IT COULD happen to a Taoiseach. There you are on the journey of a lifetime as Covid strikes. Suddenly, a well-deserved vacation or adventure abroad turns into a period of isolation.
Worse still, a pre-departure test result will completely ruin the trip.
But does it have to be like this? If you have a summer holiday booked and Covid strikes do you get stuck abroad or unable to travel?
Here are the main things to think about before you book.
Could Covid disrupt our holidays?
Traveling abroad is arguably easier now than it has ever been during the pandemic. Several countries including Ireland have lifted all Covid travel restrictions.
However, Covid has made a habit of shattering the best of plans. The latest twist comes with the BA.2 variant, which has contributed to rising case numbers.
Vaccination offers tremendous protection against serious illnesses, but as we have seen, vaccinated people can still contract the virus.
So yes, Covid could strike before or during a holiday.
Should we isolate before our trip?
That’s certainly an option and anecdotally some people have reduced their contacts or social activities before traveling to reduce the chance of contracting Covid.
They could also increase mask-wearing and basic steps like physical distancing and avoiding crowded spaces.
What could protect us on vacation?
You could research infection and vaccination levels before deciding on a holiday destination – although increases are obviously difficult to predict.
During your trip, wear a mask at the airport and on airplanes. You may find additional reassurance by researching a hotel’s Covid-19 protocols or booking a self-contained stay like an Airbnb or apartment.
Can I get a refund if I cancel due to Covid?
This depends on how you booked your holiday and the terms and conditions.
As a rule of thumb, if you cancel a trip (rather than the tour operator or airline) you will not receive a refund and could lose a deposit or pay a cancellation fee. So, before you cancel, discuss your options.
In general, booking with an Irish tour operator or travel agent gives you more protection – not to mention having a human on the end of the phone.
Ireland’s holiday industry has sat back to offer ‘travel with confidence’ guarantees – from low booking deposits to flexible rebooking and later balance of payments dates.
But it’s important to ask exactly what happens if you get Covid before or during your trip.
Ask if there are refund or voucher options. Can you reschedule? And what are the deadlines for these options?
Will travel insurance cover me?
It can. At the start of the pandemic, many insurers walked away from coronavirus coverage, but now most are including it – although you have to ask what is and isn’t covered, and at what level.
Typically, Covid protection insures you or your travel party against cancellation or cutbacks due to contracting the virus within a set period of time before your trip (e.g. 14 days), as well as for medical treatment, transport or extending a stay up to a fixed amount if you catch it abroad (e.g. €2,000).
What about airlines?
Airlines do not offer refunds if you are unable to travel, but vouchers and flexible changes can be an option.
You must ensure that you book the correct fare type and remember that you are responsible for any fare differences.
Aer Lingus allows you to rebook your flight as many times as you need, free of charge, up to seven days before departure, once it is in the same region. The policy is valid until September 30th.
Ryanair’s latest “flight change fee” says it applies to bookings made between December 26th and January 31st, with free changes allowed up to seven days before departure, also valid until September 30th are.
Should we just stay at home?
For some, a vacation-at-home will be a solution — many hotels offer flexible cancellation up to 24 or 48 hours before the stay, and while self-catering or Airbnb policies may not be as generous, they offer self-contained environments.
However, many will have waited three years for a sun holiday and thousands have already booked.
If I get a light dose of Covid should I continue to travel?
No. It is of course possible for people to travel with mild or no symptoms, intentionally or for other reasons.
However, this is contrary to HSE guidelines and is irresponsible to other travelers – particularly vulnerable people.
Depending on the rules and controls of your destination, you could also be quarantined or self-isolating.
Anything else to remember?
Make sure your family’s passports are current before booking. It’s also worth checking the latest restrictions for your specific EU destination at reopen.europa.eu or dfa.ie/travel.
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-talk/explainer-i-want-to-book-summer-holidays-but-what-happens-if-i-get-covid-41474303.html Explainer: I want to book summer holidays but what happens if I get Covid?