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What you need to know about getting Covid when travelling overseas

Contracting Covid while travelling is an inherent risk at the moment. I think if you travel you must do so with the knowledge that your plans may be disrupted and therefore planning and accepting this is an important attitude shift in 2022. I was aware of this when I travelled to the US and while I was hopeful it wouldn’t happen, I prepared just in case. So, when I tested positive to Covid, at least I had everything I needed at my fingertips. I thought I’d share my experience in the hope of assisting others with both planning and if the worst should happen.

Covid what you need to know when you are travelling - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

I could not have been more careful than I was during this trip. I was so looking forward to all I had planned, and I’d worked hard in the lead up to ensure things would work as smoothly as possible at home. I masked up obsessively, even in the stinking humidity of Florida. I hand santised everywhere I went. After every single touch point, I’d sanitise and when I could, I’d wash my hands with hot soapy water. I also requested no housekeeping services in my hotels, so I didn’t have anyone in my room touching my pillows and bedding. Still I managed to catch Covid.

Before booking my flights, I took out travel insurance which included Covid coverage (at the time I booked, passengers were required to take out this coverage at least 21 days in advance of travel. Check to see what the rules are with the insurance company you choose.) I spoke to my doctor about what I should do if I contracted Covid and I packed a medical kit accordingly. To be honest the medical kit was only slightly different to what I’d usually pack. After experiencing Covid there are some things I’d pack more of which I’ll list below.

Covid what you need to know when travelling overseas - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

I felt extremely tired a couple of days before I tested positive. I put it down to a cracking pace and super early starts and lots of walking in the Disney parks. In retrospect, I think I was probably in the early stages of Covid. I started to feel I was coming down with something, but it felt like something I’ve had before so I started the antibiotics I’d packed just in case. The next morning, I woke up with a sore throat and a bit of a cough, so I decided to a rapid antigen test. A faint second line appeared so I phoned Covermore Insurance’s US toll free number for advice. The operator went through my policy and confirmed what I’d be covered for but also advised I go for a supervised rapid antigen test or PCR test to get a certificate. This would be required for any claims necessary. It was really helpful to chat to someone and know exactly what was needed for a claim and also what to do should my condition worsen. The advice was to go to hospital or a medical centre rather than calling a doctor to the hotel as I was advised they would most likely just send me to a medical centre and I’d end up with double the bill. In the US I was advised to go to an Urgent Care Medical Facility.

Thankfully I didn’t deteriorate and as I was at a conference, I had friends who could deliver extra supplies to my room door. I used all that I brought with me and more. I suggest you speak to your doctor before travelling but these are the items that were helpful to me.

Ventolin for keeping the passageways open (I don’t use Ventolin day-to-day but have had it in the past when sick, so I always travel with it. Throat lozenges and Nurofen for the sore throat. Tissues, cold & flu tablets, and Fess for the congestion in the nose. Paw paw cream for dry lips. I travelled with a lot of masks and changed them frequently throughout the trip.

Covid what you need to know when you are travelling overseas - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

I was pleased I’d travelled with my own cereal, portable kettle, bowl, cutlery set and some plates. Room service is expensive and it was good to be able to eat some fruit, salad and other snacks in my room without needing to depend on it. Keep in mind you can order from a grocery service like Amazon fresh if you get caught short, but most hotels charge a handling fee for packages.

The items I didn’t have enough of was the rapid antigen tests (I tested on arrival in the US, then when I felt symptoms and several times after that). I was also left with a niggly cough which meant I went through a truckload of the throat lozenges and needed way more than I packed.

I was fortunate to have a mild dose of Covid and once I was isolated, I was happy to have all I needed to assist my recovery. It pays to be prepared and although optimistic, in this case I think it is wise to have a plan for the worst possible scenario, so you are able to get the assistance you need.

Covid doesn’t take a holiday and even being as cautious as you can be, it may still interrupt your plans. It’s important to accept that is part of travel in 2022 and perhaps beyond. The one positive to me getting Covid while travelling is that I wasn’t near the family to pass it on and I did have some wonderful times before it raised its pesky little head.


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