COVID-19: Update April 7 at 8:30am
The COVID-19 coronavirus continues to cause concern among some travelers and the general public. Coronaviruses are a large family of respiratory viruses that cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, such as the common cold, but can also affect the lower respiratory tract, causing pneumonia or bronchitis.
The latest updates and information on COVID-19 can be found on the United States Government's website. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continually assessing the health risk as new information becomes available and has provided a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely monitoring the global situation and has updates, information and advice on its website, including COVID-19 myth-busters. The WHO has also developed a comprehensive list of recommendations to reduce exposure to, and transmission of, a range of illnesses, including coronavirus. From washing your hands, to covering your nose when sneezing, there are many simple tips to protect yourself from illness.
As this situation is evolving, it is recommended that you review the State Department's travel advice and advisories page to confirm whether there are any travel restrictions or recommendations related to your trip.
On March 19, 2020 the U.S. State Department issued a Global Health Advisory Level 4 Do Not Travel. You can read that here.
Other restrictions: Countries, tour operators, airlines, cruise lines, etc., are implementing travel restrictions for current and upcoming travel in the next month or so. As the situation is fluid, if you booked with AAA and have not yet been contacted, contact your travel agent. They will provide you with the current restrictions pertaining to your trip. We’d be happy to help with any questions.
If you didn't book with AAA, here are a few things to help:
- Contact your travel agent or check with the airline, cruise line or tour operator.
- Check the destination country's official government website or their Ministry of Tourism website.
- Review your travel insurance with your provider to understand your coverage and how any restrictions may impact you.
What if I have booked my trip with AAA Travel and I am scheduled to travel outside of the U.S., and I want to cancel due to the current government travel advisory?
Please contact your AAA travel agent or call us toll-free (800) 937-1222. We will review the details related to your trip and the most current information we have from the supplier and discuss your options with you.
Due to high call volume, we’re prioritizing our outreach by travel date, meaning those with the most immediate departure dates will be contacted first. We understand the frustration that comes with a cancelled or rescheduled trip and apologize for any delays and inconvenience this may cause.
What happens if the supplier (tour company, cruise line, airline) cancels my trip?
If a supplier cancels a trip, in some cases they will refund your trip, in other cases they will offer a future travel credit. For trips with multiple destinations there could be more complexity. Contact your AAA travel agent and we will work with you and the supplier to review your options, always with your best interest in mind.
What if the airline stops service to my destination?
If this occurs before your departure, it most likely indicates a travel advisory has been issued for the area (or your connecting destinations). In these cases, the airlines are typically very flexible about refunds and rebooking. If you have not heard from us, please reach out to us as soon as you’re able. Call your travel agent, or call us toll-free (800) 937-1222. We’ll be here to assist you.
What if there is no State Department advisory in place to avoid nonessential travel or avoid all travel to where I am traveling, but I am now uncomfortable traveling to my destination?
We’ve been vigilant about monitoring this situation as it evolves. Your AAA travel agent will know how each supplier is dealing with policies such as cancellation, changes, refunds, deposits, etc. Rest assured, we will do everything we can to advocate on your behalf.
Ultimately, the decision to travel is a personal choice, but here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about cancelling:
- The financial implications of cancelling
- Whether you want to wait to see if a “non-essential travel advisory” is issued
- The vulnerability of your personal health (e.g. existing respiratory condition)
WHAT IF THIS SITUATION HAPPENS DURING MY TRIP?
What if the borders get shut down while I'm gone, affecting my itinerary or my return home?
In the event that borders are closed in the region while you’re traveling and you’re on a group tour, the host or local guide will be your main point of contact. They’re experienced and will provide any necessary support, helping you and the group navigate the situation. If you’re traveling independently and have not heard from us, please reach out to us as soon as you’re able. Call your travel agent directly, or call AAA toll-free (800) 937-1222. We’ll be here to assist you.
