Booking Travel During COVID-19

Booking Travel During COVID-19

Last Updated on December 16, 2021 by tripcentral

The Government of Canada requires all travellers aged 12 and up departing from Canadian airports to be fully vaccinated (more than 14 days in advance of departure).

The Government of Canada also requires that all travellers age 5 and up show proof (at check-in) of a negative COVID-19 PCR test (or RT-LAMP) taken within 72 hours before boarding a flight to Canada.

Countries have varying and changing entry requirements

Various countries have requirements for foreign nationals (that change without notice) requiring advance testing.  A few require no advance test.  Some require PCR (lab) tests which cost $140-190 in Canadian pharmacies and generally produce a result the next day.  Other countries require an Antigen (Rapid) Test which costs $40 in Canadian pharmacies and produces results in 15 minutes.  It is important to book your testing appointment with your pharmacy ahead of time – you should not just expect to walk in and get a test.  Enquire in advance.

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 the most. 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.

Many countries require passports, vaccination, screening questions, and testing information in advance of arrival by webform or downloaded apps.  Since these requirements are subject to change, we will email you approximately 7 days before your trip with instructions and links to the various forms.  In some cases, these forms can only be completed very close to departure.

Government of Canada Reinstated Blanket Non-Essential Travel Advisory

The advisory has been reinstated for a minimum of four weeks, to be re-evaluated mid-January. We recommend checking country-specific travel advisories prior to booking and departure.  They are linked on our booking pages to the destination country advisory.

Involuntary & Voluntary Changes, Cancellations

Travel suppliers have returned to offering refunds if THEY CANCEL a booked trip due to changes in the date of departure or insufficient bookings.  As flying capacity is added back, many schedule changes have been occurring as aircraft of various sizes are re-deployed to newly opened origin and destinations.    

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 when the travel service is not cancelled by the supplier.  We are required to call our suppliers to make changes and cancellations.  Due to excessive hold times with our suppliers, we charge a service fee of $68 per person for any voluntary changes or to process any eligible refunds from voluntary cancellation.  We do not charge fees for involuntary changes by our suppliers.

Insurance policies are treating COVID-19 as a “pre-existing condition” for cancellation, meaning, they are not paying any claims for cancellation should pandemic conditions deteriorate.  There are still many risks that cancellation insurance does cover, and still a worthwhile purchase.  Since the Government removed the level 3 travel advisory, Allianz Global Insurance (sold by us) now covers medical costs if you contract COVID19 outside Canada.  If you decline our insurance offered, check with your medical insurance company about the implications of your coverage related to COVID19. 

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 book. 

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. 

To be fully covered, purchase the supplier cancellation waiver AND insurance coverages, as both have gaps in protection.

Further, we sell a “Change of Mind” insurance that covers any reason at all for cancellation. It covers a range of up to 75% of the cost of the trip depending on the number of days in advance of departure your trip is cancelled.  This insurance can only be purchased at the time of booking.

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.

Onboard aircraft during COVID-19

A mask is required for your entire airport and flight experience.  Masks are removed during the meal service while eating.  Once the meal service is completed, masks are required. 

Contracting COVID-19 while travelling

The risk of contracting COVID-19 exists at home and worldwide regardless of your vaccination status.  Countries are at different stages of vaccination rates dependent on the availability and distribution of vaccines.  You can see country vaccination statistics here by selecting your destination country.  Bear in mind, tourist areas, airports, and hotels may have a higher vaccination rate than the country at large. 

Should you exhibit 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 and quarantine costs associated with the treatment of COVID-19.  It is important to know your coverage, and we sell medical insurance that now covers costs associated with COVID-19 in a destination.

Does a Quarantine apply to you upon your return?

Since you cannot board a flight out of Canada without being vaccinated, the only reason you would be required to quarantine on return would be by exposure to infected persons or subsequent positive tests.  Unvaccinated children are to stay home after returning from another country.

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.