HomeTravel TipsWhat to Do if You Test Positive While Travelling Abroad?

What to Do if You Test Positive While Travelling Abroad?

How’s this for a sign of the pandemic times? Your thoughts of warm beaches and how many bathing suits to pack are invaded by the inevitable question: What if I test positive for COVID-19 while travelling abroad?

It’s never fun to let your mind wander to the worst-case scenario, but sometimes if you do, you realize the worst-case scenario is not so bad as long as you’re prepared.

Here’s a list of things to remember if Oh no! you get a mild* case of COVID-19 while abroad.

1. Know the quarantine requirements for your destination

Don’t want to get stuck in a government facility with basic amenities? Maybe don’t go to China ou Cuba right now. Always take the time to look up mandatory quarantine details for the country you’ll be going to, so you’re not caught off guard in the event you test positive.

2. Make sure you test positive from an accepted type of molecular test

If you test positive on an antigen test, which is the most common, affordable and quick test, it won’t be recognized in Canada. For your travel back home, you absolutely need a PCR, NAAT or LAMP.

© Government of Canada

3. Have a backup plan for accommodations

If you test positive for COVID-19 abroad, you won’t be able to return to Canada for 14 days (only 10 days starting January 15, 2022.) Think about where you’d like to stay while you self-isolate and recover. Research nearby resorts, hotels and Airbnbs. Remember you won’t be able to leave your room/the resort.

© Government of Canada

Nomadic tip: Don’t retake a test unless you require a negative test to get out of quarantine sooner! For example, in Costa Rica, you must quarantine for 10-14 days from your first positive test.

4. Travel with insurance

Better safe than sorry! Travel insurance is more important than ever right now. We recommend SafetyWing for travel insurance. With SafetyWing, you will be able to show that you meet the country’s criteria and at a very reasonable price, around USD 42 per month! SafetyWing now offers coverage for COVID-19.

5. Be prepared to work remotely or take more time off

Your co-workers (and/or cat) might miss you if you have to stay at your destination for an extra two weeks, but at least you won’t miss a beat at your job. Bring your laptop or delegate work tasks before you go.

6. Have some wiggle room in your budget

The last thing you want to do on vacation is dip into the funds for your next vacation, especially when you’re sick. Set aside some emergency funds should you have to stay longer. The more expensive the accommodations, the more you’ll need to save. Some countries require you to produce a negative test result to leave quarantine, so think about the impact that a few weeks or months would have on your wallet.

The takeaway?

Even though you might be boosted with negative test results in hand, there’s still the possibility of catching COVID-19 when you reach your destination. Be sure to add these considerations to your pre-flight checklist for peace of mind. Loading up on vitamins and getting lots of sleep doesn’t hurt either! 😉

Have you tested positive while travelling? What was your experience?

Britney Claveau
I love take-offs and I'm a fan of any destination near water or the mountains. My favourite trips have been road trips: inhaling fresh air through the Canadian Rockies and sipping tea along the grassy switchback alps of Switzerland on route to fairy tale castles in Germany. I'm not a light packer, but I'm slowly working on my technique. Right now I live out my travel dreams vicariously through writing about them.


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