A positive Covid test out of the country.

A positive Covid test out of the country.

When I started my blog journey, my goal was to give valuable and relatable information about travel.  I love the great vacation pics, but there are other travel stories beyond the beautiful travel photos.  This week I’d like to focus on the reality of a positive Covid test result while out of the country.

As of January 2021, the CDC mandated that all travelers into the US have a negative test result before entry into the country. The CDC guidelines read as, “If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get tested no more than three days before you travel by air into the United States (US) and show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).”

If you test positive while out of the country, you will have the added expense of staying in your location until you recover. Your stay could be a minimum of 14 days. Research the Covid testing and quarantine guidelines and regulations of the country you are traveling to for information on the process if there is a positive test on arrival or during your stay.  Know that airlines cannot board passengers who cannot show proof of a negative Covid test.

I wrote on a previous blog about travel insurance.  I highly suggest travel insurance and for travelers to give thought to a Covid 19 travel insurance plan. Covid insurance will cover the insured during their stay. It also includes medical expenses incurred during your stay, daily stay rates, and even medical evacuations.  Policies differ, so it is best to research the different options available. Please note that you can purchase basic travel insurance up to 24 hours before departure. However, premium add-ons such as “cancel for any reason” must be purchased based on when you made your travel payments.

Now more than ever, the cheapest flight option might not be the best option for travelers. Flexible and refundable tickets can make a significant difference if you extend your stay in a foreign country.  There are substantial fees associated with canceling or rebooking airline tickets.  Read the fine print to see if you will be refunded or given a voucher.

Consider visa deadlines.  Many tourist visas are for 30 days.  If you test positive, you may have to quarantine between 7 to 21 days.  The forced quarantine stay in addition to your vacation time may have you overstaying your visa.  Consider how you will handle visa technicalities while in quarantine.  Not all hotels will be able to take care of those details for you. Now more than ever, consider registering with the STEP program. It’s free, and you will have access to the nearest embassy or consulate.

The bottom line is that if you test positive for Covid outside the country, do not expect to return until you can provide a negative Covid test result or proof of recovery.  Have you considered the possibility of testing positive while on vacation? Let me know.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

As a frequent traveler, I never take a trip without travel insurance. In 2019 I planned the ultimate African Safari trip with a follow-on Beach Safari. Then COVID canceled my trip, but thankfully I had travel insurance.  Whether it’s a long-distance trip or a local trip, I always choose travel insurance as you never know what the future holds, and here are five of the many reasons why it’s advisable.

1. Your trip can get canceled for a variety of reasons. Most often, they’re unplanned, and travel insurance helps to protect the investment you have made in your travel plans.  Travel insurance, depending on the plan, can cover flight costs and hotel costs. Just be sure to choose wisely.

2. Having worked as an international flight attendant for over twenty years, I am very aware that vacations don’t always go as planned. There were many times when travelers returned due to medical reasons.  Most insurance does not cover incidences out of the country, but travel insurance can.  When you consider the cost of medical care in another country regarding compared to the cost of travel insurance, it becomes an easy choice.

3. Not only can medical issues arise, but trips and plans are often interrupted, and travelers may have to return home due to an unforeseen emergency.   When considering the cost of airline rebooking, travel insurance is a much more cost-effective solution in many cases.

4. Lost or missing luggage can also become an expensive travel experience.  Considering that travelers often plan and shop before their trips, the cost of replacing luggage items is often much more than what airlines allow.  Travel insurance plans can help to make sure your unfortunate luggage loss is more manageable.

5. The cost of travel insurance compared to unforeseen travel circumstances often far outweigh the value of not having insurance. Trip delays, cancellations, hotel, and car rental issues are just a few of travel realities. I find it best to be prepared than unprepared, and travel insurance certainly helps.

As always, I encourage you to do your research on travel insurance; every situation and plan is different. Here is a great article that discusses the benefits of travel insurance in much more detail. Have you had any unfortunate travel experiences, and was insurance helpful? Let me know.

2021 Travel resolutions

2021 Travel resolutions

It’s a new year and time for travel resolutions. Due to COVID 19 and its impact on travel, many could not realize their 2020 travel resolutions. We’re still dealing with the COVID virus, and its implications for future travel is uncertain. If we keep this in mind when making our 2021 resolutions, we may fulfill many more of our travel hopes and dreams.

