The information in this article is accurate as of this publicaton on June 13, 2022. Because of how quickly things can evolve in today’s world, we highly recommend checking our Travel Vitals® platform and government websites for the latest travel advisories and country information. We also suggest double-checking details for your specific itinerary. Some of the information below was verified for travel originating from the United States only.
From researching the entry requirements of the places you’ll be visiting to taking a PCR test 72 hours before your flight and purchasing insurance that covers COVID-19-related costs, there can be a lot of preparations that go into a business trip these days, especially if it’s an international journey. Nowadays, we also must think of what happens if you contract the virus during a trip.
With that in mind, let’s look at some health-related considerations you should bear in mind when planning a work trip in today’s environment.
Will I need to purchase health insurance?
It’s generally advisable to have travel health insurance that covers medical costs and rescheduled travel plans should you fall ill while taking a trip – and sometimes insurance is not optional. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic , more and more places are making health insurance mandatory. Some countries will not issue a visa without proof of insurance, while others might turn you away at customs if you arrive without the proper documentation.
Argentina, Chile, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and a number of Caribbean islands are just some of the places that require insurance that covers COVID-19-related costs specifically. Visitors from more than 100 countries who need a visa to enter the Schengen area – composed of 26 European nations – must buy medical insurance as part of the visa application process.
It is critical to do research on the country you are visiting since there are some quirks to navigate. For instance, Sint Maarten (the Dutch half of the island) makes COVID-19 insurance mandatory while the French side, Saint Martin, does not.
How will my vaccination status impact my trip?
Many countries have different rules for travelers who are and aren’t vaccinated.
Some nations, such as Guatemala, India, Belize, and South Africa, require unvaccinated travelers to present a negative COVID-19 test while those who’ve gotten the jab do not. Others, including Luxembourg, Cyprus, and Spain, allow unvaccinated people to enter if they can offer proof of recovery within the last 180 days.
The United States prohibits unvaccinated foreign nationals from entering the country under any condition. So does Belgium, Canada, and Brazil – unless visitors are traveling for exceptional circumstances.
Unvaccinated travelers ages 13 and up must apply for permission to enter Singapore. If given the go-ahead, they must quarantine for seven days after arrival. To visit Cambodia, those who are unvaccinated must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility at their own expense.
A few countries also have rules about what “fully vaccinated” means, with places like Malta requiring a booster if more than 270 days have passed since the primary course of vaccination was completed.
What if I get COVID-19 before or during a business trip?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should not travel internationally if you have COVID-19 symptoms, are awaiting test results, or it’s within 10 days of testing positive.
If you come down with COVID-19 while abroad, it’s important to find out not only what is required of you in the country you’re visiting but also the one you’ll be heading back to since you may not be able to reenter with a positive result. If you do test positive, you’ll likely need to quarantine and extend your stay – maybe by 10, 14 days, or even longer.
You’ll also need to figure out where can quarantine. Since your hotel or rental may not be able to accommodate a longer stay, you may have to resort to Plan B – and some countries require sick travelers to stay in a quarantine facility.
Wherever you land, be sure you have access to food and medicine and are close to a medical facility. In many cases, a trip to the ER isn’t necessary, but if you exhibit severe symptoms – such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, or an inability to stay awake – seek medical treatment immediately. If you are having trouble finding a medical provider, you can contact your embassy for assistance.
If your company is an Amex GBT client, we can help with getting issues from this unexpected turn of events sorted out. Our Traveler Care team – reachable by phone, email, or via our mobile app– can assist with rescheduling your flight, booking accommodations for the extended stay, finding out the country’s COVID-19 regulations, and navigating complex itinerary changes.