Coronavirus: What to Expect if You’re Travelling Abroad

Coronavirus: What to Expect if You’re Travelling Abroad



Concerned
about travel insurance policies? Curious about
quarantine? We’ve compiled this trusty information sheet to help
travellers navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

Tom Hanks is in quarantine and disinfectant sprays are greeting
us on the tarmacs of airports the world over. In the midst of the
drama, you’ve decided to pack your carry-on and brave the great
outdoors. What should you bear in mind?

Running the gamut from swab tests to undertourism via travel
insurance policies, we’ve researched far and wide when compiling
this trusty information sheet. We’ve even put together a somewhat
chic anti-coronavirus packing list. Those who have yet to order
face masks have done well to wait: it turns out that brands are
clamouring to smother us with design-forward mouth coveralls.

Six things to expect as a traveller during the COVID-19
crisis.

1. You might get swabbed

Be prepared to come face-to-face with staff in medical-issue
boiler suits and full overhead respiration masks upon touchdown,
but be not afraid. Policies vary from country to country, but those
travelling from infection hotspots – namely China, Hong Kong, Iran,
Italy and South Korea at time of writing – might be intercepted,
swabbed and checked for a raised temperature at border control.

2. Rerouted flights

Due to lack of interest, some airlines are pooling travellers on
empty flights which might mean unexpected stop-offs en route and
therefore longer journey times.

If your airline happens to collapse while you’re abroad, as
happened to thousands of Flybe customers, you might be rescued by a
competitor airline. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority is calling
upon other airlines to save wayward travellers. Frustrating though
it may be, we recommend extending your trip by a couple of days
rather than bumming about the airport expectantly, as it’s unlikely
you’ll be able to hop on the next available flight.

Those with plans to visit the US might be a little stumped. At
the time of writing, those in the Schengen Area (either residents
or visitors) won’t be allowed entry. UK travellers do not qualify
for the ban. Countries impacted as follows: Austria, Belgium, Czech
Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,
Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,
Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

If your flight’s cancelled due to coronavirus, you aren’t
necessarily entitled to compensation. If an airline gives 14 days
notice before the flight, they’re legally not bound to pay out.
Sorry.

3. Undertourism

Perhaps the one silver lining of the coronavirus for travellers
is that destinations otherwise swarming with visitors will be
significantly less busy. Obviously this will have a detrimental
impact on tourism-driven economies in the long term, but it should
enable you to see more, quicker.

4. Iffy travel insurance policies

If you’re a regular and sensible traveller, you’ll likely have
annual travel insurance. Make sure to check in with your provider
before jetting off.

Those in the UK should keep an eye on the Foreign &
Commonwealth Office’s website. It’s the source of most travel insurance
providers’ policies and will determine whether or not you receive
compensation for disrupted flights. Some insurers won’t pay out if
you haven’t followed FCO advice. If you aren’t insured, do it.
Right now. Instead of grabbing the cheapest deal going, read each
provider’s small print to check their coronavirus policy.

We should add: travel insurance providers won’t refund your
flight if you cancel due to coronavirus concerns. You’ll only
receive compensation if the airline in question suspend services.
But again, check with your insurance provider.

5. Once you’re back home?

If you’re returning from a high-risk country, it’s time to
self-isolate. We’re assuming your employer already has a policy in
place for this. In those two weeks that you tentatively wait for
symptoms to surface, keep cabin fever at bay by gorging on your
favourite books
and
films
.



6. What to pack

Our hands are well-slicked with Byredo’s rinse-free hand wash in Suede. We’re
regularly rehydrating with our self-cleaning, anti-bacterial
LARQ water bottle. And our face mask of choice? Virgil
Abloh’s striped black-and-white number,
naturally.