No matter what, we’ve got your back. Count on us to take care of arrangements as needed, including:
- Ensuring you have somewhere to stay
- Contacting your family or emergency contact back home on your behalf
- Staying in touch with the travel supplier for ongoing updates on next steps
- Staying in touch with you regularly
What if my hotel or cruise ship gets quarantined, or someone contracts coronavirus while I'm there?
In the case of a quarantine, the local health authorities will provide direction and next steps. If you’re on a group tour, the host or local guide will be your main point of contact; they’re experienced and will provide any necessary support, helping you and the group navigate the situation. Finally, if you’re traveling independently and haven’t heard from us, please reach out to us as soon as you’re able. Call your travel agent directly, or call AAA toll-free (800) 937-1222. We’ll be here to assist you.
What if I'm unable to complete parts of my trip because the risk is too high or there's infection in the area?
Your safety is our top priority. The travel supplier and AAA will monitor the situation to determine the best course of action and make modifications to itineraries and travel arrangements as necessary. Your travel insurance might include recoverable expenses for unused portions of the trip after it has started. Your travel agent will get you in touch with the travel insurance provider upon your return. It’s a good idea to read through your policy so you understand what it covers before you leave.
What if I must return early and need to change flights?
If you have travel insurance you can work with the insurance provider, in coordination with your travel supplier, to get you home. If you’re on a group tour, the host or local guide will be your main point of contact. If you’re traveling independently and have not heard from us, please reach out to us as soon as you’re able. Call your travel agent directly, or call AAA toll-free (800) 937-1222, or call the travel insurance provider directly. We’ll be here to assist you.
What if the airline stops service from my destination?
If this occurs during your trip, rest assured we’ll explore options for your safe return and ensure we get you home. If you’re on a group tour, the host or local guide will be your main point of contact; they’re experienced and will provide any necessary support, helping you and the group navigate the situation. Finally, if you’re travelling independently and have not heard from us, please reach out to us as soon as you’re able. Call your travel agent directly, or call AAA toll-free (800) 937-1222. We’ll be here to assist you.
Who will cover the cost if I must stay longer due to quarantine or related delays?
We strongly advise purchasing travel insurance prior to your departure to minimize your risk. Check your travel insurance coverage for delayed return of your scheduled trip—both for interruption insurance benefits and medical insurance extensions. We highly recommend you travel with travel insurance. If you choose not to travel with insurance coverage, then you will be responsible for all costs.
What if I need emergency medical assistance, or I am quarantined in hospital?
If you purchased travel insurance, you must call the provider directly before obtaining Emergency Treatment. If it is medically impossible for you to call prior to obtaining Emergency Treatment, you should call as soon as possible or have someone call on your behalf. If it is a life-threatening emergency, call the local emergency number. In the USA it’s 911, but if you are traveling overseas, ask a local for the number used in that region.
If you’re on a group tour, the host or local guide will be your main point of contact. They’re experienced and will provide any necessary support, helping you navigate the situation. If you’re traveling independently, please reach out to us as soon as you’re able. Call your travel agent directly, or call AAA toll-free (800) 937-1222. We’ll be here to assist you.
CONSIDERATIONS AND HOW WE CAN HELP AFTER YOU'RE HOME
What support will AAA Travel provide when I get home?
We’re here to help before, during and after your trip. We’ll be reaching out to anyone who booked through AAA to hear about your trip and any personal experiences you’d like to share. We always appreciate any additional tips and guidance that we can pass along to other travelers.
Should I self isolate after returning to the U.S.?
You should follow the recommendations of the CDC relative to self isolation after traveling internationally. This recommendations include staying home and monitoring your health.
Do you have any other suggestions?
As we continue to monitor the situation, we’ll also reach out to you when you return home, should we hear of any new concerns related to your region of travel. If you feel unwell shortly after returning from your trip, we recommend that you follow the advice of the CDC:
If you were in a country with a COVID-19 outbreak and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, you should:
- Seek medical advice – Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Not travel on public transportation while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
If you have any other questions that were not answered above, please contact your AAA travel agent for assistance.