoBlue reimburses some coronavirus tests and medical recovery letters. Buy travel insurance with your airline ticket so you can rebook your flight once you’ve recovered.
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What is the quarantine period required if I catch COVID while traveling?
Quarantine periods vary by country – and also whether or not they are mandatory. In British Columbia, Canada, I was required to be quarantined for five days. However, Canadian airline WestJet requires passengers to quarantine for 10 days before flying. In Iceland, a five-day quarantine is suggested, but not mandatory.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends isolation for 10 days before travel.
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Do I need to be quarantined at a hotel if I get COVID abroad?
Check in advance if the destination offers government-mandated quarantine facilities. Otherwise, you will have to find quarantine accommodations on your own. Once you find one available for the duration of your quarantine within your budget, disclose that you are COVID-19 positive and ask if staff can bring breakfast, water, clean towels, tissues, and food deliveries to your location. door.
I was grateful to have a fridge, bathtub, kettle and balcony at the hotel where I was quarantined.
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What supplies should I have in case I catch COVID while traveling?
Bring plenty of face masks and at least five coronavirus tests at home as it can be difficult to get them once you are at your destination. Before leaving home, check to see if there are delivery apps at your destination where you can order supplies. If not, bring supplies with you just in case. If all else fails, join local Facebook groups to see if you can pay someone to bring you supplies and food.
Get a thermometer and over-the-counter fever-reducing remedies, as fevers and body aches are still common. I found that rubbing menthol, a neti pot of warm salt water, decongestant, and cough syrup helped relieve my symptoms. I wish I had a pulse oximeter to check my blood oxygen levels.
Who will do contact tracing if I get COVID abroad?
Many destinations no longer offer contract tracking. Notify anyone you’ve been in contact with in the last two weeks so they can get tested.
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Do I need a medical recovery letter to return to the US?
Since you can test positive with a PCR test for up to three months, get a medical recovery letter as it is valid for entry into the US for 90 days after testing positive. However, many countries no longer offer letter of recovery services, so getting one was my biggest hurdle.
I called the US embassy, travel clinics and hospitals but couldn’t find a doctor who would provide a letter of recovery. Finally, I used a virtual service and had a telehealth appointment with a doctor.