With the world opening up for travel and cases on the rise, the chances you will test positive for Covid pre-departure or while travelling are increasing.
I witnessed it firsthand this week, not once but twice. Two families I had arranged travel for, each had a family member test positive before they were due to depart. To sum it up in one word, crushed is how everyone involved felt.
Some guests were sent home to isolate themselves and missed their trip. While others were still able to travel but without their loved ones. I also cancelled my plans for the day to assist in achieving the best possible outcome for all involved. It was definitely not how anyone wanted to spend the first Sunday of the new year. But this is our new reality and the unglamorous side of travel.
So, what do you do if you test positive for Covid?
Firstly, you need to hightail it home to isolate and follow government health advice. It’s the same if you test positive overseas. You’ll need to isolate and follow local government advice from the country you’re in.
If you’ve booked your travel through a travel advisor, call them immediately. I’ve been fixing travel disasters for thirteen years, trust me on this one. They will outline your options, and they’ll swoop into action to cancel or amend your trip. Saving you time and reducing your stress.
What if you’ve booked your own travel though?
Stay calm. You need a clear head and a structured plan to execute undoing the work you did to book your trip.
I want you to take out a pen and paper and make a list of all the components of your trip. Below is an example of what this could look like.
- Travel insurance
- Transfers or car hire
- Restaurant reservations
- Visa requirements
Now you have a clear understanding of what you need to take action on.
The next thing you need to do is put these in order of what is most urgent. Usually, this will be flights first, followed by services booked in date order.
Next up, you need to take a look at the confirmation for each booking you’ve made and cancel anything that will allow you a full refund.
For bookings that will charge a fee to cancel, I recommend you contact the provider before cancelling so you can explain what has happened and ask if they are able to help you out by giving a waiver. It doesn’t always work, but you never know unless you ask. Also, a reminder that the nicer you are to whoever you’re speaking to, the more luck you will have in doing this.
For any service where you will be losing money to cancel, make a note of the amount so you can apply to claim this back through your travel insurance (and document everything). Most policies now have covid cover included if you test positive for covid. So, please make sure you read the fine print when purchasing insurance so you know what will and won’t be covered. For example, if a do not travel warning has been applied to a country by your government, most insurers will not pay.
If you haven’t taken out insurance (which I hope for your sake isn’t you) and it’s looking like you’re going to be out of pocket, I would be asking any service providers that are charging cancellation fees if you can instead have a credit to rebook later. It’s not the company’s duty to do that, but it is definitely worth asking as most people are being extremely accommodating as we face this uncertainty and the constant changes together.
While this list isn’t going to save you hours on hold unravelling plans, I hope it has helped you collect your thoughts and work out where to start.