For those planning to hit the roads or take to the skies for domestic or even international travel as foreign destinations begin to open up to American tourists, travel insurance and assistance provider Allianz Partners has shared tips for how to stay safe while traveling.
The tips were created by Allianz Partners’ senior medical consultant Lori Calavan, a physician assistant at the ICU at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT. She also helps manage the emergency medical care and emergency medical evacuations of Allianz customers who become ill or injured while traveling. These tips offer a combination of common sense and professional advice on how to avoid illness and injury while enjoying the last vestiges of summer.
Travel Tips: How to Stay Safe While You Travel
- Assess risk: Evaluate the risks involved for all parties traveling, and reconsider taking a trip if you have an underlying health condition or are in a high-risk category. If you feel sick, stay home.
- Plan ahead: Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find the most up-to-date guidelines for COVID-19. Visit state and country websites to read executive orders, such as mandatory masks, quarantine for out-of-state or U.S. residents, or testing requirements and visit tourism board websites to review special procedures places of business have implemented.
- Download the App: By downloading Allianz’s free TravelSmart app, you’ll have access to many safety features and helpful travel resources, available even if you don’t have a policy. Tap “Assistance Around Me” to locate the closest hospitals, nearby doctors, pharmacies, police stations and U.S. Embassies if you experience an emergency overseas.
- Be prepared: Make sure you’re equipped with extra quantities of masks, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers—for both road and plane travel and bring sealable plastic bags to dispose of used items.
- On a plane, train, bus: Wear a face covering and before sitting down, thoroughly wipe down all surfaces (especially high-touch areas like seat buckles) and use hand sanitizer frequently. Consider limiting beverage intake to avoid bathroom use and circulating during the journey.
- At the pump: With a surge in road trips, service areas and gas stations may be crowded—increasing the chance of exposure. Wear disposable gloves when pumping your gas and throw them in a trash bin before you open your car door. To limit contact with others, pay with a credit card (sanitizing it with a wipe after use).
- Bring food and water: Instead of going into concession areas, pack coolers with your own snacks and bottled waters and bring travel-sized non-perishable snacks to limit the amount of times you need to stop for food. Each destination will be different in terms of restaurant dining options, so you may want to opt for lodging that includes a kitchenette to prepare your own food.
- When nature calls: Public rest areas mean increased exposure, so remember not to retouch the faucet after washing your hands and to grab a few paper towels (and bring your own in case supplies run low) to grab door handles.
- At the pool, beach, lake: With no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through the use of recreational waters, you should still maintain social distance, wear a mask while out of the water and be mindful of shared facilities.
Good to know: Although travel insurance products generally do not cover pandemics, Allianz Travel has made several temporary accommodations to provide coverage for trip cancellations, trip interruptions and emergency medical care for those who become ill with COVID-19, and has temporarily extended refunds of travel insurance premiums to customers whose travel suppliers have canceled their trips due to COVID-19.
The travel insurance and assistance company is also allowing customers to use their policy any time within 770 days of the purchase date, so that it can be used for a new or rescheduled trip. Customers moving their existing plan must change their plan coverage dates prior to traveling and prior to any loss for which they are seeking coverage. In addition, if the customer takes advantage of this option to insure a new or rescheduled trip that was paid for with a travel supplier voucher, any amount paid by a travel supplier voucher would be considered part of that customer’s insured trip payments.