The days of last minute deals and quick getaways are almost a thing of the past. Today, travel takes careful planning with additional expenses needing to be factored into your budget. Here are our tips to minimize the unexpected costs in your travel budget:
- Bookmark the COVID regulations for ALL suppliers (airlines, hotels, restaurants, activities, trains, car rentals, museums, cruise lines etc.) you want to access along with the websites for country(s) you plan on visiting. Follow the travel advisory site for your home country and look for “high alert”, “unsafe” or “red alerts” as these designations affect your insurance coverage. Some countries, provinces, states require declaration forms be filled out prior along with supporting data they can cross-reference upon arrival. A good travel advisor will help keep you apprised if you book your travel services through them.
- Do any of your suppliers have VIP services to streamline arrival and departure in your chosen destination? Eg being met right off the plane and waiting in VIP lounges while documentation is processed for you; arranging testing at your hotel prior to departure and same VIP service back to the airport bypassing all the lineups. These services come at a hefty price but may be worth it to help make your vacation more stress-free.
- Most countries require a specific type of COVID-testing prior to arrival and within a certain time frame. The types of tests that are required may differ from destination to destination. There is a cost associated with each test (both departure and before you re-enter to come home) which will vary depending on the type of test required and where it’s processed. You might also be on the hook for testing upon arrival in a destination before being transferred to your hotel. They can be quite expensive in some countries. Note: Some insurances may cover the cost of testing but best you know ahead of time.
- When travelling with children, be sure to know what ages (in each destination) are exempt or not from COVID testing. Budget per person if testing or quarantine is required.
- Quarantines upon arrival and return vary from country to country so you may also want to factor in the cost of a quarantine upon arrival and also upon your return. What if your test shows up positive? Can you absorb the cost to go into quarantine or receive treatment? Additional COVID insurance is available for the unexpected but must be purchased before departing home.
- If vaccinated, know what vaccines you have and carry proof both digitally and hard copy in case your Internet is spotty, non-existent or your phone isn’t working. Fines are hefty if you cannot show proof. Keep these with you at all times as they may be required to enter restaurants, hotels, events etc. Also check to see if the vaccines you have are accepted in a country and whether or not they accept unvaccinated travellers. These regulations can change so check the government sites regularly.
- Know what international travel insurance you have prior to departure. Don’t assume your credit card will cover you as most companies have restrictions. Also make sure you are covered for the full amount of the non-refundable portion of your trip. If they only cover a portion, you can do a top up with another travel insurance company to give you peace of mind. There are exemptions on all insurance policies. Contact your travel advisor or insurance provider to help ensure you have the right coverage to meet your needs. Think of all the “what ifs” and plan accordingly so you can minimize any surprises. Most people suffer because they have missed this critical last step in order to save money.
No doubt about it, travel today does come at a higher cost, but when weighed against the benefits of travel on the mind, body and soul – may be a small price to pay.