Booking Travel During COVID-19

Booking Travel During COVID-19

Last Updated on July 27, 2021 by tripcentral

All partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers will require an airport hotel quarantine, the day 8 PCR test, and 14-day home quarantine.

The Government of Canada has mandated that all travellers require proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or RT-LAMP test taken within 72 hours before boarding a flight to Canada.  Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated passengers must also reserve a room at a government-authorized hotel for three nights. Upon arrival in Canada, you will need to complete a COVID-19 test at the airport, then proceed to your hotel for 3 nights quarantine until you receive your test result. (The 3-night hotel stopover requirements will be eliminated for all travellers arriving by air after 12:01 AM EDT on August 9, 2021)

All travellers ages 5 years or older must take tests at an approved laboratory in destination, and present documentation of a negative laboratory test result to the airline prior to boarding their return flight to Canada.

Travel suppliers are, at the very least offering future travel credits for the amount paid, if THEY CANCEL a booked trip due to COVID-19, or, insufficient bookings to warrant flying etc.  Some suppliers are offering refunds if they cancel on you – specifically those offered Government funding such as Air Canada, Air Canada Vacations, Air Transat, Transat Holidays, Sunwing, Sunwing Vacations. WestJet and WestJet Vacations are also refunding if THEY CANCEL.

Travel suppliers MAY offer flexibility to change or postpone your trip if YOU DECIDE that you don’t want to travel due to the current COVID-19 situation, however, some are only offering this for limited windows, or with the purchase of optional cancellation waivers that can only be purchased at the time of booking.  If you fail to purchase these waivers at the time of booking, you will not get a future travel credit upon your voluntary cancellation and the travel service is not cancelled by the supplier.

Insurance policies are treating COVID-19 as a “pre-existing condition”, meaning, they are not paying any claims for cancellation or medical coverage.  Check with your medical insurance company about the implications of your medical coverage.  Canadian tour operators and airlines may offer free COVID-19 medical coverage in destination on a promotional basis (it will be disclosed on the website if applicable, or ask your agent), should you test positive locally and require quarantine locally. 

Government of Canada Non-Essential Travel Remains in Effect

Currently, the Government still has a non-essential travel warning in effect for all international travel, with no end date specified.

Does a 14 Day Quarantine apply to you upon your return?

Upon return to Canada, all partially vaccinated or unvaccinated passengers must immediately quarantine at home for 14 days.  These quarantine orders are in effect at a provincial level and are subject to change. Fully vaccinated passengers are exempt from quarantine (passengers that have received two doses of AstraZeneca, Moderna, or Pfizer OR one dose of Janssen at least 14 days prior to the day you enter Canada).

Countries have varying and changing entry requirements & quarantine policies

Many countries are restricting access, refusing entry to foreign nationals.  This could result in denied boarding at the airport or refusal of entry when arriving at your destination (and immediately flying home). Entry to another country may be refused even if the required information and travel documents are presented and complete.   Various countries have requirements for foreign nationals (that change without notice) requiring quarantine on arrival.  Some countries have the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test on arrival, and others are requiring a test on arrival. We quote the entry requirements at the time of booking. Should we become aware that they materially change between the time of booking and your departure, we will contact you. We proactively check for changes for the top 40 countries that we sell. Check out our blog for a simplified list of destinations we monitor every Monday. Should we become aware of a change mid-week, we update our entry requirements. If the country you are visiting is not on the list, check with us 7-10 days prior to departure to see if anything has changed.

Temperature Checks are occurring at airports

Temperature checks are being removed in Canada, but you may be checked at the airport, and if you are denied boarding because of a high temperature reading, each airline will have a different policy regarding future travel credit of the airfare component. If you purchased your travel as a package (inclusive of flight and hotel or cruise), the policy for denied boarding and future travel credit will be determined by the travel wholesaler, and if you book independent travel components, you rely entirely on the goodwill policy for future travel credit of the hotel or cruise line.

Social Distancing throughout the travel journey

Each component of your trip will have different social distancing policies – airport, check-in, security, boarding, onboard, customs (arrival and departure), arrival airport baggage claim, transfers to and from hotel/cruise, and of course, the experience at the hotel.  Policies will differ in strictness and laxness, and each will be dependent on the cooperation of other travelers.  There is no guarantee that component companies and organizations can ensure a six-foot distance between people. Specifically, it is impossible to social distance on an aircraft, particularly on deplaning. If you are concerned, buy an N95 or KN95 mask.

You must wear a mask to protect others throughout your journey.  Should you wish to increase the quality of personal protective equipment for your own safety, you will require higher quality masks (N95), and your own protective disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, etc.

Onboard aircraft during COVID-19

In addition to the wearing of masks, meal services have been altered (box only) or eliminated altogether.  The cart service for drinks and snacks has been eliminated.

We recommend your own device for personal entertainment, or the use of gloves and hand sanitizer for onboard equipment (if available).

Contracting COVID-19 while travelling

The risk of contracting COVID-19 exists at home and worldwide regardless of your vaccination status.  It is spread through person-to-person contact no matter where.  Should you manifest symptoms of COVID-19 while out of province, you will be subject to local law regarding quarantine and contact tracing.  Countries will differ on the medical costs associated with the treatment of COVID-19.  Your medical insurance may not cover costs associated with the quarantine, change in travel plans, treatment, or air ambulance return with respect to COVID-19.

Covering your Risks

These policies and restrictions regarding medical coverage are subject to change and may be different than when you booked.  Choices for coverage may change after you booked. 

For this reason, we strongly recommend purchasing the best supplier cancellation waiver available at the time of booking.  We further recommend you enquiring carefully into the out-of-province medical coverage that you rely on specifically with respect to COVID-19 and purchase the best coverage possible.  Should COVID-19 not be covered, you should still buy medical coverage for all other risks.  Further, you can purchase separate air ambulance insurance that may cover complications related to COVID-19.

The risk of loss is such that you should not rely solely on the included goodwill policy of the travel supplier(s).  To be fully covered, purchase the supplier cancellation waiver AND insurance coverages, as these policies have gaps in protection.

At this time, with respect to the cost of the prepaid travel arrangement, the risk of financial loss is mostly mitigated by future travel credits if the travel service is cancelled by the supplier.  You likely need additional coverage if you want to mitigate the risk of loss (mostly in the way of a future travel credit) if you decide not to travel of your own volition.

Resources

The Government of Canada – Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice

(https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

The Government of Canada –  Global Advisories by destination
https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories

Travel Health Advisories
www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

COVID-19 – Travellers Returning to Canada
www.canada.ca/en/public-health

The information and disclosures provided above are not exhaustive and are provided as guidance to assist in making an informed decision when purchasing travel services.  The information cannot hope to address the complexities of every travel experience or circumstance encountered globally. 

If you have questions regarding this information, please speak with one of our agents.