Travelers should decide if they want to travel internationally or domestically. With the COVID virus and its global impact, there is much to consider when traveling. Different countries have special restrictions based on where you are traveling from or where you have traveled previously. Traveling domestically also has parallel realities, with individual US states having unique requirements for entry or stay within the state.

Travel does not need to be expensive or exotic, nor does it have to be long-distance. Consider a staycation, where you check into a hotel and explore your city from a tourist point of view. It’s always eye-opening to see the many valuable travel ideas that are within our reach without the hassle of long-distance travel.

At the end of 2021, you should be able to measure your travel hopes and dreams to your travel realities. Before COVID 19, I would have advised focusing on a specific destination. I believe focusing on a singular goal keeps you motivated to one particular intent, and there is less chance of being tempted to switch travel ambitions. However, in today’s COVID climate, when you focus on a specific destination, your travel may not come to reality due to a particular country’s restrictions.

For 2021, let us decide to travel, regardless of the destination. Traveling has so much to offer, and if we keep an open mind about our travel plans, I believe we can accomplish so much more.

Travel Value

Travel Value

Determining what you value most is an essential part of ensuring you make the right travel decisions. When planning a trip, airfare, accommodations, sightseeing, and travel budget are a few aspects that more experienced travelers think about carefully.

If travel time is not something you place a high value on and you want to get to a destination and don’t care when you get there or how long it will take you to get there, there may be many budget-friendly flight options to consider. Often flights are cheaper if you leave at an undesirable time of the day and could mean unwanted early morning flights that most people don’t choose. It could also be that you don’t mind making an extra stop or two to get to your destination. This option might take you several hours to get to your destination rather than a few hours with a direct flight, but this is an option if you value budget over time.

When the most crucial thing to travelers is not the hotel room but the destination, hotel considerations don’t have a very high value. Therefore, less expensive hotel considerations might be a good option if you give less importance to your stay. If you plan a travel itinerary that takes up most of your days with only time at the hotel for sleeping, you most likely won’t place a high value on the hotel. For others who place more value in their stay, they might find it more worthwhile to stay in the city center or close to attractions that might lead to a costlier hotel. For some, the hotel is a big part of the trip, and they would rather be at a hotel that fits that importance.

Other travelers might find more worth in sightseeing and what the destination has to offer. Activities like visiting World UNESCO sites and destination tours may be the most critical part of their trip. This might entail guided or private tours as something they value more. Other times travelers like to blend with the locals; renting transportation and just going with local suggestions might be an okay way of seeing the destination.

Your travel budget will be affected by many factors, such as costs and affordability. It is essential to consider what you most value in the travel experience. Knowing what you love most will help guide your budgeting decisions and give you more pleasure in your travel experience.

What do you value most when you travel? I’d love to find out what and why.

5 Covid friendly hotel stay tips.

5 Covid friendly hotel stay tips.

Having flown as a career for over 20 years I have stayed in many hotel rooms and so the experience has taught me a lot about what to look out for in terms of cleanliness.

1. Check the hotel sheets. No one wants to sleep on possible dirty covid sheets. I can’t tell you how many different times I have gone into a hotel room just dying to shower and get into bed and found that the sheets have not been changed. If you do this when you first get into the hotel room, there is plenty of opportunity for the hotel to fix the issue before you are ready to go to bed.

2. Make sure the sheets are visibly dirty before you check out of the hotel and prevent any possible Covid spread. I think it’s just a matter of kindness to the next guest and just plain hygienic. Don’t feel bad as the hotel should automatically be doing this anyhow. I always wiped the bottom of my shoe across the sheets before I checked out.

3.Place a face towel or hand towel on the bathroom counter to place all your items on. Especially in this time of covid you do not want to transfer any germs to your face or hands. It’s also a visual reminder of anything placed on the counter and it helps in not forgetting items like jewelry in the bathroom.

4. Take an extra washcloth and wipe the toilet seats down. I think we all assume that the hotel room has been cleaned thoroughly but my experience has shown that the toilet seat is often overlooked.

5. Treat hotel room floors like airplane bathrooms and never assume it’s just water. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed through hotel corridors and seen the remains of a hotel room party gone wild. Let’s face it, the hotel does not have the manpower or capability to thoroughly clean hotel room floors, nor do they often have time between checkouts. Covid can be easily spread through bodily fluids.

I hope my tips have been helpful, check back in for more of my lived travel experience.