Traveling in the time of coronavirus

With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in travel restrictions in place around the globe, travel plans everywhere have been thrown into disarray. Here, we address some of the most pressing concerns affecting travelers today.
Female traveller during the corona outbreak. Photo: Shutterstock

Since the outbreak of coronavirus in late 2019, COVID-19 has spread across the world. For travelers, it’s a particularly unsettling time. With coronavirus travel bans and restrictions still in force around the globe, abandoned trips and cancelled flights are familiar to many of us. 

Here at Insight Guides, our priority is the safety and well-being of our travelers and local travel partners. Booking through and traveling with a local expert means first-hand access to local information, including updates on local restrictions and social-distancing measures in your trip destination.

We strongly encourage travelers to purchase insurance: the coronavirus travel situation is constantly evolving, so it’s important to be protected. If you plan to travel (and it isn't against government lockdown restrictions), make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance, with no COVID-19 exclusions. Our sister brand Rough Guides published an informative article on what kind of travel insurance to take before going abroad. 

Be sure to take recommended safety precautions during the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo: Shutterstock

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus, is a flu-like disease affecting the lungs and airways. Symptoms include a new and continuous cough, and a high temperature. If you experience any of these symptoms, while you’re at home or away, you should self-isolate immediately (if not already doing so) and seek medical advice. See the NHS website for details.

What should I do if I’ve booked a trip through Insight Guides?

We are in constant communication with all of our local tour operators, and are closely monitoring the situation ‘on-the-ground’ in all the destinations we cover. If you’ve booked a trip through Insight Guides, contact your local expert or our customer support team via email or through our messaging platform. Given the current scale of coronavirus travel restrictions and lockdowns, it’s also a good idea to contact your airline and insurance provider to understand what they’ll cover if your trip doesn’t go ahead. 

Since the start of the pandemic, our local experts have conducted several successful trips for Insight Guides travelers. Depending on your country of origin and your country of destination, travel may be possible now. 

Can I book a new holiday now? 

At Insight Guides, we understand that flexibility is key these days. A vast majority of our local experts is able to grant flexible cancellation policies, as well as smaller deposits to confirm your trips. 

Stay in touch with your local expert, who will be able to give you up-to-date information on the situation in your chosen destination. As the vaccination programs proceed rapidly, more and more countries are opening up and facilitating trips in the 'new normal'. 

Most people are being advised to stay at home. Photo: Shutterstock

What are the current travel restrictions?

Coronavirus travel restrictions are changing by the day. To keep abreast of the situation in specific destinations, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is an invaluable resource. The IATA Travel Centre is also monitoring the situation country-by-country, with up-to-date information on travel restrictions. 

Mother and child wearing face masks at the airport. Photo: Shutterstock

What should I do if I have a holiday planned (not with Insight Guides)?

Check your travel insurance to ensure you’ll be compensated in the event of having to cancel. If you have to cancel your trip because your government advises against ‘all travel’ or ‘all but essential travel’, you should be covered by your insurance, but it’s best to double check your individual policy. If you travel against government advice, you will likely invalidate your insurance – not to mention possibly putting yourself outside the law.   

Flight cancellations are coming in thick and fast. Most companies are offering customers the option to change or refund their flights if these are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Useful links

UK travel advice

UK travel health advice

US travel advice

This page isn’t being updated daily. Check the NHS website for UK health advice relating to COVID-19, and follow the links above for up-to-date information.

This web page contains affiliate links; all recommendations are editorially independent.