The hidden costs of holidays during Covid

Everyone wants to get outta wherever, NOW! But what do travellers get when they go, and what are the hidden costs?

Lots of places are opening up to visitors any minute.

Maybe those hotspots are hotter than the PR people expected. And what’s the price of getting back? 10 days of home quarantine? Hotel quarantine? Getting sick?

Even at these blue-sky destinations, there are hidden costs, experience-wise and money-wise. Warm weather may welcome visitors, but right now, sunny spots can quickly turn into hotspots.

And if those countries have another spike in infection rates? Another lockdown:

  • Cruise ships? Don’t get me started. Stay on that germy boat, y’all
  • Restricted/ ban on clubbing
  • Party bus all night, but no place to go
  • Limited or digital-only access to museums, concerts, activities
  • Restricted access to hotel amenities: spa, pool, dining

Other options? Have fun on the beach, but don’t hang out with locals or other tourists, wear out your data plan in the hotel room, start a fight with your co-travellers. Plus the very scary risk of visiting a country that doesn’t have a robust outbreak plan in place if you break the rules: getting arrested or getting sick, or both.

Read on, for some tips.

Know the skinny

  • Right now, never book a non-refundable ticket. (Call the agent now to negotiate it; you may have options)
  • Same for hotel bookings and tours. If there isn’t a clear refund policy due to risk-level, don’t book it
  • Check your emails! Flights are changing constantly, these days. Some airlines don’t communicate via social media, and have a deadline for response times
  • Follow all your bookings on social media, and communicate regularly via email (easy for evidence) if possible
  • Get your documents together. A negative test is NOT a passport
  • Keep an eye on entry and re-entry restrictions. If there are quarantine in-country as well restrictions as when you get home? Consider reschedulling the trip

Have a Plan B,C,D…

  • Do some research. Talk to everyone, if planning a group trip. If the initial itinerary isn’t possible, have a few backup plans in place. If travel times are tight, think about next year
  • Communicate with your hotel or tour operator for alternate-but-similar accommodation and excursions options that work with your budget before you go
  • Consider your travel companions. Do they handle unexpected changes well?

Get the right travel medical insurance

  • When travelling internationally, think about these questions: Does your plan cover you for Covid abroad? If you get sick, does your plan get you home? What about your travel companions?
  • Know that many countries require proof of travel medical insurance that covers Covid-related issues
  •  Buy the travel medical insurance that’s right for you, and be sure to ask your insurer any questions about your destination
  • If you can’t communicate with your insurer, consider another company that can answer your questions

Holiday travel isn’t impossible right now, it’s just complicated. Understanding and planning for hidden expenses makes travellers better-informed, and ready when things go sideways.

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battleface magazine editor Sasha is a writer and amateur palaeontologist from New Orleans. When not writing or digging dinosaurs, she teaches English.