Don't Travel Amid Omicron Without Buying This First, Experts Warn
As a new variant surges, this one purchase can save you a huge hassle in the long run.
Since COVID-19 began nearly two years ago, air travel has been in flux. At the beginning of the pandemic, people weren't booking flights like they had been prior, but since vaccines have become more readily available this year, travel has once again become a priority for many Americans. With the recent surge of Omicron cases, it makes sense that people might be worried that the highly infectious variant will undermine their vacations. So, whether you're planning an island jaunt or a ski trip, it's imperative that you prepare for any unexpected changes. Read on to see what you need to buy now if you're planning a getaway.
Travel insurance is essential for unexpected flight and hotel cancellations.
Initially when the pandemic started in early 2020, airlines and hotels limited how much they would accommodate travel plans. But now that trip insurance largely covers COVID, it's being encouraged more than ever by experts.
"Consumers should know that most travel insurance plans with medical benefits now treat COVID like any other illness that you could contract while traveling or that could prohibit you from going on your trip," Carol Mueller, a vice president of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, told The New York Times.
Some destinations actually require trip insurance.
Because of COVID and its many variants, it's now become essential for travelers to acquire trip insurance if they're visiting certain destinations. Insurance is generally mandated so that if someone tests positive for the virus, their medical expenses and quarantine stays are covered, The New York Times explains. Countries where this is necessary include Anguilla, Jamaica, Iran, and Singapore, among others. A comprehensive list of countries that require trip insurance can be found on InsureMyTrip.com.
Depending on the policy, travel insurance can cover Omicron-related issues.
At this point, all of the COVID variants are now included in trip insurance policies, including Omicron, reports The New York Times. Mueller notes that if you get sick before your trip, you'll need a doctor's note confirming you can't travel to receive benefits. But she adds that "the benefits are the same regardless of whether you contract Omicron, another variant of COVID or any illness for that matter." Still, it's important for people to read their policies carefully before purchasing as some may "exclude pandemics."
It's important to note that there are travel insurance benefits that can help cover the costs of quarantining if the policy has COVID-19 benefits. According to Forbes, travel delay coverage can "cover the cost of your accommodations and meals during quarantine," while trip interruption coverage "will reimburse you for missed portions of your trip if you're forced into quarantine due to a positive COVID test."
RELATED: For more travel advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Here's what else you should buy if you're traveling right now.
When traveling, there's always a risk that you could contract COVID. But should that happen, you can be as prepared as possible if you plan ahead. Although international destinations require COVID tests before entering and exiting the countries and offer test sites, bringing your own CDC-approved at-home tests is encouraged. But there are more products that are essential for traveling to keep you and others safe.
In the off-chance you need to quarantine, items like N95 or KN95 masks, a laptop, phone chargers, extra medication, thermometers, pulse oximeters, electrolyte tablets, laundry detergent, and snacks and drinks can help you be as prepared as possible, The Points Guy suggests. If you have kids, packing extra activities and clothing for them is a must.