What happens if you contract COVID while traveling abroad?

The world is gradually reopening, and we are all more than anxious to start traveling again. Traveling abroad has always been a more difficult path to travel. Between passports, visas, long flights followed by customs, booking accommodation, transport and events in a foreign country, planning trips abroad has never been an easy task.

However, international travel now requires a bit more preparation than before COVID-19. Entry requirements (visas, testing requirements, vaccination requirements, etc.) vary not only by country, but sometimes by city, and they keep changing almost every week. Not only is it imperative to research your specific destination well in advance of your departure, but you should also be aware of up-to-date regulations just before you board your plane. Many require proof of vaccination and / or a negative COVID test prior to entry. If you are traveling from the United States, you must also take a COVID test for your return, within three days of return, and submit the negative COVID results to the airline before boarding. Be sure to research testing facilities or plan ahead and take a home test (or two or three) with you.

Preparing for the worst is one thing. The worst that actually happens is another. What if this test isn’t negative – or if you get sick with the virus abroad? Here’s what you need to know.

What happens if you test positive?

Abroad, if you test positive for COVID-19 during your trip or before returning to the United States, not only can you not take your flight home, but you must also adhere to the quarantine regulations in effect in that country. this country. Whether you have symptoms or not, a positive test is all that matters to them. Most countries will require a period of quarantine and self-isolation, which ranges from 7 to 21 days. Some countries may also require it if a member of your group tests positive, regardless of your test result. Therefore, you must be mentally and financially prepared to extend your trip for a few weeks in unexpected ways. Depending on the country or region, this quarantine may be performed in a hotel room or at a designated quarantine hotel or government facility.

Obviously, a last minute international stay extension can be financially taxing and most countries will not help travelers. In addition to the cost of housing, one should also consider the minimum additional expenses incurred for food and additional COVID testing before being allowed to return to your home country. Plus, if you get sick enough to require medical attention, you need to be prepared to pay for the health care costs.

If this is something you would not be able to pay for, we recommend that you delay international travel for now or make sure you have travel insurance that specifically covers medical expenses and “Trip Interruption” costs due to COVID-19. The good news is that many do, but with different limits and rules, so make sure you understand everything about a policy before you buy it. Many countries require proof of these types of coverage as part of their entry requirements, and some may also require proof of medical evacuation coverage.


What if you get really sick with COVID?

No one wants to think about the worst-case scenario when planning an exciting trip abroad, but if you prepare before the trip, the peace of mind during the trip is well worth it. The medical coverage of your travel insurance (and most health insurance if you are traveling) should cover the basics: emergency transport to the nearest hospital, medical treatment costs up to a certain limit and “interruption of service”. travel ”to cover certain additional hotel nights and change reservations. costs. However, medical evacuation coverage is really only meant to make sure you get to the nearest “right facility” that can treat you. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean home. You are generally required to stay until you have recovered “to the best possible extent” and then re-book home on a commercial flight. But being stuck in a foreign country, especially with something as serious as symptomatic COVID-19, and trying to deal with a foreign health care system can be a very frustrating and frightening experience. This is where medical transport memberships can come into play.

Medjet, the premier membership program in air medical transport and travel security, to announce that they would transport COVID-positive hospital patients to the hospital of their choice at home. Even before COVID, more than 10 million travelers were hospitalized each year while traveling abroad, and Medjet has spent nearly 30 years repatriating its members.

Medjet emergency medical transport infographic

Commercial airlines are prohibited from bringing infected people back into the country, for obvious reasons, and private planes are subject to the same CDC restrictions. However, Medjet employs a network of air ambulances with certified healthcare professionals capable of transporting COVID-positive patients in secure pods from foreign hospitals to their home hospitals. Medjet arranges and pays for all ground transportation, planes, flight crew, and visa requirements, facilitates communication with your home hospital, and even stays in touch with your family along the way. For more information on Medjet’s COVID-19 transport policies, Click here.

Medjet membership cards for emergency medical transport

For optimal peace of mind when traveling abroad, Medjet offers two levels of membership options: MedjetAssist and MedjetHorizon. MedjetAssist Membership is just the benefits of air travel and is available for specific trips, starting at $ 99 for an individual or $ 199 for the whole family. Annual subscriptions start at just $ 295 / year for an individual, or $ 399 / year for the whole family. Their MedjetHorizon Membership offers the benefits of air medical transportation as well as 24/7 travel security response and evacuation services due to a broad list of physical security threats including violent crime , political threats, terrorism, natural disasters, disappearances, kidnappings, etc. MedjetHorizon starts at just $ 184 for an individual and $ 314 for the whole family on a short trip. Annual subscriptions start at $ 444 for an individual and $ 535 for the whole family. If you don’t know which level is best for you and your family, there is a simple quiz to help decide.

Wherever you end up booking a trip, make sure you do all the proper research and preparations before you go. We hope you can explore your next bucket list country soon!

For more information on the travel regulations in force in each country, see:

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